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 16 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #182

Oct 142010


  • 70,200 miles


The driver side hid headlight on my 2008 Prius began flickering at 70,000 miles. The flicker would begin after 15 min of driving and then headlight would go out. Passenger side headlight was fine. I ordered a replacement bulb from internet because repair cost through dealer was over $200. I was driving home at night last Thursday and suddenly both headlights went out. There was never any flicker with passenger side headlight. I was plunged into complete darkness driving 55 mph on a dark country road. It was scary. I have never had a car do this. Dealer ship advises it will be nearly $500 to repair both headlights which I can not afford. I ordered another bulb through internet. I will not be able to drive my car at night until bulbs are replaced.

- Perry, MI, USA

problem #181

Aug 152010


  • 42,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius headlamp on the passenger side fails intermittently while driving at night. Sometimes turning the lights off and back on solves the problem although this is not good to do at night. This seems like a safety issue that Toyota should have a recall on, but Toyota does not. They recommend a $300 replacement of both bulbs. I am worried that if both bulbs fail there will be a wreck. It seems like there are many complaints about this problem online that Toyota does not admit having a problem with.

- Lexington, KY, USA

problem #180

Sep 062010


  • 15,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving 35 mph at night, both headlights flickered on and off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer but the failure could not be duplicated. The contact called the manufacturer who stated that they offer no assistance if the dealer could not duplicate the problem. The failure mileage was 15,000.

- Richmaind, KY, USA

problem #179

May 042010


  • 35,000 miles


My 2008 Toyota Prius had a problem around May 2009 with it's hid headlamp - the headlamp will turn off without warning while I am driving the car - Toyota replaced the passenger side hid headlamp. Same problem I am experiencing with the driver side hid headlamp - light turns off while driving the Prius.

- Monroe, NJ, USA

problem #178

Apr 112008


  • 26,000 miles
Toyota Prius headlights flicker and go out intermittently every time the headlights are on since April of 2008 and when taken to the dealership for a repair, dealer informed me that there was nothing diagnostically wrong with my lights.

- Richmond, KY, USA

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problem #177

Dec 102009


  • 40,000 miles
Toyota Prius headlights intermittently fail. When driving with the headlights on, one or both headlights will fail. Upon turning the lights off and back on using the headlight switch on the turn signal handle, the light(s) will come back on. The issue began in late 2009 and has continued to occur about 50% of the time when the car is used at night. It is usually limited to one headlight or the other and failure of both lights at the same time has only been seen once. Toyota customer support has stated to myself (and other owners) that the issue is "premature failure" of the hid (high-intensity discharge) headlights installed on 2006 - 2008 model priuses. They are aware of the issue and are offering "discounted" lights for only $150 each, with no discount offered for the labor-intensive process of replacing the lamps, which requires removal of the bumper. The vehicle is not compatible with any other type of bulb (such as the halogen bulbs that are standard on the newer Prius models), so owners are forced to pay Toyota an incredibly high fee (even after the discount) to get their cars safely back on the road. I have not had the issue resolved because of the high cost. This issue has been observed and documented by hundreds of owners on the priuschat.com forum and hundreds or thousands more on other websites. Previous NHTSA investigation documented that this problem may have been present in as many as 100,000 vehicles. This is a safety issue that needs to be dealt with by the manufacturer. The issue is apparently resolved in 2009 and later models because the hid lamps were replaced with halogen, but the danger of headlight failure on earlier models will remain high until Toyota makes the earlier models compatible with more reliable headlights. All of this assumes Toyota is being forthright in their claim that the hid bulbs are the culprit. If there is a bigger issue, consumers should obviously be made aware of that, as well.

- Erie, CO, USA

problem #176

Sep 172010


  • 43,754 miles


I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in Feb. 2008. It has the xenon high-intensity discharge (hid) headlights. In Oct. 2009, the drivers side headlight went out and I took it to my dealer who replaced the bulb and computer sub-assy all under warranty. Dealer said good thing under warranty as bulb alone cost $300 (I was shocked). Dealer said bulb should not have gone out that quick (I have never had a vehicle have a bulb go out that quick. My mom has a Tahoe that is 10 yrs old, leaves lights on all the time when driving and has never had to replace the bulb). They replaced computer sub-assy as well to be safe. Weekend of Sept 17, 2010, passenger light started flickering and would be out sometimes and sometimes not. I took to dealer on 9/27/10 and had to have that bulb replaced. Car was out of warranty by 7,000 miles so it cost me $216. Thankfully the price of the bulbs had dropped from $300 to $150, though cost still ridiculous. Dealer did not replace computer part this time as they did in Oct. 2009. I got on web and noticed others have had this problem. Headlight bulbs going out in such a short time. I called Toyota, and of course was told nothing they could due since car out of warranty. Said to hold onto paperwork in case there was a recall. Decided to file complaint in hopes gov't will look into this issue that is a problem with a sizable number of Prius owners.

- Prairie Village, KS, USA

problem #175

Sep 252010


  • miles
2008 Prius driver side headlight does not function properly. Bulb has been replaced but the light still works only intermittently.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #174

Sep 232010


  • 55,000 miles
During normal driving, driver's side (hid) headlight begin failing after a few minutes every time the lights were turned on. After a few days, both headlights began to fail after initially turning on. Turning the lights off and back on returns them to operation, but after a few minutes they fail again.

- Bethel Park, PA, USA

problem #173

Sep 242010


  • 42,300 miles
The headlights on our 2008 Toyota Prius turned off suddenly while we are driving after dark on the highway doing 55 mph. The headlights would not come back on. We had to turn on our fog light to get home this is dangerous during night time driving. According to the internet, this headlight failure problem has been reported many times to your Agency.

- Central Lake, MI, USA

problem #172

Sep 062010


  • 21,500 miles


Hid headlamp replacement for the Toyota Prius. After 21,000 the left bulb started to flicker and then goes out. Can be restarted by turning switch off and then on again. Headlights go out with no notice. Could be very dangerous driving at night on a dark road. Dealer wants anywhere from $350 to $1000 to change the lamps. Say the front bumper needs to be removed. Owners manual has instructions but to me not totally accurate. Following the instructions still does not fix the access problem. Bulbs apparently are only available from the Toyota dealer. Price stats at $175. Besides the price of the bulb and the unnecessary labor this is a very unsafe situation on the road should they go out all of a sudden.

- Henderson, NV, USA

problem #171

Sep 042010


  • 56,700 miles
2008 Prius passenger side headlight is intermittent and for no apparent reason goes off for extended periods and then comes back on. I have been stopped and warned by the police regarding this issue but when I try to check it out it seems to work fine. I have tapped the light and wiggled the wires but to no effect. The internet is full of similar complaints which need to be reviewed and resolved by the manufacturer.

- Hoodsport, WA, USA

problem #170

Sep 042010


  • 69,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius high intensity discharge (hid) light flickers and is on intermittently. You never know when it goes out. A call to the local Toyota dealer indicates minimum of $500 to replace 2 headlight bulbs.

- Middletown, VA, USA

problem #169

Jul 202010


  • 47,000 miles
The hid headlamps on the 2008 Toyota Prius keep turning off while I'm driving. Sometimes the left one, sometimes the right one, and sometimes both. I have to turn the headlamp switch off and them back on again to get them the work. Sometimes several times during a 15 min. Trip. My car is only 2 years old with 47,000 miles. I have never had headlamp fail within 2 years. This is very dangerous. These lamps are suppose to last twice as long a regular bulbs and they appear to last half as long. They seem to be over-powered. Got a letter from Toyota that said they would do me a favor and reduce the cost of a new bulb from $300 to $150 (plus labor). The letter also said "try not to use the headlamps". now that is the way to solve a problem. "if the headlamps turn off when you use them, don't use them and they won't turn off!" brilliant!!!"?"

- North Aurora, IL, USA

problem #168

Jul 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 24,700 miles
The headlights on my 2008 Toyota Prius go off intermittently and at random. It is a daily occurrence. Sometimes it is the left sometimes the right. Turning the headlights off and then back on will relight the headlamp that has stopped working. Turning them off and then on while driving is not always easy to do and presents a safety problem since I am temporarily not visible to other drivers. On one occasion while making a left turn on an unlite street both headlamps went off and another vehicle almost hit me because I was not visible. I am not always aware that one of the headlights is out. I took the vehicle to the dealer and was told they did not see any problem with the headlights and I must have imagined it. So, I took video. Now they say I need new bulbs at a cost of just under $400 each. I cannot afford it. This is a factory defect that I was never informed about prior to purchasing the vehicle brand new in September 2007. I have been taken advantage of. I would have never purchased the vehicle had I known or been informed of a problem. There are two additional undiagnosed problems. I am told that none will be covered by the dealership or the manufacturer. The cost of the replacement bulbs (which are also defective) will not be covered, regardless of how often I need to replace them.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #167

Aug 012010


  • 46,000 miles
I have just had my left front headlamp go out on my 2008 Prius. There is 46,000 miles on my car and the cost of replacing one headlamp was $254 with labor charge through the dealership where I bought it. This is ludicrous. I can replace a normal headlamp myself for about $15. According to jd power, the expected lifespan of an hid bulb is "3,000 hours (about 90,000 miles for the average driver.)" I don't see how or why the bulb should cost so much to replace and why Toyota does not cover the bulbs for longer. I purchased an extended warranty, only to find out that the extensions are not covered by Toyota but by the individual dealership.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #166

Aug 282010


  • 37,000 miles
2008 Prius with hid headlights. Driver side headlight goes out after 1-3 minutes. Turning off headlight switch and turning back on restores headlight for another 1-3 minutes.

- Dunsmuir, CA, USA

problem #165

Aug 012010


  • 57,000 miles
The headlight or headlights go out intermittently on my 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid.

- Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #164

Aug 152010


  • 36,000 miles
This car is fairly new and has hid headlights. Last week the right headlight went out. By turning the lights off and on, I was able to get it to come on. I took it to the dealer and they said they checked it out thoroughly and could find no problem. Yesterday, the right headlight was again out, and turning it off and on got it to light up, but dimmer than the left. I believe there is a safety defect in these hid headlights that Toyota is not recognizing.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #163

Aug 152010


  • 43,000 miles
The headlights on my 2008 Toyota Prius just go out randomly. Sometimes it is just the driver side or the passenger side headlight, but at times it has been both. I have to turn the headlights off and then back on to get them to work. But this isn't a permanent solution because it will happen again the next time I start the car. It has even happened 2+ times on the same trip. This is a safety hazard because I generally don't know when one or the other light has turned off unless I happen to see it in the back bumper of the car in front of me. And it would definitely be a hazard if both lights go out and the on/off trick doesn't get them working again. The car is almost 3 yrs old and has 45000 miles. Toyota service department claimed to have not heard of any issues with the lights and I was told they could not see anything wrong and could not replicate the problem while they had my car.

- Houston, TX, USA

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