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 21 of 25)

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problem #82

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 #81

Aug 012009


  • 42,000 miles
Toyota Prius hid headlight unexpectedly turns off. Car only has 42,000 miles on it. This is second headlight to go through this problem. First occurred at about 15,000 miles. Replacement costs upwards of $300+. first light was covered under warranty. Second, the dealer simply told me to "pinch pennies."

- Caledonia, MI, USA

problem #80

Nov 202008


  • 31,000 miles
2008 Toyota Prius (non-touring) -- hid headlamp auto turn off noticed that upon arrival at home one evening from work, that only my passenger headlamp was working. However I went to replace the bulb the following weekend, the driver bulb was clearly on and working properly. Since then and in seemingly increasing frequency, I have been keeping notice of this matter and it has now gotten to the point where the driver hid headlamp turns off at least every other trip home from work during the evening. Turning all lights off and immediately back on corrects the issue unless done too fast. And after doing so the driver side is not as bright for some 5-10 minute period of time. However, after the hids have been off over night and during most of the day (while parked) they both turn on and appear to be at nearly the same brightness until the driver hid headlamp just up and turns off when it wants to. The turn off is rarely associated with a major bump or other road obstruction but the lamp rarely stays on when encountering such things (rocks, bumps, chipped road surface, etc), but in general it just turns off when it wants to without any detectable reason. First noticed on or around Nov 20, 2008 but in the past year the problem has grown in frequency to maybe once every 4-5 weeks to now once every 2-3 days. I travel approx. 65 miles eachday round trip to work and it is generally dusk or nightfall when I return home.

- Saint Peters, MO, USA

problem #79

Dec 092009


  • miles


Led brake tail lights too bright. Blind driver behind vehicle at night.

- Antioch, CA, USA

problem #78

Dec 072009


  • 49,100 miles
The headlights on my 2008 Toyota Prius went out while driving at night in a very rural setting! I was able to turn them back on by turning off/on the headlight switch. Yet, only one or both lights would come on. As my car has 49,000 miles in less than 2 years, it is out of warranty. I took it to the dealership and was told that the bulbs had a short in them. Yet I thought the bulbs were to be longlasting? also, it was a safety factor that they both went out at night! I have seen other reports on blogs that this has happened to others. Can you help before someone gets hurt! finally, the repair cost for the lights was enormous! it was $254 per light to be fixed! I am just blessed that this did not occur in a busy intersection or with oncoming traffic!

- Amelia, VA, USA

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problem #77

Oct 282009


  • 59,000 miles
I was driving my 2008 Toyota Prius on the highway at night, and both headlights suddenly cut out. I immediately pulled over, put the car in park, and flipped the head light switch back and forth. In doing this, both lights came back on and remained on for the remainder of my trip. The following day the driver's side light went out, but came back on after I flipped the headlight switch back and forth. The car continues to have this same headlight issue on a daily basis, though it is typically the driver's side headlight that goes out. I first contacted the dealership, and they encouraged me to merely change the bulb. However, I investigated the problem further, and contacted Toyota directly. They confirmed that they have had other cars with the same issue, and that the light will actually burn so hot, that a mechanism shuts them down, so that it doesn't burn up a sensor. They went on to say that they have issued a technical service bulletin because the bulbs should last longer, however they do not plan to issue a recall at this time.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #76

Nov 282009


  • 40,000 miles


Drivers side headlight failed. Did not work at all after turning headlights on and off. I was traveling for work (about 2000 miles of driving over 4 days) and did not have time to either repair the problem myself or take it to the dealer. During the 4 days of driving with one headlight, I noticed the passenger's side headlight failing as well, intermittently, leaving me with no headlights. If I turned the lights off then back on, the passenger side worked, but the drivers side still didn't. the passenger side light would stay on for hours after cycling the power, so it seems to me like a random intermittent problem, not due to overheating or bulb life.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #75

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 #74

Oct 092009


  • 22,300 miles
Off and on high intensity discharge headlights on 2008 Prius with nearly 23,000 miles. Since October 2009 my right side hid headlight intermittently turns off. To get the headlight working again I have to pull over, turn the car off, wait a minute, then turn the car back on. Once the light is on again, sometimes it will stay on for the remainder of my trip and other times it will go out again. This is dangerous, especially at night. This is definitely a safety issue.

- Bellmore, NY, USA

problem #73

Nov 172009


  • miles
I own a 2008 Prius purchased new. I have the hid headlights. The car has 49,000 miles. The headlights go out and will come back on sometime on their own or by turning the lights off and back on. This is very dangerous. I do not think it is the bulbs that are bad due to the come back on. I went online and found that this problem is happening to alot of Prius owners and the outrageous prices that dealers are charging to replace the bulbs just for it to recur.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #72

Nov 042009


  • 30,000 miles


2008 Toyota Prius headlights: The driver side headlight goes out unexpectedly. If the lights are turned off and back on the headlight comes back on. This occurs with both low- and high-beam operation. The problem is intermittent and very dangerous. I took the vehicle to a repair shop to diagnose the problem and they said the lights worked fine for them and they couldn't replicate it. They checked the connections thinking that may have been an issue. The problem has gotten worse. I had an occasion driving to work along a very dark rural section of open road where there are large herds of deer and elk often jumping the fence and wandering close to the road. On one occasion my lights went out and I had to turn the lights off and on again while also trying to slow down without causing an incident. Upon the lights coming back on I immediately saw several deer that had wandered out of the growth by the side of the road and into my path no more than a 100ft in front of me. I had to brake very hard to avoid them. Without adequate lighting if I had tried to pull off to the side of the road in a controlled manner I would have likely driven right into the deer. This caused an extremely dangerous situation that could have been a lot worse. I am now furious at the quoted cost to replace the bulbs. But, I have no option but to shell out the money to replace them. I'm even more furious that Toyota seems to be ignoring the problem in the hope it will go away. I regard this as a huge safety issue that I believe Toyota should address with a recall to fix the obvious defect in the Prius lighting system. This problem detracts from an otherwise excellent car.

- Farmington, UT, USA

problem #71

Nov 112003


  • 21,692 miles
Off and on high intensity discharge headlights 2008 Prius 15 months old, 22,800 miles. Randomly go off making driving at night hazardous. Replacement price over 500 dollars! no accident yet.

- Roseburg, OR, USA

problem #70

Nov 072009


  • 28,000 miles
I drive my car and the driver side headlight goes off. I can switch the light on and off and it will come on for a few minutes to a little while and then go back off. It happens all the time. Replaced the bulb and check the fuses.

- Midland, GA, USA

problem #69

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 #68

Nov 012009


  • 23,210 miles
Driver's side hid headlight spontaneously failed, both high and low beams, was able to continue driving with only passenger-side headlights but was concerned they might fail as well. Car is less than 2 years old; dealer covered replacement under standard Toyota Prius warranty.

- Roslyn, NY, USA

problem #67

Nov 082009


  • 16,000 miles
A recall is necessary on this Prius headlight issue. They are continuing to fail right and left and the dealerships are ripping people off to the tune of over $300 to change a headlamp. They fail at less then 16K miles either totally or by intermittently going on and off.

- Auora , CO, USA

problem #66

Oct 292009


  • 15,000 miles
Hid headlights on 2008 Toyota Prius began to dim suddenly and stay dim. Flashing lights on and off temporarily brighten the lights but they become dim again. Happens constantly.

- Rock Island , IL, USA

problem #65

Nov 022009


  • 56,000 miles
Both headlights on our 2008 Prius began flickering on and off, and ultimately would flicker off at night leaving us with no lights. If we turned the lights off and then on again, the lights would work for a few minutes then turn off again. The car was only two years old. When we took the car to the dealership, we were told we would need to replace both bulbs at a cost to us of over 600 dollars. Toyota dealership replaced both lights, the next day the passenger hid headlight was already out again, so we took the car back, and they said the brand new bulb must have been defective. I don't believe them, it seems obvious there is a problem with these hid lights.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #64

Nov 022009


  • 42,000 miles
Left front headlight on 2008 Toyota Prius keeps going off.

- Dunwoody, GA, USA

problem #63

Oct 262009


  • 56,000 miles
Both headlights on our 2008 Prius began flickering on and off, and ultimately would flicker off at night leaving us with no lights. If we turned the lights off and then on again, the lights would work for a few minutes then turn off again. The car was only two years old. When we took the car to the dealership, we were told we would need to replace both bulbs at a cost to us of over 600 dollars.

- Sterling, VA, USA

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