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 7 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #19

Feb 232010

(reported on)


  • miles


2008 Toyota Prius engine shutting off. Consumer states that the vehicle engine will shut itself off and driver has no control of the vehicle. The consumer stated the incident happened during slippery driving conditions.

- Muscatine, IA, USA

problem #18

Feb 212010


  • 22,400 miles
I have a 08 Prius. Several days ago someone told me that one day-time running light was out. Two nights ago I checked and both lights were working so I thought I was ok. Last night after driving about an hour, both head lights went out. I turned the switch off and on again and the lights came back on. About a minute later the right light went off. After another hour of driving the left light went out and I repeated the turn on cycle and it stayed another coupler hours. (I drove home with the flasher as this would have enabled me to see the road a little is case the light went out again., ) I made it home ok and am contacting my dealer today.

- Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #17

Aug 102009


  • 17,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius (bought new) & have had several problems with the electrical system. The biggest problem happened when my husband was driving on the highway. Suddenly the radio went off & all lights on the dash went off. He pulled over, turned off the motor & then turned it on again. It was then ok. Another problem has occurred 3 times. The car won't start & I have to keep trying. After a few attempts it does start. I had not reported these problems, & would not have except for the problems that Toyota are now having. I think that maybe many people are experiencing this problem. And although my car should have been in the floormat recall, I have never had any letter or calls from my dealer.

- Urbana, IL, USA

problem #16

Sep 152009


  • 34,000 miles


2008 Toyota Prius (touring model) -- driver side hid headlight began to fail in Sept 2009. Became more frequent as time elapsed (would occur 3+ times during 30 minute trip). Turning lights off and back on temporarily resolved issue, but driver bulb would eventually fail again. Resulted in reduced visibility and potential blind spot for driver in front of vehicle. Researched online - suspected ECU. Contacted Toyota corporate around December 2009. Was advised that ECU was not the problem - bulb repair suggested. Dealer diagnostic suggested. Did not go to deal to spend $100 to tell me a light bulb should be replaced. Received notice Jan 2010 that symptoms matching mine was due to headlight reaching end of life. Ordered and attempted to replace bulbs in Jan 2010. Did not bring to Toyota as cost to replace bulbs was at least 6X more that "do it yourself". attempt to replace bulbs resulted in mixed success. Was able to get both hid headlights replaced and functioning (after passenger side or driver side would not remain on consistently). Tested high beams - after high beams were disengaged both headlights went out, but headlight switch remained engaged. Disconnected and reconnected wiring. Only passenger side bulb functioned. Afraid to use high beams and no faith in headlights. Reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars to have dealer change bulbs, same problem occur, and spend hundreds or 1,000+ dollars. Original bulbs retained and I will be putting them back in once weather is warmer. Strong belief that bulbs are not to blame and ECU or other electrical component is at fault. Dozens of similar issues reported online.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #15

Feb 052010


  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius. Every now and again for no apparent reason the digital dashboard (led) will not come on upon engine startup or it goes off while driving. The car runs it just the dashboard is blank. The most recent incident was this past Friday. The dealer, arlington Toyota, in arlington heights, il has not been able to find the cause of the problem.

- Des Plaines, IL, USA

problem #14

Jan 152010


  • 38,500 miles
I own at 2008 Toyota Prius. Recently, I was driving at night on a dark stretch of rt. 15 in pa and my headlight turned off. I thought I must have somehow hit something to cause it to turn of, I quickly turned the knob and it went on again. It has since happened a few times and may in fact have happened more frequently but I only notice it if I'm on a unlite or not well traveled road. I see from Prius owners' message boards that it is an ongoing problem that Toyota is well aware of. I see from a nyt article that it has been reported to your Agency but you haven't taken action. I believe you should, because losing a headlight is a danger to the driver and to oncoming traffic. It seems doubly unfair that a driver can be cited for a violation that is beyond his/her control. I contacted the dealer who said it would be $385 to replace the light bulb have not gone in for the repair, it's expensive and from what I've read, the problem may be electrical rather than a burned out bulb. These high-intensity discharge (hid) headlights are not an option on the car, it's the only bulb that fits the Prius, but if the problem is electrical then changing the bulb for $385 will not stop the headlight unit from shutting off again without warning, sometimes in dangerous situations. Please take Toyota to task for this, they know the problem exists but they are passing the buck to the owners without guaranteeing that the problem will be solved and we'll be safe driving at night. Toyota has known about the faulty brakes, the sticking gas pedal and headlights suddenly turn off, what else are they hiding from consumers? it's time for NHTSA to step and force Toyota to fix our headlights before tragic accidents happen.

- Reston, VA, USA

problem #13

Nov 212008


  • 15,000 miles


I have 2008 Prius Toyota that 3 times in 2 years I have not been able to turn the car off and the dashboard is not lit up. After 20 minutes the car lights up again and I can turn the car off. Fearful that I cannot turn car off ever, then what? I have called Toyota customer service and they deny hearing about this before but Prius chat forum has several people that have the same problem. Seems cold weather related and for some the "combination meter" was the problem. It costs $800 to replace.

- Boxford, MA, USA

problem #12

Dec 012009


  • 22,000 miles
Toyota Prius hid headlight - my Prius headlight went out while driving down a highway. Since then the low and high beams go on and off randomly. I took it to the dealer and they told me the bulb was fine and it was a short in the electircal that they could not find. They suggested that I just drive with it and keep trying to shake the wires and determine where the problem was. Now (a month latter) I get a letter from Toyota telling me it is a known problem with the bulb all along. The solution is to avoid using my headlights (that was the suggestion in the letter, only use them when required by law) and if I have to use them allow them to cool before I turn them on again! what a bunch of idiots for suggesting not using your headlights! I'm still under warrenty, but will now have to pay ~$200 each time this problem bulb burns out - unless I follow Toyota's advice and skip using them at all :).

- Longmont, CO, USA

problem #11

Dec 252009


  • 20,000 miles
While driving, the driver's side headlight will fail (turn off) for no apparent reason. Turning the headlight switch off then on will restore the headlights functioning. I have been stopped by the police once for this, and have noticed it now on my own many times since; almost every time I drive.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #10

May 012009


  • miles
S10 appropriate handling - letter to the secretary from Mrs. Judy haley gizmo disputing claim by Toyota that unintended acceleration of Toyota vehicles due to faulty floor mats. The consumer disputed Toyota's claim that the many cases of unintended acceleration were due to faulty floor mats. The consumer stated the crash she had was not due to faulty floor mat's which were latched down, but was due to acceleration/brake problems in the computer and electrical systems of the vehicle. The consumer stated she backed the vehicle out of the driveway, she exited the garage and pressed the button to close the garage door. After closing the garage door, she sated she wasn't sure if she placed the gear in drive or neutral, but suddenly the vehicle lunged forward going up to 15-20 mph. Within 5 seconds the consumer crashed into the garage door, rammed into the inside kitchen wall causing extensive damage. The air bags didn't deploy. The consumer suffered injuries.

- Dubuque, IA, USA

problem #9

Nov 202009


  • 29,000 miles


Toyota Prius 2008, driver's side hid headlight went out at 29K miles <2 years of use, different dealerships tell different stories on whether it's a warranty repair; bulb pricing ranges from $30 to $350; sandy springs Toyota sold us the wrong part; owner's manual gives wrong instructions: The light bulb casing looks nothing like the diagram; some online sources cite a total cost + labor $1700; some don't recommend downgrading to a non-hid bulb; some say that the voltage is very high and poses risk of electrocution when replacing at home;

- Norcross, GA, USA

problem #8

May 012009


  • 38,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius headlamp keeps going out. Replaced both hid headlamps as Toyota corporate told me to do and problem consists. Safety hazard while driving at night with children in car and busy pedestrians on dark roads with strollers and babies not counting deer or other animals. Toyota has refused to recall issue. Im tired!

- Woodridge, IL, USA

problem #7

Oct 092009


  • miles
2008 Toyota Prius owned two of same year and model. Both cars had headlight defects after 30,000 miles. Safety issue and dealer states the lights are known to go out. I have never had a car head lights fail before 200,000 miles. I would like this problem investigated because of the safety issue and many other Prius owners are also having the same problem as per on line research.

- Goodyear, AZ, USA

problem #6

Aug 152009


  • 25,916 miles
While driving my 2008 Prius randomly stalls. This has happened more than 6 times in the last 30 days. The dashboard lights all go on and a constant tone is emitted. At that point I have greatly reduced ability to operate the vehicle (apparently on electric power but very slow). Since this occurs while driving there is a serious possibility of accident as there is very limited control. To reset the problem you must pull over and put the car in park and shut it off. Turning it back on corrects the issue. Took it to a dealer. They had it for a 8 days and claimed: 1. the on board computer did not record anything unusual 2. they could not repro this during their test drives 3. they returned the car back to me - 20 minutes later on my way home the car stalled again. 4. at this time they have no fix for this problem.

- Melrose, MA, USA

problem #5

Mar 012009


  • 42,088 miles
2008 Toyota Prius pkg 6...lost power at 65mph...engine shut down and I lost control of car...pulled over...lights said there was no fuel but I had refueled earlier that morning. Took to dealer...could not find a problem. Also, hid headlights intermittently don't work...very unsafe...has caused trouble with police...I am beyond irritated with Toyota.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 152009


  • 9,500 miles
Interior instrument failure. Temperature app. 23 deg. F. car started normally mfd came up fine. Main dash instruments failed to come on. No speedometer, gearshift indicator, fuel gauge, or odometer. All exterior lighting worked fine. Vehicle shifted into reverse and drove normally for about 15-20 min. When I parked and tried to turn off the car by pressing the power button the vehicle failed to shut down. Contacted Toyota usa and was informed that they rely on their dealerships for tech support. Went through manual drivetrain shutdown by pressing and holding the power button. Shutting down all accessories to limit accessory battery. Could not lock vehicle. Approximately 30 minutes later went out to the car and vehicle powered up as though nothing had happened. I believe that the temperature was the issue and there is some software issue that is not in the owners manual. Anytime you cannot turn off a vehicle there is a risk for an accident and or injury from an unoccupied vehicle. The dealership service dept. Theorized that the accessory battery may be low. But this would result in the car not bringing the main battery online. Toyota should address this issue.

- Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #3

Jan 092009


  • 11,000 miles
Today, I went to work driving my Prius (2008 with 11000 miles) without any dash board lights. The dashboard under the windshield is a reflective type with a whole array of operating indicating lights across to the passengers side. Only the airbag indicator light worked for the passenger side. The cruise control did not work. I tried various power on/off brake on/off combinations to get the dashboard lights working. I pressed the power button with or without the brakes engaged during startup. The engine still ran and the headlights, turn indicators, brake lights, radio and fuel consumption gauge worked. I had no idea of my driving speed other than what other car speed around me were doing. I had to drive under the risk of braking the law as well as the distracting no lighting. Then a worse problem developed. I could not turn the shut car off and I could not lock it after I got out. It gave me the usual beep that it was still running. I tried pressing the power button numerous times. I tried locking the car with the mechanical key and it electronically kept opening. I tried various combinations of braking while sitting, walking a greater distance from the car, using the emergency brake and slamming on the dashboard hoping it was a loose wire. Nothing worked. The car is sitting in the parking lot right now still running without a key. I could not lock it. As I walked away, I pressed the electronic key numerous times. The little red light indicated it was working. What else can I do. L was late for work and I start at 6 am. The dealer, (Toyota heartland of bremerton), doesn't open until 7:00 am and its 6:25 am. I manually turned off the display and radio so the minimum amount of lighting was showing. As far as I know, the car is still in the parking lot running and easy to steal. The engine would not power down nor would the car lock. The dashboard (below the windshield) not lighting was same problem I had a couple of months ago.

- Gig Harbor, Wa, WA, USA

problem #2

Oct 142008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 10 mph, the front driver's side tire went flat. The contact replaced the tire with a spare. The vehicle then began experiencing numerous failures. The instrument panel gauges illuminated and the odometer began to fail. The dealer stated that it would take a few days to diagnose the cause of the failure. Days later, the mechanic explained that there was an issue with the computer system not recognizing the oversized tires. The mechanic placed the regular size tire back on the vehicle, which corrected the issue. The contact is concerned that the spare tire could cause dangerous driving conditions if it ever needed to be used again. The current and failure mileages were 14,500. Updated 11/14/08. Updated 11/18/08.

- Leesville, LA, USA

problem #1

May 052008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While placing fuel in the vehicle, it will not fill to its full capacity. This is a continuous failure that occurs in all weather conditions and temperatures. There is a malfunction with the fuel gauge device. The inaccurate readings of the fuel gauge causes discomfort when driving. The Toyota manufacturer stated that the vehicle would only consume 6-7 gallons of gasoline, even though the fuel tank capacity was 11.9 gallons. The manufacturer is aware of the failure, but the fuel tank cannot be replaced in these vehicles. The tank would need to be redesigned. The contact recently took the vehicle to an authorized dealer and the mechanic stated that the fuel tank failure was related to the bladder system. The vehicle is currently being repaired for the failures. The failure mileage was 5,000 and current mileage was 9,000. Updated 07/07/08. Updated

- Woodland, WA, USA

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