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 20 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #102

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 #101

Feb 052010


  • 55,000 miles
To whom it may concern, I am writing to file a complaint about the short lifespan of the hid headlights of my 2008 Toyota Prius. After less than a little over two years both headlights require replacement as they have been shutting off while driving on the interstate/surface streets resulting in being pulled over by the highway patrol and local police departments. The failure of the hid headlights represents a serious safety issue for both myself/passengers in my vehicle and surrounding cars driving next to me on the road. For such an expensive vehicle (over 28K sticker) - the headlights should have a longer lifespan than a little over two years. I have brought my vehicle back to the dealership and have been informed that each headlight costs near $200/each and would require an hour and a half labor to replace them as the front bumper needs to be removed to replace the headlights bringing the total replacement cost to near $600. For a company that touts having such high quality and being so eco-friendly - you would think that they would use parts that lasted much longer and were not so expensive to replace? it is nonsensical that Toyota has designed a car with headlights that require professional installation and cost near $600 to replace. The short lifespan and expense of the hid headlight replacement should be enough to warrant an investigation. Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

- Cave Creek, AZ, USA

problem #100

Feb 042010


  • 45,000 miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius, touring edition with hid headlights: The passenger-side headlamp goes out intermittently after initial ignition at start. Turning off the headlamps momentarily will restore illumination, but it will again malfunction after 20 minutes or so. Other exterior lamps will also shut off momentarily without indication or reason. Toyota refuses to admit their defect, which could prove very dangerous.

- Jackskonville, FL, USA

problem #99

Feb 032010


  • 51,000 miles


I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in Oct. 2007 with hid headlights. It is currently 28 months old and has 51K miles. The hid passenger headlight just prematurely burned out and I must have it repaired in order to safely (and legally) drive at night. This is a known Toyota defect that needs action to correct.

- Ramona, CA, USA

problem #98

Jan 052010


  • 46,000 miles
I purchased a new 2008 Toyota Prius in June 2008 and had several major issues with the auto. Currently, I have a problem with my headlights. They flicker and now the driver side headlight does not stay lit. Initially, Toyota said that I would have to pay for the repair because although I have only had the car for approx 19 months, I have exceeded the 36000 mile warranty. They wanted almost $300 to change a light bulb! I complained and was told to call their 800 number by a repair tech at the dealership. I did. Meanwhile, the dealer offered to do the job for 1/2 price. I said that I would like to think about it and was then contacted by Toyota of N.a. concerning my call made to them. They knew about the dealer offer and asked if I was happy with that offer. I told them that I believed the repair S/B done for free. They then told me that the 1/2 price offer ┐could┐ be retracted if I wasn't happy with it. Toyota wasn't going to waste "good will" money on a customer that still wasn't happy with their offer. I indicated at that time that I wanted to think about it but when I called the dealer the next day, I was told that the offer had been retracted due to a call from Toyota N.a.. I never indicated to them that I wasn't going to take the offer but I do believe Toyota has a serious defect with the electrical system on 2006 ┐ 2009 Prius cars. I have researched the issue and found numerous owners with the same defect! I also have direct knowledge of a Prius car with defective headlights that have failed twice in the 1st two years of ownership with as little as 45,000 miles on the car! that Prius is on it third set of headlights!

- Warrenton, VA, USA

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problem #97

Jan 022010


  • 30,000 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota Prius. Given the already many complaints, I would like to add my comments on this Prius. First this car is very unsafe due to poor visibility. You can not see out of this car. Second, I had the headlight failures that these cars have. I have had both headlights replaced in this car. The headlights would go out while driving in the dark. Many times I had to turn the switch off and back on while driving in the dark to get the headlights to come back on. This is not safe and many, many Prius's have this problem. The dealer replaced the headlights but not without a struggle on my part. Last point I would like to make is that this 2008 Prius has the same exact issues with brakes and stopping that the 2010 does according the accounts I have read. For example, I went over a railroad track recently which when it hits an uneven surface it is very hard to stop! I almost hit a car that was turning just past these tracks because it feels like the car does not have a good "grip" to the road. It happens also with even a small cluster of small pot holes. This car is not safe in my opinion. I do not understand how the headlights alone did not make a recall. It is an ongoing unsafe situation. The car not stopping however is something that needs to be recalled and not just limited to the 2010 Prius.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #96

Nov 172009


  • 50,000 miles


Headlights on Toyota Prius 2008 started dimming and going out intermittently at 50,000 miles. Lights will go back on when turned off and then back on again. I have been stopped 3 times by the police for a headlight out and been let go with a warning. In addition, the ABS system activates for no reason on dry roads and brakes are slow to engage.

- Chatham, MA, USA

problem #95

Oct 062009


  • 36,600 miles
The hid lamps in my 2008 Toyota Prius began flickering about 4 months ago. After being pulled over by an officer for an out headlight, I noticed the headlight would shut off at random times. The problem has only increased in frequency. One of the headlights now goes out about every 20 minutes; a couple of times they both have shut off at the same time. I keep my lights off during the day, but this has not helped the problem. I was lucky to not get a ticket from the officer, and even luckier to not wreck on the pitch black road when they both shut off at the same time.

- Athens, AL, USA

problem #94

Jan 182010


  • 40,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius with hid headlamps that flicker and impossible to replace. The cost to replace is prohibitively expensive. The owners manual incorrectly depict headlamp replacement. Generally this is a major repair and not a maintenance issue.

- Troy, NY, USA

problem #93

Dec 242009


  • 36,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Prius. The hid bulbs did not last over a year.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #92

Jan 252010


  • 45,000 miles


2008 Toyota Prius hid headlights failing after 45K miles or 750 hours. Iniitially it was just the drivers side that would just turn off while driving, now it is both headlights at the same time. If they are turned off, you can then turn them both back on but there is no telling when they will shut off again. I called the dealership and was told that I would have to foot the cost of the replacement lights and labor. I have done some further research and found that I am not the only one having this issue. Hid lamps have an average of 2000 service hours. These headlights did not even make it to 50% of the average service life. I am concerned that if I replace these items out of pocket that I will again have to replace them in two years.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #91

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 #90

Jan 172010


  • 36,800 miles
2008 Toyota Prius with hid headlights and 36,800 miles. One or both lights turn off intermittently usually on wet or damp days. Nighttime driving is frightening just waiting for the lights to suddenly go off. This is a well documented safety related defect yet nothing has been done.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #89

Jan 012010


  • miles
I would like my name added to the formal complaints regarding the Toyota Prius headlights. I know that you have many cases on file. I have a 2008 Prius and find it deplorable that the owners have to pay such high prices to have our headlights fixed. This should be a factory warranty recall. It is truly unacceptable. Please push for a recall. In these hard times, it is almost impossible to maintain a vehicle. When you buy a car, you expect that the headlights of all things (especially on a 2008 vehicle) would actually work. Thank you.

- Rocky Point, NY, USA

problem #88

Jan 012010


  • 55,000 miles
Driver-side headlight turns off after driving for a while. It happens consistently. If I turn the lights off and then on again, it'll work for some time and then turn off again. Dealer mentions that they will need to diagnose the problem and will charge about $200 for that.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #87

Jan 122010


  • 66,000 miles
The right headlight was intermittently going off and on. Didn't realize it until stranger pointed it out. I would turn the headlights off and on and the light would turns on again. I tried to use the high beam because I couldn't see road and then both lights went off.it is a very dangerous situation when its night and your far from home. There is no warning lights on car to indicate that the headlights go out. I am at the dealership right now and they have informed me they have to replace both lights at $150 each plus $100 each for installation - totaling $500+. the car has 66K miles. This cost is ridiculous and it is a safety issue not having any headlights.

- Encino, CA, USA

problem #86

Oct 182009


  • 46,400 miles
The right head light will intermittently go out while vehicle is being driven. Turning off the lights completely and then turning them back on will sometime solve the problem and the head lights will work for a while. Driving visibility is greatly affected. Since the problem is intermittent, I never actually know when both my headlights are working properly. And, turning the headlights off and on while driving is not really a safe thing to do.

- Bakersfield, CA, USA

problem #85

Nov 102009


  • 34,000 miles
Under normal driving conditions both the passenger and driver front headlamps have gone out. By switching the light control off and on, then the headlamps come on for 10 - 30 seconds and then go off again. This occurs every time the headlamps are turned on. It is a definite safety issue. I took the Prius into the dealership and was told that the hid mechanism and the lamps needed to be replaced. The original warranty is up, but I have an extended warranty. Even with that, the dealership is charging $300 to fix the problem. I will ask for the old parts.

- West Jordan, UT, USA

problem #84

Dec 302009


  • 37,000 miles
I was driving down the road, and the driver's side headlight suddenly quit working. I turned the lights off and then back on; the headlight began working again. This happened three times in a 10 mile stretch. The following day the same thing happened with the passenger's side headlight. My parking lights have done the same thing as well.

- Bargersville, IN, USA

problem #83

Dec 272009


  • 26,000 miles
My 2008 Toyota Prius headlights stops working all of a sudden without any warning. If I turn off and turn on the lights again, they work fine for few minutes and suddenly stop working again. Since the lights stops working randomly, this is very dangerous while driving alone in remote roads that do not have adequate street lighting. I request NHTSA to investigate into this promptly.

- Issaquah, WA, USA

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