really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,210 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2008 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 10 of 25)

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problem #302

Jan 112013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles


Right hand headlight started turning off intermittently when starting the car or driving at no particular speed. Today the left hand light start remained off when starting the car. It turned on once I cycled the light switch. While driving in the dark experienced both lights intermittently turning off individually and simultaneously about ten times. After cycling the switch the lights would come back on.

- Woodburn, OR, USA

problem #301

Oct 262012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
On several occasions, I have been driving at night and noticed that both of my headlights have gone out. After flicking the on/off switch, the lights came back. I took the car in for new bulbs, believing this to be the cause. The mechanic replaced the hid bulb on the passenger side and when we turned on the lights, the passenger side failed within a few seconds. We tried turning the lights on and off several times and eventually, both lights stayed on. We put the old bulb back in and it worked again, although it failed again quickly and had to be turned back on by flicking the lights several times. My mechanic told me this indicates a problem with the headlight module(s). The previous owner of the car had the entire headlight system replaced within the first year or two of ownership because Toyota of downtown oakland offered to do it free of charge because, as they told her, "all of the headlight components were about to be recalled." This is a major safety issue, and I have several Prius owner friends who are experiencing the same problem with their 2nd generation priuses. I have not heard of any other car that needs new headlight modules regularly and believe this to be a factory defect.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #300

Sep 122012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 21,234 miles
I was driving to work on highway 327 North of highway us 20 and traveling along at 45 mph and all of a sudden both headlights went out. It was dark. I slowed down immediately and turn the headlights off and on again and they came on. I have noticed that at times one headlight turns off or the other. People have told me that I have headlight out and I might get a ticket, but when I check them and one is out I just simply turn the switch off and on again and they usually come on. I thought about changing the headlights but saw a video online that says that is not the problem and there should be a recall. So please check into this before someone is killed.

- Angola, IN, USA

problem #299

Nov 052012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles


Intermittenly either headlamp may go out. Turning off and on the headlamps turns the dead lamp back on.

- Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #298

Sep 032012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 23,000 miles
One evening in early September I was driving on a surface street when my passenger headlight went out. I turned off my lights and turned them back on and the passenger headlight came back on. A few days later I was driving on the highway when both ( driver and passenger) headlights went out without warning. I was able to pull over to the side of road; almost causing an accident.I verified the lights were in the on position. I turned the lights off and immediately back on and both headlights turned on. Both headlights have gone out without warning with the most recent occurring this evening on a busy not well lit highway. I have replaced the passenger light bulb with no resolution therefore I have not replaced the driverside light at least every couple days one of the headlights ( passenger and/or driver side light) turns off which require me to turn the lights off and back on to bring both headlights to operational status. Definite safety concern.

- Playa Del Rey, CA, USA

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problem #297

Dec 112012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 140,100 miles
I've got a package 6 2008 Prius. The passenger side headlight 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 or is someone tells me. 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. Sometimes on long trips it will stay on the whole time, sometimes it won't. sometimes on short trips it will go out, sometimes it won't. it is not an event I can make happen. I've taken it to the dealer and they can't make it happen. Dealer replaced both bulbs and it still happening.

- Laguna Beach, CA, USA

problem #296

Mar 312012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 58,500 miles


Someone pointed out that my right front headlight was out. However, when I got home and checked it, the headlight was on. It has continued to go off and on intermittently since then and is getting worse. I've learned from other websites that several owners of Prius models from 2006 to 2009 have had the same problem.

- Pacifica, CA, USA

problem #295

Aug 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
The right headlight on my 2008 Prius went out while driving. I noticed the next morning that it was back on. I figured out that if I turn the light off then on again, it will come back on, for a while. I eventually had it replaced, to the tune of $120 parts and $40 labor. But after a couple of weeks it's doing it again. Not only that, but now the left headlight is doing the same thing. I'm very concerned about driving at night because changing the bulbs doesn't fix the problem, so it seems like it's only a matter of time before they both go out at the same time!

- Truckee, CA, USA

problem #294

Dec 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 10,000 miles
Since new this car has had headlight problems. Toyota replaced 1 headlight bulb that actually did not come on at the dealership.you never know when a light will go out, or which one. They always come back on if you turn the switch of and on. The car has been to 3 dealerships, the lights have always came on for the techs. I filed a complaint with the company, then researched the problem. I found over 2000 similar complaints. Apparently this Agency decided that your headlights going out is not a safety issue. When they went out on a foggy mountain road 11-27-12 everyone around us thought differently. My 65 year old wife was driving and was crying before we got off of the mountain. The Prius has been a great car. Toyota has not been honest or responsible. We are trying to get the car fixed so someone else does not get our problem. Either way this car is gone.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #293

Oct 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 47,000 miles
The non hid headlights on my car intermittently turn off. I've had both headlights go out twice while I was driving after dark - I have no idea how many times it might happen during the day. I've had at one headlight go out as well once, perhaps twice. I've switched the lights off and then back on again and that fixes the problem...until it happens again. I'm very hesitant now to drive this car after dark for fear that something will happen again.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #292

Nov 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


Vehicle headlights dim as well as interior, nearly causing a critical accident as driver 's vision, headlights were not providing adequate lighting to make turn at night. This problem continues to-date and am afraid that if Toyota is not held accountable for their defective product or a recall is not conducted we are driving in an unsafe vehicle. Please advise as we cannot afford to buy new or different car.( or a repair of 1700$ this is a safety hazard to us and others please do something to protect the public and us.my understanding is that you are responsible for vehicle, passer safety and there fore our safety is in your hands I acn be reached at[xxx] additional information or assistance please keep us and others safe. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Holbrook , MA, USA

problem #291

Jun 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that when driving at night hours the headlights would go out intermittently. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis. The technician stated that the bulbs and the light fixture needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired for the bulbs and one side for the light fixture. After having the repairs the bulbs failed approximately 3 months later. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 6,000 and the current mileage was approximately 132,000. Updated 2/19/13 within the first year of owning the vehicle, the headlamp went out. Approximately every 3-5 months, the alternate headlamp would go out. This has gone on to date. Occasionally, a lamp would come back on again for a day or two, then go out for good. So, they were not necessarily burning out, but malfunctioning. After the warranty expired, the dealer charged the consumer $200 to replace the bulb, insisting it could not be done by the her. At the next occurrence, they charged her $145 and at the third occurrence, the consumer demanded they be responsible for the cost. The consumer then contacted Toyota and was informed, the bulb could changed by her. The consumer had her son changed the bulb and two weeks later, the other bulb went out. Updated 02/05/13

- West Salem, OH, USA

problem #290

May 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Multiple occurrences over the past 3 years of headlights (one or at times both) going out unexpectedly without warning. You go into partial lighting or total darkness. After a few minutes you can turn the headlights back on and they may stay lit for few minutes or several hours. I have had dealerships look at the car and say that it is just the bulbs failing (bulbs that are suppose to last 10 times longer than conventional bulbs). The car is now 4 years old and I have had to replace the bulbs yearly. Dealership costs that was originally $350 plus installation per bulb. Toyota has now dropped their price to $150 per bulb. Aftermarket bulbs now available but you still only get a life of 7 months to a year per bulb lots of talk from dealers but no solution. I went to after market bulbs thinking that the problem was Toyota bulbs. The same problem occurs. The problem is not the bulbs, the problem is in the vehicle wiring. This is a severe problem that must be looked into in that it putting a lot of Prius owners along with others on the highway at risk.

- South Jordan, UT, USA

problem #289

Oct 172012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 124,157 miles
When the headlights are first turned on, both work. In a few minutes the driver's side hid light dims and then goes out. This happens repeatedly. If I turn the lights off and then turn them on again, the same thing happens, both are lit, the driver's side dims and then goes out again in a few minutes.

- Statesboro, GA, USA

problem #288

Sep 112012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius. The right hid headlight turns off intermittently without warning. When I turn off the lights and turn them back on, the headlight lights up again but sometimes turns off a few minutes later. I paid over $500 to replace both lights, but the problem is still occurring. I contacted the dealer and they said they can't help me, other than to replace the entire headlight system, presumably at a cost of a few thousand dollars. I notified the manufacturer and they told me to contact a local dealer. I believe this to be a manufacturer defect that should be recalled and corrected by the manufacturer. This is a serious problem that can cause injury to me and others on the road.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #287

Nov 022011


  • 95,000 miles
I have had a recurring problem with the hid headlamps on my 08 Prius. I have replaced one ECM module in the light do to moisture from an improperly sealed headlamp unit. Since that time the same headlamp has begun to flicker on and off, working about 90% of the time in the beginning and now only working about 10% of the time. I thought that it might be related to the ECM that was replaced but just the other day the other headlamp began to flicker on and off as well. There are an abundance of Prius owners who are blogging and commenting on forums about having the same problem. One website prompts users to report this incident to your site so that this safety problem will be resolved.

- Salem, OR, USA

problem #286

Oct 272012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
The front headlights intermittently shut off. Sometimes it's the left and or right headlight separately and sometimes they shut off together. If I toggle the lights on and off, they may or may not turn back on. It was very dangerous driving at night on the highway.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #285

Oct 042011


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the headlights malfunctioned. The contact mentioned that the lights would flicker and if she would turn them off completely, they would resume normal function. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated that the headlights needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown and the current mileage was 75,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #284

Oct 152010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
In September, 2010, I purchased a 2008 Prius from power Toyota of tempe, Arizona. When I made the purchase, the car had just over 55,000 miles on it. Shortly afterward, I noticed that the passenger side headlight would periodically go out, and I would have to turn the lights off and on again in order to have it come back on. A month or so into my ownership, I received a notice from Toyota, concerning a recall that perfectly described the problem I was having. I called power Toyota, gave them my information, and advised I wanted to bring my car in for the recall work. They made the appointment. When I brought the car in, I was told I was ineligible for the work, because my car had more than 55K miles on it, and all they would be doing was changing the bulb. They wanted to charge me over 300 dollars for recall work, because they were too cheap or lazy to fix what was a known issue before selling me the car. I am writing to find out what recourse I have. I understand that time has passed, but I am still experiencing the same issue. If it were as simple as the bulb, it certainly would have burned out by now. I reuse to pay hundreds of dollars for something that was supposed to either be fixed before I bought the car, or once the I received the recall notice. The 55,000 mile requirement seems like an unfairly arbitrary limit, and I disagree with it. Please advise how I can get the original recall honored.

- Maricopa, AZ, USA

problem #283

Oct 252012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 56,700 miles
While driving at any speed, the hid headlights intermittently cut off. This usually happens one at a time, and mostly on the passengers side. I am unable to tell when they go off until either I get pulled over and warned which has happened once already or I pull up and see reflection off back of another car. The lights will work for short periods then off again then on again. This appears to be a known issue with this make/model and the manufacturer (Toyota) is not taking responsibility and charging upwards of $600 for repair. In my opinion this is a big safety issue which I believe Toyota should take responsibility for an obvious defect. I have also read this has occurred to many owners of this vehicle. After a further lengthy research my understanding is there is actually a class action lawsuit for this, of which I would rather see the NHTSA take action and have Toyota make good on these defects, and recall to resolve this problem. Thank you

- Land O Lakes, FL, USA

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