really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,019 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Toyota Avalon electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Toyota Avalon Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #34

Oct 252016


  • 160,000 miles


Intermittent headlight failure. Headlights fail without warning. Either drivers, passenger or both. Hid headlights oem.

- Mount Airy, MD, USA

problem #33

Nov 022015


  • 66,000 miles
The high beam lights are known to explode on some 2008 and 2010 models. My high beam lights exploded with 66,000 miles on the vehicle. This problem happened while my vehicle was in motion. I routinely drive in an area with a heavy deer population. I cannot see these hazards at night with out high beams.Toyota had an extended warranty on this issue (5 years, 70,000 miles). Since my car is over warranty in years but not miles, Toyota refuses to replace the headlight assemblies. They are telling me the cost will be over $2,000. I consider this a safety hazard and am very upset that Toyota will not fix this problem on my $40,000 top of the line Toyota. I am filing this complaint to the dot, ntsb, and attorney general. You can contact me at 850.865.5203. Tim swope, 617 kilcullen dr., niceville, fl 32578.

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #32

Oct 132015


  • 52,000 miles
All of a sudden the high-beam head lights stopped working when the car was in motion on the freeway. Low -beam lights work. This is a real safety hazard and is obviously a Toyota engineering flaw. Toyota did have a warranty enhancement for this vehicle - 75,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. My car has 52,000 miles buts is over 5 years old. Toyota is well aware of this problem and should be required to fix this, free of charge and I should not be required to pay for the fix of $2,500 plus labor, which is outrageous.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #31

Sep 162015


  • 51,000 miles


All of a sudden the high-beam head lights stopped working when the car was in motion on the freeway. Low -beam lights work. This is a real safety hazard and is obviously a Toyota engineering flaw. Toyota did have a warranty enhancement for this vehicle - 75,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. My car has 52,000 miles buts is over 5 years old. Toyota is well aware of this problem and should be required to fix this, free of charge and I should not be required to pay for the fix of $2,500 plus labor, which is outrageous.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #30

Sep 292015


  • 26,000 miles
While driving down a two lane country highway at night with my bright lights on, I hit a bump and the bright lights simultaneouslywent off. Fortunately, my low beams then came on. I tried several different things including flicking the lights, stopping the car and turning the lights off/on. The brights no longer work. I did check to see if they exploded as reported by many others in this database, but they do not appear to have. They just do not work. Living in a very rural area of northern Wisconsin, bright lights are a necessity. I called the dealer who services my car and they pleaded ignorance with regard to know problems with the headlights on this vehicle. They suggest I bring the car in to replace the bulbs. I will attempt to replace the bulbs myself before I will pay for the assembly mentioned in the many other complaints. This is a huge safety issue for me and my wife as car/deer collisions are rampant where we live. If the bulbs have not exploded yet, I'm sure they will when I have my first collision with a deer I did not see because I had no high beam lights. This is definitely a safety issue that needs to be addressed. If we were to lose low beams also, we would be stranded and unable to drive.

- Crivitz, WI, USA

problem #29

Feb 082015

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 76,500 miles
I put on my brights while driving at night, on a dark part of the interstate. After a while they went out... immediately and simultaneously. The left hand side stalk controls the headlights ("on" and "auto-on" positions), and brights. Notably the brights are a separate bulb. The "auto-on" (if it gets dark) was the setting for which they went out. I pulled over at an exit, tried the brights again after turning off my headlights and putting them to the "on" setting (as opposed to "auto-on"), and the brights did not work and actually turned off my regular headlights. This is dangerous. I see it is not the first time this problem has been reported. I found Toyota had a quiet, unannounced service upgrade for faulty design, did not advertise it, recall it, or send a warning note or offer to fix to owners, and arbitrarily set the limitation at 5 yrs / 72,000 miles. If they acknowledged a problem, why put a limit on something that is not safe? thank you for your time.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #28

Nov 012013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 95,000 miles


I was driving in a rural area in Illinois where we have a lot of deer, so I flipped on my high beams for better visibility. I had purchased the car with 87,000 miles on it that summer and may not have even used them yet. The high beams stayed on for a few seconds and then flashed and went back to low beam. I checked them upon arriving home and could see that they shattered. I replaced these with bulbs from O'reilly auto - using gloves to avoid touching them - these high beams were seldom used but worked. It is now November of 2014 and these also failed; did not shatter but failed to illuminate. I assume they are burned out. I am concerned that I may never be able to use the high beams for safety on this otherwise fantastic car. I have avoided using the high beams ever since I replaced them the first time, so I am not sure when they actually quit working this time.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #27

Jun 012014


  • 105,000 miles
I don't remember the exact time & date this started, but it is continuous & repetitive. The headlights consistently turn off while driving. For a trip of about ten miles, I can expect for one or both to fail about three times. It's dangerous. I was told that the company has sent notifications to the dealers but are refusing to administer a recall. They offered me a $750 credit to have it repaired. However, as you can see from the many previous complaints about this problem, it costs over $2,000 to fix it (and that's not a guarantee). This is a design flaw. Therefore, it should not be affected by a warranty. I'm shocked at the volume of complaints about this issue with no actions by the company. They are morally (if not ethically and legally) obligated to issue a recall and repair their R&D failure.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #26

Aug 252014

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
Went to use high beams on desert road towards lancaster ca, put high beams on, they stayed on for about 3 minutes then all front lighting went out. Went to dealer (roseville Toyota) to check on the problem, dealer said they were not covered by warranty even though Toyota knows of problem. Will cost $3,000 to repair with replaced headlight assemblies. Car has only 39,000 miles on it and an extended warranty.

- Roseville, CA, USA

problem #25

Mar 232014


  • 96,500 miles
I was utilizing the high beam lights periodically on a dark evening. Near the end of a 1 hour and 45 minute trip, the high beams gave a slight flicker and went out. Upon examination today, both lights had blown or shattered. I ordered new bulbs today with $35 each.

- Bloomington Il, IL, USA

problem #24

Aug 282013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 73,600 miles


Low beam light flickered on and off, tried the high beam lights of which neither would come on. Took the car to the dealer the next day. The dealer tried new bulbs which immediately blew out. The dealer said that both light assemblies were defective and needed to be replaced at a cost of $ $1400 each. Was advised that Toyota knew that these lights were defective and issued the service bulletin tbs #0044-10 rev 1 extending their warranty from 36,000 miles to 72,000 miles but would not recall them. This car was 1600 miles past the warranty so was not covered. If Toyota thinks that lights going out while driving down the highway at night is not a safety issue, I don't know what is.

- Oklahoma City, OK, USA

problem #23

May 232011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 120,019 miles
Vehicle experiencing the inoperative of daytime running lights(drl) and high beam and low beam bulbs. Previously replaced bulbs. Problem continues after bulb being replaced. Lights return to normal operation when switched to off position and back on. No specific patterns of occurrence. Explanation by dealership when checked was that they did not detect a problem at the time of service. Note entered by service advisor stated "electrical problem".

- Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #22

Jan 262013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 46,725 miles
Car wouldn't start at shopping area - paid $5 for a battery jump - had car tested at local auto shop - said we needed an alternator but may be under warranty - went to eastern shore Toyota - for $56.57 - yes we needed an alternator - not under warranty -cost $580 - take til tues - suggest we spend $100 plus and rent a car. We elected to take our chances and had the vehicle fixed closer to gulf shores where we are staying - cost was $396. We have never had an alternator go out after owning vehicles for nearly 60 yrs - let alone at 46725 miles and such a pricey car. We are considering the rav 4 for 2014 but this is giving us second thoughts.

- Lampe, MO, USA

problem #21

Dec 172012


  • 103,200 miles
While driving on the freeway one or both headlights flicker then turn off. This happens all the time and the only way to get the lights to come back on is to turn them off and then back on again. It is getting progressively worse and the dealer said I have to bring the car in for evaluation when the lights go out. Unfortunately I have to do this during business hours when it is dark to know that my lights are out. And when both lights go out it isn't a good idea to leave them off so I can drive to the dealer. Both bulbs have burst in the past and have been replaced twice by the dealer. This time the new bulbs don't appear to be bursting but just turning off by themselves. The burst bulb problem started occurring when I had less than 20K miles but now the dealer said both light housings needs replaced at my cost of over $5000.

- Coeur D'alene, ID, USA

problem #20

Feb 102009


  • 18,000 miles
Headlights turn off unexpectedly and also flicker. Started off with one light turning off and now both lights will turn off. Afraid to drive in the dark. Switching lights off and back on will start them back but they may go right back out. Is more frequent now.

- Anna, OH, USA

problem #19

Oct 212012

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 89,110 miles
Lost both high beam lighting while driving in a snow storm at night, on a dark mountain road in Oregon. I have 2002 Chevy silveraldo pickup with over 150,000 miles and no headlight problems ever. The last known headlight failure I had was on my 1957 Chevy around 1970. You would think headlight problems in todays cars would not exist, ever! I checked all four fuses per Toyota's maintanance manual, and they are good. I see there are several complaints on Toyota's. seems like they would fix our problems before there is a fatality. Thanks

- Powell Butte, OR, USA

problem #18

Jul 242011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 54,930 miles
On June 24, 2011 we took a trip to Arkansas. As we were going in the mountains, we found that we had no high beams on our headlights. On returning to fresno we took it into the Toyota dealer and he informed us that the headlight had exploded and would cost $2500 to replace. After a discussion with the dealer and Toyota, the dealer fixed them. Then in September 2012 the driving lights went out. We took the car in to the Toyota dealer and he informed us that they have exploded again. They want $2500 to replace them again. I do not understand why they want to charge the customer when it is a manufacturing problem. Can you imagine driving on back roads at night (which we do) and have the lights go out? I think this is a safety issue and makes it a very expensive car to operate yearly. I understand that this is a ongoing problem with the 2008-2010 models with hd headlights.

- Fresno, CA, USA

problem #17

Dec 052011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 52,000 miles
The low beam headlights (hid bulbs) go out intermittently while driving. We have replaced the hid bulbs and the problem has continued. The vehicle has been taken to a local Toyota dealer for evaluation. They have been unable to say definitively what the issue is. They want to change the bulbs (total cost of $800) in order to make a determination of whether the problem is with the bulbs or not. Since the problem has continued the vehicle can't be safely driven at night for long distances for fear the lights will go out. This is a major safety issue that Toyota does not seem to want to acknowledge nor resolve.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #16

Nov 182009

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 37,707 miles
Headlights flicker and then go out completely. This is a repeated issue. Headlights on both sides will go out while driving. Sometimes the headlights will come back on; other times will not. This is applicable to the low beams as well as the high beams. Have notified Toyota and they will not address the issue properly. Toyota will not admit there is a defect in the equipment in the 2008 Avalon. Many other Avalons in this model year are experiencing similar issues. This is a significant safety issue.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #15

Sep 112011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 36,578 miles
Sept. 11, 2011, while parked, at night, automatic headlights on, both high beam headlight lamps exploded. The very next day, I took my Avalon to the dealer and was told that since the car was above 36,000 miles, that the repair would cost $2,700. I was told that both lamps and assemblies must be replaced. I was presented a toyoto service bulleting stating that both assemblies must be replaced. Got no options from the dealership. Nov. 9, 2011, I received a warranty enhancement notice stating that my warranty was extended to 75,00 miles and the it covered the head lamps and assemblies. It took until Jan. 10, 2012, to settle this issue. The lamps and assemblies were replaced by the company and I received a full reimbursement.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

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