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 1 of 7)

problem #139

Dec 232016


  • 69,359 miles


Cluster went blank and vehicle would not power off, key fob stuck in ignition. Toyota service recommended replacing combo meter but I am one month out of warranty. I was driving tried to park but car would not turn off, but would come to a stop in the parking lot.

- Santa Cruz, CA, USA

problem #138

Sep 012016


  • 100,000 miles
Driving at 35 miles per hour on a rural paved road both headlights failed simultaneously nearly causing myself and my son go off the road down an embankment while trying to get the lights to come back on at night. The hid headlights have been an issue in the past with a class action lawsuit being paid. I need to get this repaired and want Toyota to cover the recall warranty work.

- Cogan Station, PA, USA

problem #137

Sep 062016


  • 81,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 20 mph and depressing the accelerator pedal, the vehicle failed to increase in speed. All the warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the cause of the failure could not be determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 81,500.

- Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #136

Jan 012016


  • 150,000 miles


I have had my 2008 Prius since it was new and I have taken meticulous care of the vehicle with documentation to prove it. The vehicle is burning oil to the extent that I have to put a quart of oil in every 700 miles. My local dealership confirmed it is an issue with the vehicle but Toyota usa said they won't do anything about it because there "has not been enough complaints". however, the Toyota Prius chat website has numerous complaints about oil consumption. Toyota did an extended warranty for the corolla and Camry but refuses to do anything for the Prius. Numerous attempts have been made with Toyota usa to correct this issue but they refuse to do so. They did say they corrected the issue in the newer models...but yet don't want to acknowledge that is it an issue! so, they corrected an issue that they currently don't acknowledge is an issue!! second to this issue is that the back window can only be closed by the driver's window button and will not close for the person sitting at that window in the back.

- Lake Ariel, PA, USA

problem #135

Jan 012011


  • 50,000 miles
Problems started in 2010 driver head light would go off, replaced the relay with no effect, just lived with it would turn the lights off and back on and would then work. Now at 72,500 miles both head lights and all running lights go out while driving! you can't see anything and other drivers can't see you! very dangerous! water pump went out should have been covered with a recall a year later but Toyota would not reimburse the part.

- Modesto, CA, USA

problem #134

Dec 102012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the instrument cluster failed to function and the warning indicators did not illuminate. The failure occurred randomly more than five times since the contact purchased the vehicle. The dealer was notified of the failure, inspected the vehicle, and was not able to replicate and diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was to check to determine if they could provide further testing to diagnose the failure. The VIN and failure mileage were not available.

- Corvallis, OR, USA

problem #133

Jun 012014


  • 85,000 miles


The rubber rear hatch door release button on my 2008 Toyota Prius started to degrade and become sticky in hot summer weather. I originally thought that the latch was sticky and greasy because dealership service people had opened the car with greasy hands, but then the latch button cover became stiff and difficult to press a few months later, when the weather turned cold. This became a real safety hazard when I loaded the car completely full of my belongings on a cold night to move cross-country the next morning, and the door latch was so stiff and brittle from the cold that it cracked and broke, but the hatch wouldn't open. My chains, spare tire, tools, jumper cables, etc. Were all stuffed back there, completely unreachable from the front because the car was full (one of the items was a bed frame, which probably could not be removed without opening the rear hatch). Needless to say, I didn't feel very comfortable starting a 2-day cross-country drive on winter roads the next morning, without access to my emergency equipment. Eventually, the latch button started working again, but it remains cracked, hard in the cold, and gooey in the summer. I am hoping to replace this part as soon as I am able to spend the $300500 that the dealership charges for this repair. This latch button is clearly defective and was tested for neither cold (<40F) nor warm (>80F) weather.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #132

Mar 172016


  • 106,000 miles
Took my Prius into the dealer today for service. Later, the writer called to tell me that the mechanic had found a build-up of link and dirt that might lead up an overheating or other issues with the battery pack beneath the rear seat. I paid approximately $350 to have the battery fan serviced and later discovered that this issue is under investigation by the fhtsa. I can provide a copy of the now-paid service bill.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #131

Jan 092016


  • 112,000 miles
When driving home on highway just after dark, both headlights went out simultaneously without driver interaction. Headlight switch was still on, untouched. Visibility outward as well as other vehicles seeing me (black Prius at night without lights) severely impaired, could easily have caused an accident. Pulled over and turned headlight switch off, then back on; lights came on bright and immediately dimmed, apparently normal. Checked online and found a number of similar (escalating) occurrences by others, without a recall yet by Toyota. After pulling over and stopping

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #130

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 #129

Nov 052015


  • 50,000 miles


Left headlight goes out while setting still and while driving. On a ten mile trip the light will go out 6 - 10 times. Turning the light off and back on makes the light to burn again. I have been stopped by the police for this. When I stop I, turn the headlamps off, when they tell me why I was pulled over for I play dumb and they instruct me to turn on my lights and dim them or put on high beam. They are left scratching there head and I'm on my way. This happens every time the vehicle is driven at night. Also happens setting still.

- Chatham, VA, USA

problem #128

Oct 142015


  • 150,000 miles
Headlights short out intermittently. Both headlights have gone out, the left has gone out, the right has gone out. If I turn off the lights and flip them back on, they occassionally both come back on, or one comes back on or neither come back on. This is extremely dangerous at night. It has to be electrical. There's no way it's the bulbs, I've owned the car for a year and have blown through many bulbs already. This is getting expensive besides dangerous. This happens on bumpy roads, smooth roads, turning, going straight. I haven't found a certain thing that makes them turn off. This has been happening for a long time, but I can only choose one date below.

- Jacobus, PA, USA

problem #127

Oct 012015


  • 175,000 miles
I have 2008 Toyota Prius it has hid bulb assembly, both head lights are going off randomly, and it starts working again if we turn off switch & turn on again, but we dont know when it goes off, yesterday only police issue the ticket for same problem, I changed the hid bulb 4-5 times but still not found any solution,

- Iselin, NJ, USA

problem #126

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 #125

Jul 012015


  • 70,000 miles
Headlights flicker, dim, and eventually go out altogether while driving. I have replaced the 12V battery and it still occurs. Concerned for safety of myself and my family.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #124

Jan 212015


  • 86,523 miles
Initially the passenger side headlight began to flicker. Then it went out. When I turned the lights off and on again it came back on. Since then completely randomly one light or the other, but more commonly the passneger side will flicker and dim, and then later go out. Turning the lights off and back on will usually restore the light but more than half the time only to a dimmed or flickering condition. Sometimes both lights just go out randomly and without warning.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #123

Jul 292015


  • 168,200 miles
Vehicle was off and in park. Vehicle was started and shifted into drive. In less then 1 second, vehicle slipped out of drive and into neutral as described in the technical service bulletin issued by Toyota (T-sb-0142-11). Problem as reoccurred multiple times since, including while driving at speeds above 45 mph.

- San Marcos, TX, USA

problem #122

Jul 282015


  • 82,528 miles
Driving at night I noticed my headlights dimming. I turned on my high beams and my headlights went out completely and I was in the dark. I turned the headlights off and then back on again and they came back on at full light. I pulled to the side of the road and had my passenger check the headlights outside. The right front light was out and the drivers side was on. This had happened one time previously. I took my car into Toyota and they ran a check and told me that my right hid bulb was out, but that the left was still working. They replaced both bulbs and said I was good to go. I worry, from reading all of the complaints on 2006-2009 Prius headlights that this may or may not solve the problem. I consider this a safety hazard - losing lights at night. I have read there was a class action suit filed against Toyota in 2011, but still, nothing has been done by Toyota to fix this problem. The suit has ended and I am not able to claim anything. Still, I am worried that this will lead eventually to someone's accident. This needs to be investigated and solved. There are too many complaints dealing with this problem.

- Carmichael, CA, USA

problem #121

Jul 082015


  • 77,000 miles
External rubber seal on rear hatch latch/switch is deteriorating/melting/sticky. Safety issue due to loss of ability to open or access rear compartment when rubber disintegrates. Exposes electrical components.

- Ft. Myers, FL, USA

problem #120

Jul 142015


  • 85,500 miles
Driver side headlight turns off. If I turn lights off, then on again, the headlight will turn on.

- Naperville, IL, USA

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