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 3 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #99

May 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 249,000 miles


The dashboard light will not come on and I could not read mileage or how fast I was going. Eventually, car shuts down in motion. Took it to keyes Toyota in van nuys, ca. They acknowledged there was a defect and recall and would fix it after a few days they are telling me I have to spend about $4000 to get it fixed because there are fuses burnt and cannot determine what is causing this.

- Quartz Hill, CA, USA

problem #98

Apr 222012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 81,600 miles
I was leaving a store parking lot when the driver in front of me stopped and told me my driver's side headlight was out. It was getting dark so I had to postpone my plans and go straight home. When I arrived home the headlights were both on, but then on parking in the garage I noticed the passenger side headlight was off. The next morning I drove to my mechanic and the headlights were both on when I left, but on arriving there they were both off. I as shocked when my mechanic said to go to the dealer because this was a known problem with my vehicle and Toyota was sued for it. He said the dealer needed to report it to Toyota, however, the dealer denied knowing anything about the issue or that there was a lawsuit until I showed it to them online and then they admitted it. When I asked them if Toyota has changed anything about the headlight problem they said "no!" the estimate was $485. I called Toyota and complained because many people with this problem said replacing the bulbs doesn't fix the problem and that it may recur or more expensive repairs might be necessary. The Toyota customer service said they would cover the cost to replace the headlamp bulbs just this time only because I've been a Toyota customer for 17 years and not because of any negligence on their part. And like the dealer, basically lied and refused to admit they knew anything about the issue or the lawsuit but at the same time mentioned the 50,000 mile/5 year extended warranty from lawsuit for same issue, which excludes me. I do not feel safe driving this car anymore. My headlights could go off again while I'm driving at night and I could be involved in an accident. It's irresponsible and totally unacceptable to ignore dangerous safety issue like this and lie to cover it up, not only by Toyota but any government Agency paid by taxpayers to look out for the safety of the public.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #97

Feb 132013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 92,000 miles
Headlight will go off when driving, sometimes one only. Then the other. There is no set pattern. Headlights will come back on when the on/off switch is turned off then back on, then will go off again. Three oem bulbs have been replaced in one and a half years. I understand that I am not the only person that is having this problem. Toyota does not acknowledge that there is a problem. They say that it is just a bad bulb and just replace the bulb only to have the same thing happen. This is a safety issue as we cannot predict when bulbs will go out!

- Grapeland, TX, USA

problem #96

Oct 282013


  • miles


Every few weeks (even several times in the same week), the dashboard lights on the car go completely dark, without warning (no, the dimmer switch is not turned to "low" or "off"-- that is the first thing we tried). Simultaneously, or sometimes at different times, the car refuses to turn off, even when the "off" switch is pressed constantly or intermittently, for up to a half-hour. Obviously, it is extremely dangerous to leave a car running, so one cannot leave the car; when driving, the loss of all the dashboard information is terrifying, especially at night when it is so distracting as to be potentially crash-causing. The Toyota dealer first claimed it was the 12-volt battery, so we replaced it. This did not fix it. At the dealer's request, we left the car with them for a long weekend, and they claimed that since they weren't able to reenact the situation, they could not help us. After some back-and-forth, they agreed to replace a "combination meter, " which Toyota had apparently found troublesome enough to offer free "out-of-warranty" repairs of. However, the dealer first said Toyota would not pay for it unless the dealer was able to independently verify the trouble, and they were not able to recreate the distressing situation. As if we would lie in order to receive a new combination meter! we just want to car to work and be safe. Now we are waiting five-plus days for the part to come in, and not even sure if it will fix our problem. There's plenty of discussion of this exact same issue all across the internet. Why has the company not figured this out, and trained its mechanics accordingly?

- Potomac, MD, USA

problem #95

May 012008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 0 miles
I purchased my Prius new. I have had a chronic & constant issue with my head lights & tail lights not working properly. I have had this issue checked by mechanics and have been told this is a "Toyota electrical issue". there is no problem with the bulbs or components that can be found by mechanics. This is a dangerous problem, and occurs randomly without notice. My head lights or tail lights just "go out"...any time, anywhere! I have spoken with other Toyota Prius owners (other years too), and they have the same problems.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #94

Mar 262012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 74,659 miles
This is in regards to the electrical fuel pump that is already being recalled. I had my vehicle shut off while driving in traffic. I had it towed to the Toyota dealership at the time and they replaced the electric water pump, the water pump, and the battery. My invoice came out to $1213. I sent this to Toyota for a refund when the recall notice came out. They refunded me a mere $428 (this is for only the electric water pump) claiming that they do not have anything that shows the battery or the other water pump could be effected by the recall condition. It seems strange that I brought my vehicle in when I experienced exactly the same condition described in the recall and ended up needing multiple parts replaced when Toyota claims only the electrical water pump may be effected. I had no other issues with my vehicle leading up to this so it seems highly unlikely that the water pump and battery just went bad at the very same moment the electrical water pump stopped.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #93

Jan 142014


  • 34,000 miles


When I started the car the dash lights didn't come on. This has happened 3 times. Doesn't really sound like a big deal until you realize you don't know how fast you're driving, don't know how much gas you have - not to mention, if anything goes wrong with the car while this is happening the warning light will not illuminate. Also when this happens the car doesn't turn off.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #92

Mar 032014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
There is a leak inside the 12V battery compartment that houses the battery and the electronic brake controller. The car's hatch leaks water in from rain and car washes and it collects around the 12V battery. In this Prius, this area has the battery, electronic brake controller, and further back is the hv battery. There should not be any water that can leak into this area with the electronics. There are many google threads regarding owners experiencing this problem with water leaking inside the car's back area. This is a major safety issue that needs to be addressed because the battery and brake booster is in this exact area where it can affect the safety of the car when driven.

- El Monte, CA, USA

problem #91

Feb 212014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 118,000 miles
When I was on the freeway, one of my headlights just went out. I had the same exact headlight replaced only one year ago. A few days later, both of my headlights had the same problem. They would flicker and then just go out while I am driving at high speeds. If I turn the light switch on and off while I am driving they sometimes come back on. Sometimes I have to pull over and restart the car for them to come back on. This issue is not safe! please help.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #90

Oct 202013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Was driving to nova scotia 10/18/13. Stopped for coffee after 2 hrs of driving. Car would not restart. Returning to maine10/20/2013 was passing a tractor trailer truck with another trailer truck passing behind me as well. No check engine light had come on at any time during the trip. Suddenly, all the warning lights on the dashboard lit up and the car stopped working while driving at 75 mph. Tried not to slow too quickly with truck bearing down behind me, but could not accelerate either. Car had popped into neutral. Got off on left of two lane highway.car was dead. Would not start. Had towed to Toyota dealer in amherst. Diagnostics found no cause. Had to drive 4 hours back home next day not knowing if it would happen again. Took car to Toyota dealer 45 miles from my home in us. The following week.no cause found. Happened again shortly after on main street, blocking traffic. Towed to local mechanic. Was there one week. Unable to diagnose. Towed 45 miles to Toyota again. There another week. I was told it was a problem with fuse box assembly. Shortly after, the master warning light came on, as well as a warning symbol on the touch screen meaning 'malfunction in hybrid system.' Towed again to Toyota dealer. Front battery replaced. Noted today that Prius recall on '09-'14 models for exact same thing that happened to my '08 model. Total cost $600 plus $270 towing and $120 for hotel.

- Presque Isle, ME, USA

problem #89

Jun 282013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


I was driving down the highway at night at approx. 70 mph and both headlights turned off. I then slowed down and shut the headlights off manually and then turned them back on. Both headlights turned on and worked properly. Within that week I brought the car to a shop and had him replace both headlights at a crazy cost. Thinking that this fixed the problem I continued to drive the car, I have had one other time that both headlights went out but have had multiple times where one head light would go out. I have been pulled over by the authorities at least twice by having the headlight out. In order to fix the lights I have to shut them off and then turn them back on. This is very unsafe, my life, my family members life, and possible other lives are at risk!!!

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #88

Dec 192013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 56,300 miles
Pulling away from home after starting car, I noticed dashboard lights were out, no speedometer, etc. Although blinker lights worked. Later, backing up, I noticed the camera image did not work. Big problem was when I got to work and car would not turn off. I tried for 20 minutes including that I made the mistake of putting smart key into slot thinking that would help only to realize that key could not be removed without car being off. I absolutely had to go to my office; had to leave car unattended in downtown. When returned a few hours later to go to dealer, I tried it again and it turned off.

- Miami Shores, FL, USA

problem #87

Jul 112013


  • 100,000 miles
While driving my car the headlight go off without any warning. This is extremely dangerous. I have already filled one complaint. I thought I had fixed the problem when I replaced my headlights but that only worked for about a month and the same thing started to happen again, now I cant drive at night with out my headlights going out.

- Mount Union, PA, USA

problem #86

Aug 312013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I rear-ended the car in front of me in a very low speed accident, listed on my ticket as 1+ mph by the police officer who witnessed my accident while at the scene attending to an already-occurred accident. When I was 2-3 car lengths behind the car in front of me, going approx. 5-10 mph, I saw their brake lights go on, and I pushed the brake pedal and nothing happened. I pumped the brakes, and nothing happened. When I realized that my car's momentum was not slowing in the slightest, and that I was going to hit the car in front of me, I tried to maneuver into the vacant right lane, but the failure of the car to even slow down made accident avoidance not possible. When I struck the car in front of me, the blow was primarily with the left front corner of my car contacting the center of their bumper. My car was totaled; their car need a new rear bumper but only for cosmetic purposes. I will testify under oath in a court of law that the brakes in my 2008 Toyota Prius failed, and that is why I had this wreck.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #85

Sep 092013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My headlight keeps going out. I know its a known problem but there has not been recall and it did not occur until recently, so it does not fit in with the Toyota 50,000 miles and under rule. However, I have been stopped a couple times and its happening more and more every day. This should be recalled!

- Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #84

Aug 112013


  • 46,000 miles
This happened when I was driving in sfo city on an uphill street. It was bumper to bumper traffic and the car was going just fine (stop-and-go), and at one point it just stopped on the uphill and won't pull up. I had half+ tank of gas, battery was showing 4 bars, the car was on (all electrics okay) but won't pull up even when pressing hard on the gas. There was a emergency warning light that came (system malfunction or something). I even restarted the car, but no help. Finally aaa came and towed the car and brought it back to the normal road and it started running fine"? not sure what caused this" I strongly suspect that this has something to do with the hybrid switching. My car service (dealer) says the 12V battery (not the hybrid one) could be dead/low.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #83

Jul 122013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 175,000 miles
Rear hatch release cover melts off switch. My Prius rear hatch release rubber cover became sticky a year or so ago. Then started melting off the switch this year. I left the car sit for a week in high 90 temps and the rubber cover was nearly melted to my license plate. It was no longer attached to the electric switch. I researched on line and found several people complaining about this issue. Toyota wants $200 plus for the switch. This should not breakdown like this. Would like to have Toyota fix the problem since it has a hard time keeping this part in stock. That shows it's a problem.

- Hagerstown, MD, USA

problem #82

Jul 042013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,800 miles
While driving home, friends who were following me passed me then calledto let me know that my car's right front light and left rear light was not working. For the last week or so people coming towards me blinked their lights.. I have regular checkups at the Toyota place, so I ignored it. Looking back on it, they were probably trying to tell me about the headlight. I took my 2008 Prius to the Toyota dealer to replace the bulbs. The repair representative said that the front lights were working but the left rear light wasn't. when I told him both lights were definitely not working the previous night, he said if I wanted, they could replace the rear light with a bulb, but the right headlight was more difficult due to removing the bumper and changing the light assembly (not just a bulb!). this would cost me about $300. I thought that a bulb replacement would do it but not so, this car has blue lights that require bumper removal to even get to the light. Since the light was working at that time and $300 is a lot for a retired single woman, I told him I would think about it. Not knowing if the light will work or not, I quit driving after dark. However, unexpected rain storms forced me to turn the lights on a couple days ago. It worked. However, the problem is I am not sure if they will come on or not. Maybe the left headlight is doing the same thing: Going off and on when I have no indication that this is happening. I bought the Prius to save money on gas and called it my "last" car and have taken care of it as prescribed. Now I don't feel safe to drive it at night or when it rains.

- Cedar Park, TX, USA

problem #81

Jun 272013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Left hid headlight flickers on and off, then turns off. If I turn the headlights off and then back on again, the light will stay on for a bit, but then will eventually flicker out again. Also, the bulb is very difficult to access and replace, and Toyota reportedly charges a lot to replace and install these bulbs.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #80

Jun 022013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 101,000 miles
All lights suddenly went black, front, back everything. I was going 50 mph on a mountain road and was on a straight road section out of the curves when everything went black. It was night-time at about 9:30 pm so very dark. I went into shock immediately slammed on brakes, just glad no one in back of me and carefully tried to feel to the side of the road. This is a road with alot of 18 wheelers as it is a major route. Also very curvy, and I was lucky not to get killed!!!!!

- Auburn, ME, USA

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