really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
82,657 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 Prius body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Sep 202016


  • 105,000 miles


My rear hatch door latch cover and switch are inoperable and the rubber latch cover is gummy. Hatch will no longer open - this is a huge safety issue- how can I get to my spare tire?

- Mercer Island, WA, USA

problem #34

Aug 272016


  • 82,000 miles
I was in a parking lot and turned my car into a parking space. As I slowed my car to bring it to a stop, applying the brake, the car accelerated on its own and crashed into a railing at the head of the parking space. Although I pushed the brake all the way to to floor, I could not stop the car. The car hit at such a speed that it broke a solid wood railing at the front of the parking space. My car was declared a total loss by my insurance company because of the damage. It seemed to me the car accelerated on its own and the brake was nonfunctional. I could not stop the car. I had two related incidents prior to this crash. The first, I rear-ended another vehicle when applying the brake to stop at a traffic light. Again, the car accelerated and the brake would not stop it. Even with the brake fully pressed, the car hit the other vehicle, bounced backward, continued to accelerate and hit the car again before coming to a stop. Secondly, one time I noticed when applying the brake to make a sharp right turn, the car lurched forward. This did not result in a crash.

- Groton, MA, USA

problem #33

Sep 032016


  • 101,000 miles
My daughter was driving with a passenger in the front, on a town street and a vehicle pulled out in front of her. The impact was on her front bumper and hood pushing the side quarter panels back. The other vehicle was an older Pontiac grand pris, their airbags deployed. No airbags deployed on the Toyota Prius.why did the airbags not deploy?

- Meyersdale, PA, USA

problem #32

Aug 012016


  • miles


The rubber on the rear liftgate has deteriorated. My fingers get covered in a sticky goo every time I open it.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #31

Mar 242016


  • 85,000 miles
The rear latch assembly is held in place by plastic bolts. Over time, the plastic distingrates. When attempting to open the rear latch of the parked car, the plastic cracked and the assembly came loose.

- Alameda, CA, USA

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problem #30

Mar 142016


  • 106,000 miles
The hatchback latch has a rubber cover which has been deteriorating for several years. There are 100S of complaints on the internet about it. Now, the latch pressure plate fails to allow me to open hatch and the nearby (plastic?) part is broken--similar to many others on web. Dealer quotes a $540 cost to repair the latch and plate.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #29

Dec 232015


  • 160,000 miles


The latch handle on the hatchback has "melted" for lack of a better word. The handle has become gooey and leaves a black residue on my fingers every time I open the hatchback. Because of this problem, the handle is harder to use, making it more trying to open the trunk.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #28

May 012013


  • 100,000 miles
Rear switch that allows lift gate to be open, fails. Rubber breaks down and becomes like glue, making it hard for individual opening lift gate to remove hand as normally expected, inducing strain on individual back and creating unexpected twisting motion causing injury and damaging trim on car. Toyota has issued recall in Japan but not us [https://Toyota.jp/recall/kaisyu/121107.html] [not sure of exact date, this is second report Toyota claim 1512-2317-10]

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #27

Sep 152015


  • miles
I purchased my Prius in 2008. Approximately 3 years after purchase, I noticed that the handle on the back hatch had started to get really soft in hot weather and freeze up a little in cold weather. At first it was just a nuisance as it sometimes left a black sticky substance on my hands; however, over time it became progressively worse and the hatch became harder to open. I cannot open it at all now (Sept. 2015), leaving me without access to the spare tire, the battery, snow shovel, or my accident kit (flares, blanket, etc). My back light also keeps going off then coming back (I got a ticket for it) but I cannot get to the light fixture because I cannot open the trunk. This is therefore a safety hazard and Toyota should fix it. I am told that they have admitted liability and fixed this problem for free in Japan. If that is true, it should be extended to the us! lack of access to battery and spare tire and the problem with the rear light pose a serious safety issue.

- North Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #26

Jul 312015


  • 70,000 miles
The latch handle on the hatchback has disintegrated. The handle has become gooey and leaves a black residue on my fingers every time I open the hatchback. Because of this problem, the handle is harder to use, making it difficult to open the trunk. Replacement part number is 84905-47010.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #25

Jul 102012


  • miles


We purchased our Prius in 2008. Approximately 3 years after purchase, we noticed that the handle on the back hatch started to melt. At first it was just a nuisance as it left a black goo on your hands. As time passed it became progressively worse and the hatch became harder to open due to the melted handle. Last week (Aug. 2015) our 12 volt battery died over night and we couldn't start the car or get anything to work. Of course, we could not open the back hatch at all to access the battery. We called a tow service to tow our car to the local dealer. We were able to jump the car and drive to the dealer. The service technician said that he had never herd of this happening. It was determined that the melted handle shorted out the wiring for the rear light and drained the battery overnight. After a little research< we found that this is not a localized problem but is pretty common on 2007 and 2008 Prius'. Toyota is not willing to fix ts own design flaw and we are out $250. This poses a serious safety issue if there is a flat tire or dead battery and we are unable to open the back hatch.

- Springdale, AR, USA

problem #24

Jul 312015


  • 100,000 miles
I was hit in the rear end which shoved me into the vehicle in front of me 7/31/2015. Air bags did not deploy.

- Mentone, CA, USA

problem #23

Jul 012015


  • 85,213 miles
The black rubber is disintegrating and falling off the outside trunk latch, making it difficult to open the hatchback to get to the spare tire or battery. This is also happening to my neighbor, who parks right next to me and also has a 2008 Prius.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #22

Nov 012014


  • 79,100 miles
Rear hatchback locking/unlocking rubber handle disolved/melted and became a tar-like mass that stuck to fingers. Unable to unlock truck manually and electrically. Unable to access trunk where emergency/safety equipment located.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 172015


  • 72,000 miles
I was driving my 2008 Prius in rainy weather (normal for seattle) northbound on interstate 5 in relatively heavy traffic. Traffic was slowing down, so I brake and decreased my speed further. As I got closer to the car ahead of me, I pushed more firmly on the brake, and nothing happened. The ABS did not engage. The car just kept moving along and I ran into the car ahead of me. Luckily my speed was only 5-7 mph. The other car, an SUV, was not damaged. My front hood was quite crunched. No one was hurt. My concern is that the brakes simply did not engage at the last moment. I have read about the recalls of 2010 Prius' because of ABS failures, so I wanted to make sure that you were aware of at least one 2008 Prius that seems to have experienced a similar failure. Thanks.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #20

Dec 232014

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The back latch of my 2008 Toyota Prius began melting last summer, leaving a sticky black residue on my hand when I touched it. It now takes both hands and a lot of pressure/strength to even open it. I see that other owners have experienced this problem, yet Toyota did not issue a recall and is instead, demanding $315 to replace it. Since the inability to quickly access the trunk in am emergency presents a safety concern, I feel that I have no alternative but to replace it. It will be the last Toyota that I own.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #19

Jul 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 3,000 miles
The black part on the "trunk" which you have to touch to open the hatchback, started melting the first summer after we bought the Prius. Every summer since it drips black rubber, which smears all over your hand every time you open the door. In the winter, it doesn't melt, but the trunk is extremely difficult to open, which could create a risk of death, if passengers were trapped inside a burning car after a collision. From what I read on the internet, Toyota is denying this is a manufacuring defect, claiming that people are using the wrong products to clean their cars. Which is illogical, and wholly inaccurate in this case, since my husband certainly never washed the car for the first several years he had it, until I got tired of a dirty car and had it detailed. It was melting long before that. Toyota needs to accept responsibility for their mistake, and fix it.

- Clayton, NC, USA

problem #18

Nov 032014


  • miles
This is a report of product failure and subsequent refusal by Toyota to replace failed parts post 36 K mi. Warranty. They are a steering wheel compound disintergration and the premature oxidation of the plastic spoiler paint only w/O similarly occuring on the sheetmetal of the body.

- Kamuela, HI, USA

problem #17

Sep 152014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
On my 2008 Toyota Prius rear hatch liftgate, the handle has melted making it very difficult to open the rear hatch. This is a safety problem because there is then no safe way to remove items from the rear. Since the spare tire is stored in the hatch, Toyota should repair this problem. This seems to be an ongoing problem with the 2nd generation Prius. I have read numerous complaints regarding this issue on various forums. The entire liftgate assembly has now broken from the hatch, causing the rear hatch not to open or close properly. The safety issue has now become worse as I am worried that the rear hatch may open while driving.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 112014


  • miles
Rubber like material that made the hatchback latch has melted to the plastic/metal. Difficulty opening. On some occasions, it will not open. Will not open in extreme heat or cold weather. All doors should function properly. Dealership will not replace even though it is obviously a problem.

- Austin, TX, USA

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