really awful
Crashes / Fires:
4 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,934 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 2 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #119

Feb 232015

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


Drivers side headlight will dim then go out out after a few seconds of operation. If the lights are turned off and then on again the headlight will work for a few more seconds then dim and go out. The bulb has been changed but that did not resolve the problem. Updated 12/21/2015

- Sunderland, MA, USA

problem #118

Apr 142015


  • 149,850 miles
I was driving 50mph when the car lost power.the car suddenly had no power brakes, no ability to easily steer, no engine power and many warning lights came on including an warning that the main hybrid battery was not charging. The car would not respond to acceleration. The car came to a stop. I held the start button the car shut off. The car restarted with no problems. All the warning lights were off. I put the car in drive and started to accelerate. All the warning lights come on just as before and the car suffers the same issues again. I went through the same process of turning the car off and turning it back on. The car started up again with no problems again, all the lights were off. It failed on more time on the trip home. I was able to restart the car and put my emergency lights on. I never drove over 25mph on the trip back to the house. My family took the car to wilson Toyota in bellingham wa. They examined the car and said the 12V battery had failed. They told my family that the main 12V battery runs all the electrical to get the car started and running. We told the dealer the car still had electrical power. They still replaced the 12V battery. The following day my family went to look at the car and a service person at the dealer, who said he was new to this location, said he had noticed that the 12V battery had seemed to be replaced recently. They said they would keep the car to keep looking over its systems. On 4/16/2015 my family called Toyota to discuss our safety concerns with regard to how the car failed. We explained we also have a 2007 Prius that had the main hybrid battery fail and that all the warning lights that came on were similar in both cars. The dealer has said there are no codes that said the main hybrid battery is failing. I am worried that I or my family could be seriously injured if the car failed in this manner again while on a busy highway or intersection.

- Mount Vernon, WA, USA

problem #117

Mar 212015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
The left headlight keeps turning itself off when driving or not. When bumped next to the headlight cover it comes back on. The bulb and connector are fine. This is a safety hazard, that if the right one starts doing the same thin at night, it would put me into a dangerous and life threatening situation. I think Toyota should have a recall on this problem.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #116

Nov 192014


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the display screen shorted intermittently and then failed to work without warning. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who inspected the fuses and cleaned the screen. The technician replaced the multi display unit. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 104,000.

- Stockton, CA, USA

problem #115

Nov 012013


  • miles
Intermittent headlamp failure. Flicking lights on and off will temporarily remedy only to fail again during the same drive. Near accident on pitch black mountain road when both lights failed. Bulbs have been replaced multiple times by dealer and problem continues. I've been pulled over by law enforcement and given warnings. We have two young children and cannot safely drive our car during the night or for travel. There is clearly a problem...why is there no accountability" must there be deaths or injuries to get this resolved"

- Monte Sereno, CA, USA

problem #114

Dec 262014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Our car was exhibiting a serious defect that Toyota has already found and documented on their site, saying that they are doing an extended warranty to correct the problem. However, they have grossly mismanaged this extended warranty by not providing the part at all or perhaps at some far future time (we still don't know when we will get our car back, perhaps months or never). When word gets out that customers who bring their car in to get fixed have no idea when they get their car back, they will instead keep driving the car with the highly dangerous defect. The defect is the combination meter, which controls the dashboard indicators. When it goes down, none of the dashboard indicators work and the driver does not know what gear he or she is in, how much gasoline is in the tank, what speed the car is going, etc. These are the cars that Toyota is leaving on the road because they are yet again incompetently managing a safety defect. This could lead to serious injuries and deaths. I spoke to [xxx] at Toyota today (January 5, 2015), and, based on the conversation, Toyota could care less whether this is handled right or not. She did not seem the least bit alarmed, and indicated that their course of action was to do nothing. The dealer ordered the part last Monday, but, according to the dealer, Toyota's tracking of this part is completely disorganized. Toyota has no idea when it went out and is ignoring the tracking information provided by the shipper (apparently ups) so the customers have no idea when they get their cars back. Customers are not given loaner cars. If they turn their cars in to be fixed, they cannot go to work. Therefore, they will drive with the dangerous defect. Also, car owners are not being notified of the defect. They only find out the hard way, perhaps right before an accident. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Springfield, VA, USA

problem #113

Mar 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


The driver headlamp turns off after approx 5 minutes of use. Can turn lights off then on again to restart headlamp. I first took to dealer after purchasing used because of this problem and they did not mention what I have recently learned is a known defect. This has been occurring for the last two years. Changing bulb fixes problem for a while but problem re-occurs. This issue is a major safety issue, and Toyota is charging exorbitant rates to replace the headlamps. I am afraid to drive my car at night or for long distances. This problem needs a permanent fix!

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #112

Oct 242014


  • 149,922 miles
The spiral cable that controls the electrical supply to the steering wheel (radio, heating, air conditioning, etc. Failed). In some vehicles the air bag power supply is routed through this cable and the air bag power supply fails when the spiral cable fails. In my particular case the air bag warning light did not come on but most of the other switches ceased working).

- Mansfield Center, CT, USA

problem #111

Dec 172013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Purchased used in Oct 2013, first had to replace headlight in Dec 2013. Have replaced right headlight 6 times and ballast once. Problem only temporarily resolved. This month headlight went out again. Have replaced ballast and bulb with no success. Headlight will not stay on longer than 30 sec before going back out.

- Colfax, IN, USA

problem #110

Dec 082014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 53,341 miles
The hatchback lift has deteriorated and no longer works. The Toyota service representative quoted me $570 to replace it, stating it could pose an electrical system safety issue. No damage has occurred and since it is keyless... how does this happen" the clear coat has degraded only on the piece of metal that encloses the hatchback's lift mechanism and started flaking about the same time that I noticed it was getting harder and harder to lift the hatchback. Could these two failures be related" when these problems started several months ago it didn't occur to me that there might be a connection. The service rep ignored my question about a possible relationship.

- Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #109

Jul 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


Rear hatch button rubber has melted. Causes electrical hatch opening mechanism to fail completely. Rubber remains sticky in hot weather, transfers tarry residue to fingers. In cold weather button will not function at all. Safety issue because rear hatch is not accessible. Can not access spare tire. There is no hatch release available at driver's seat in front. There is no mechanical only alternative. Child trapped in trunk would have no way out. Despite numerous and well documented cases reported online Toyota will not fix problem voluntarily.

- Warrensburg, MO, USA

problem #108

Jul 042011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The headlight on the right side of the car goes out while driving. It comes back on when I turn the headlight off and turn them back on again. The headlight will go off again at different speeds. The headlight may go off multiple times when driving. This is a very large safety concern.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #107

Jun 202014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 161,000 miles
The first time both lights went out, we were traveling South on I-95 near richmond, va. Prior to this, we thought the lights had dimmed a couple times, but when we checked them, they were fine. There is no mistake when you loose both headlights while on high beam, there are no fog lights, so it gets very dark. I think going to low beam gave us some light (the fog lights) but do not remember, I then turned the light switch off and back on immediately, which turned the lights back on. Since that first incident of them both going out, we have seen both the driver's side headlight alone, the passenger side headlight alone, and at least half a dozen times both lights go out at the same time. All but once, turning the light switch off and then on turned the lights back on. The last time both went out, I had to turn the switch off and back on several times to get the lights back on. With a cost of over $200 per light, I decided to change the passenger side light and see if that light would stay on. It made no difference. I found in the user's manual that low voltage could cause the high intensity discharge (hid) lights to go out, so I had aaa check the engine battery. The test showed the battery was good, but it only had 364 cold cranking amps so I had a new battery put in. We were told by two other sources that the right battery had 450 cold crank amps so I thought that might account for the hid light problem. That was just a few days ago, and the passenger side headlight has still gone out several times since the bulb and battery were replaced. So far, we have not had both lights go out again.

- Livingstion, TX, USA

problem #106

Oct 142014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
Driving on sb hwy 35 at 74mph, master warning light came on and vehicle shut down, no electrical or engine control. Pulled safely to shoulder of road. Car would not restart. Got out of car, locked car, unlocked car (Toyota technician instructions), then car restarted. Got car off the road, contacted state farm for tow to autonation Toyota South austin. Toyota technician removed a third party telematic device (in-drive) from obd port. Vehicle diagnostic scan showed two communication errors U0100 and U0111. Third party telematic device was not reinstalled. Vehicle was test driven, held overnight, test driven again and the errors or shutdown did not repeat. Toyota service manager said they have seen third party devices connected to odb port cause errors and have to be removed or replaced. We have three hybrid vehicles in our household each with a third party telematic device from in-drive. All three have been removed and returned to in-drive with supplied packaging and return instructions.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #105

Apr 072012


  • 81,000 miles
Trunk hatch release rubber piece started going soft; it is now melted and completely disintegrated into the latch locking mechanism.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #104

May 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
Right head light would go off on it's own. Light was replaced by dealer about a year ago. Now both headlights go out!!!!!!

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #103

Aug 172014


  • 101,000 miles
Both of my cars headlights turn off intermittently and for no reason (the bulbs and ballasts have been replaced and are in working order). I will be driving down the road at night (interstate 70mph) and occasionally both headlights will just turn off. I have almost gotten in a wreck multiple times due to the fact I'm driving at night and out of nowhere my lights go out. This is a huge safety issue. When looking this up online, I'm not the only person with my year/make/model that is having this issue. This has been happening on and off since my vehicle was at 75,000 miles. Last night specifically I almost got in a wreck going 70mph on the interstate because of it. Many times I can turn the headlights off and back on again and one or both will work again.

- Live Oak, FL, USA

problem #102

Feb 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
On the hatch, the exterior switch to open the hatch is covered by a rubber seal to prevent moisture. Unfortunately for me (and apparently hundreds of other consumers I've spoken to online), the rubber eventually dissolves and destroys the switching mechanism, leading to an inability to open the trunk/hatch. This has potential safety implications as if there were a battery fire, I'd have no way to open the hatch to try to put out the fire or retrieve anything.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #101

Mar 152011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
I was driving my 2008 Prius on highway and warning light came on. In 2 minutes all power gone and I have had to towed to the dealer. They said, water pump failed and because of that hybrid inverter fried. Car was out of guaranty and there was no recall about water pump. I paid nearly $50.00 for water pump and hybrid invertor. I have seen there is a recall about water pump now. Is there any way I can get my money back?

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #100

May 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
Low beam headlights have failed. Drivers right headlight fails mostly, but left headlight fails about 33% of the time. I have lost both headlights after a while and is extremely dangerous at night! we have had to stop driving at night because headlights will not stay on past 5 mins. I have looked into the class action lawsuit and at 60000 miles I do not qualify for the settlement. I am very concerned with the safety of my family. I hope Toyota finds a real fix for this problem, or the 1000+ dollar fix will be for nothing. At this point I have lost faith in Toyota and I hope this issue is addressed properly.

- Ewa Beach, HI, USA

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