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 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #59

Aug 012012


  • 51,000 miles


The screen has stopped responding properly. It is mostly the left side of the screen that doesn't respond at all, but at times its the entire screen. This screen is necessary to control the air/heater; telephone, sound, etc. I have seen several complaints all over the internet discussing the exact same problem but yet Toyota will not make a recall of the problem equipment.

- El Paso, TX, USA

problem #58

Sep 202012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
I had been driving the car for less than 10 minutes when the "red triangle" red problem light came on the screen. I immediately looked for a safe place to pull over when the car made a series of short dinging sounds and the car was automatically put in neutral and the brake engaged--in the middle of a busy intersection! I was forced to flee the vehicle as there were oncoming cars that didn't look like they were going to stop. When the signal changed, I went back to the car and put on the emergency flashers. Then I tried to put the car back in drive and it would not budge from neutral. I then switched the car off and back on and was able to drive it out of the intersection safely. If this had occurred even 5 minutes later, my 9-year-old daughter would have been in the vehicle with me and we would not have been able to react as quickly as I did. The car has been towed to my personal mechanic by aaa for diagnosis, but at this time it does not appear that this was an error, but a design flaw that put my safety in critical danger.

- S. Pasadena, CA, USA

problem #57

Jul 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
My headlights turned them self off on any given time either one on a time or both at the same time same thing happens if the highbeams are on day or night to correct this problem temporarily you have to turn the lights on and off quickly and you have no guarantee how long it will stay on I spoke to the Toyota corporation and they will not help because my car has 90,000 miles my car is 2008 to fix this problem the dealership is charging $1200 I have extended warranty on the car but electrical is not covered.

- Middletown, CT, USA

problem #56

Sep 022012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 82,000 miles


The car warnings went on and displayed the symbol for brake systems failure. The car brakes went out and then the car sped up slightly until the brakes re-engaged. I was driving slowly and was near my home, so no one was hurt thankfully. We had to have it towed because the car manual said not to drive it more than 3 mph when you have a brake systems failure. It was determined that the defective parts were the electric water pump and the mechanical water pump. Toyota has recalled 2003-2007 electric water pumps for the Prius. My concern is that this could have been a tragic accident if we were going faster. My question is whether the 2008 electric water pump for the Prius need to be recalled?

- Plano, TX, USA

problem #55

Jul 092012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 172,361 miles
On 09jul2012 4:00 P.M while driving my Prius 2008 hybrid, heading home on I15N, the electric power on the vehicle shutdown without any previous warning, or alert. I immediately maneuvered the vehicle to the right shoulder of the highway. Immediately called aaa for a towing into Toyota of escondido, located on 231 Lincoln parkway, escondido, ca 92026 ph# (760) 746-0674. Today 09/01/2012 - currently experiencing problems with intermittent hid headlight operation: I've got a package 6 2006 Prius. One of the headlights keeps going out. I can't really tell when or how it goes out since I can't see it. I'll notice it when I see the reflection in the back of another car. If I turn the bright lights on and off it has no effect, but when I turn them all the way off and back on the light comes back. Request a safety recall for Toyota to take care of the electrical corrective actions.

- Temecula, CA, USA

problem #54

Aug 252012


  • 47,400 miles
Around 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon, we opened the car door to run some errands and were startled by a piercing noise. The dashboard was lighting up (ABS & vsc) and although the car started, the dashboard remained lit and the beeping continued. When driving the car to the dealership, the brakes did not brake fully. After a $58 diagnostic test, we were told that acc pressure sensor needed to be cleared and if we returned with the same problem, we may need to replace a "brake actuator part" (cost = $2,560). Before this incident, on Saturday afternoon, we drove the car on the interstate for about 150 miles. For the last 15 minutes of our trip, we were driving through heavy rains on the interstate and on side roads. We did not experience any problems when driving the car in the rain, but are wondering whether or not the water affected the brakes.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #53

May 152012

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the headlights stopped illuminating. The contact mentioned that he was able to turn them back on by engaging the switch several times. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 62,000 and the current mileage was 65,000. Updated 09/05/12 the consumer stated after driving for about 10 minutes with the headlights on, one light would go out. By turning the headlight switch off then back on, the failed light would come back on. After about five minutes, the other light would go out. Updated 09/111/12

- Gainesville , VA, USA

problem #52

Jun 212012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 81,000 miles
My headlights will go out for no reason while I am driving or they will go dim while driving. I have been pulled over by the highway patrol on 2 different occassions because they though I was driving unsafely without 1 working headlight and each time I was able to turn the lights off and then turn them back on and both lights would then work. The highway patrol said that they are becomming aware of this problem because they are seeing this problem more often. I reported this to the Toyota dealer and they had no answer other than to replace lights that at the time were working just fine. This is a major safety problem. NHTSA must do something... investigate and/or recall of the Prius for defective headlight electrical systems before people are injured or killed.

- Saugus, CA, USA

problem #51

Mar 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
My Prius headlights are very erratic and unsafe. While driving, one or the other and sometimes both go off. No bumps or other incidents have occurred. They just go off. By turning the lights off and then back on, they always correct themselves, until the next occurrence, which may be in minutes, or days. This condition is entirely intolerable and is not due to loose connections or bad bulbs or any other cause. It obviously is a defective firmware or hardware sensor problem. It is very unsafe, as it has happened to me at night while traveling through an intersection. I have looked at reviews on the internet and it appears that many Prius owners are experiencing the exact same problem. Thanks and I hope enough complaints come your way to cause a corrective action of some sort!

- Lafayette, CA, USA

problem #50

Feb 212012


  • 80,000 miles
For several weeks, I've been having intermittent lowering of dashboard lights, or complete lack of them. On this car, that means I suddenly will have no speedometer, no gas gauge, which can be very dangerous (particularly the speedometer!). when I brought it to my mechanic, I was told that this was a common problem, but that Toyota had not issued a recall for the part which requires the replacement of the entire instrument panel. There are no issues with the actual bulbs; it's a computer issue, from what I'm told. This is not an age issue of the car; this is a serious safety malfunction!.

- Columbia, SC, USA

problem #49

Jan 092012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 85,000 miles


Vehicle insturment cluster failure. Vehicle will not power down.

- Volo, IL, USA

problem #48

Sep 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Intermittent headlamp failure.

- Volo, IL, USA

problem #47

Mar 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
In early 2010 (estimate), the rear driver side door lock of our 2008 Toyota Prius would not unlock with key faub or driver side door lock/unlock button. I took vehicle into poway Toyota (poway, ca) and they stated door lock actuator failed, which they replaced at my cost. By the summer of 2010 (estimate), the other three door locks have failed. I must use the key to open the front driver's door and reach over to open the passenger side doors while passengers wait outside the vehicle. It is not safe for passengers to wait to enter vehicle. To have all four door locks fail within three years of the car construction, indicates to me there could be a defect with this part of the Toyota Prius. I request you investigate this matter.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #46

Dec 102011


  • 69,000 miles
My passenger headlight will sporadically go out. Shutting off and turning back on works, but the light dims and then goes off completely. I don't know how long it's been this way, but it is a recent occurrence. It happens whether the car is parked or in motion- no certain speed causes it to happen.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #45

Aug 302011

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
In August 2011, a princeton, NJ, police office stopped me to report that my right headlight was not working. On September 1, 2011, I paid lawrence Toyota $281.84 to replace the right side headlight. Later that month, when I drove home, I noticed that the right light was not shinging against the garage door. When I got out of the car, I saw the headlight was not working. Early in October, the front end of the car was damaged by another vehicle, including both headlights. The body shop replaced the headlights. Shortly after I took the car home, I notice both the left and right headlights failed randomly. While driving, I notice the light would not be uniform along the pavement. When traffic was stopped at a light, one light would reflect from the car in front of me. When I took the car back to the body shop, they confirmed that the lights would go on and off spontaneously. They replaced both lights and the "modulator" that governs the headlights. The problem persisted. They took the car to freehold Toyota who "adjusted" the lights and modulator. When I drove the car away from the body shop, I light was higher than expected; reflecting off tree branches well above the car. A few days later, I drove the car to a store and noticed the right light was not shining against the wall of the building. A person the car that pulled in before me commented that the left leadlight was aimed so high that it blinded him, making his rearview mirror unusable.

- Princeton Junction, NJ, USA

problem #44

Nov 252011


  • 52,000 miles
Rear hatchback locking/unlocking button gummy and inability to unlock truck manually and electrically. Unable to access trunk where emergency/safety equipment located.

- Newton, MA, USA

problem #43

Dec 152007


  • 500 miles
Shortly after I purchased the car new, the audio display unit (touch screen, ) which also controls air conditioning failed and was replaced under warranty on January 5, 2008. The same unit failed again on October 30, 2011. The touch screen is unresponsive, which makes it impossible to use it to control air conditioning, audio and other information functions. The Toyota dealer from whom I purchased the car examined the part, confirmed that it is defective and informed me that a replacement will cost over $7,000 (seven thousand) which is about half of the current blue book value of the car. It is therefore not economical to repair it. I was also informed that while the car has a 3 years/30000 warranty, the defective part in question has only one year warranty. This seems deceptive, because according to Toyota's tsb EL002-05, this is a known problem.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #42

Sep 022011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 41,000 miles
Around or just after 40,000 miles the right headlight on my 2008 Toyota Prius started turning off while driving. Turning the lights off then on corrects the problem -- but this is annoying and dangerous when driving at night.

- Sunnyvale, CA, USA

problem #41

May 122011


  • 67,200 miles
After driving for about 500 miles the car was parked in the garage for two days. When I tried to start the car the 12V battery was dead. I used 3 different batteries to try to start the car. The lights came on on the dash but there was a warning message that there was a problem with the transmission and needed to put the car on a level surface which it already was, and the transmission would not come out of park and the motor would not start. The car could not be moved. When a new battery was installed the car resumed working fine. If the dead battery had happened when we were stopped on I81 because of construction, we would have been stuck in the fast lane with no way to move the car out of the travel lane until a tow truck arrived.

- Taneytown, MD, USA

problem #40

Jan 282010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 29,200 miles
I was driving my 2008 Prius about 20 to 30 mph down a straight road, a slight descending grade and coasting, when it accelerated with my foot off the accelerator pedal. This happened for about 4-5 seconds and a speed gain of approximately 5-10 mph. It startled me, if a car had been in front of me, there would have been a serious problem. A light flashed on the dash but it happened so fast that I could not tell which light. I called Toyota of longview and was told if it was not acting up they could not do anything about it. We had bad weather so I parked the car until we could carry it in. Feb 9th, 2011, we had the dealer check it and they found nothing wrong. I would sell it but it what if someone else got in an accident? something needs to be done.

- White Oak, TX, USA

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