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 4 of 25)

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problem #422

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 #421

Oct 082015


  • 79,000 miles
While driving in the early morning before sunrise, several times, the headlights turned off suddenly. Frightening while on the highway. Luckily the lights turned back on. This happened at least 5 different times.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #420

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 #419

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 #418

Jul 262015


  • 84,000 miles
Very dangerous situation...was driving home from the mountins down a windy road and both headlights on my Toyota Prius failed. Brought car into Toyota of manhatten next day and had to have both headlights replaced for $530.$300 for the light bulbs and 230 for labor. Learned online that this is a common failure for 2008 Prius, and that there was a class action lawsuit that was settled too early and does not cover older vehicles with complete light failure.

- New York, NY, USA

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problem #417

Jun 062015


  • 104,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that while driving 60 mph, the head lights suddenly failed to illuminate intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Fredrica, DE, USA

problem #416

Apr 182012


  • 95,000 miles


As I was driving from work at 2:00 a.M., the driver's side headlamp went dark. I'm on a two-lane road, not that heavily traveled when this happened. I was able to rotate the headlamp switch off then back on and the headlight was restored. For the balance of my 60 mile ride, this happened 2 more times. As time progressed the failures happened more often and closer together. Eventually, the lamp wouldn't stay on for more than a minute. I went to an auto parts store to get a replacement bulb and they told me it was a "dealer only" item. I called the dealer and they told me a replacement bulb was $300 and it was $300 to install it. That's preposterous! I found a "youtube" video and purchased a bulb on amazon for $50 and installed it myself. This has happened 3 more times. Toyota knows there's a design or component flaw and they refuse to fix it. Thanks Toyota.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

problem #415

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 #414

Aug 182014


  • 25,870 miles
Vehicle starts, runs for limited time -2-3 mins. Shuts off vehicle starts no electrical visibility on dash.. blank. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility, runs for 3-5 miles, looses electrical visibility. Vehicle starts with electrical visibility runs for 3-4 miles.vehicle stops, shuts off in traffic. Vehicle will not start. Requires jump start, ,. and runs enough to take car to dealer. Vehicle will not start, requires jump start and will not hold charge. Requires towing to dealer. MA 10/8

- Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #413

Jul 102015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 92,146 miles
I've been told a few times I had a headlight out but half the time when I check it, it would be working. It's not just the headlight it's also the parking and front side marker light on the same side. These lights are expensive and should last a lot longer than 90K miles. Seeing how it works intermittently and more than one I don't want to waste money to replace it. If it's going to happen again like most complaints I've read about. I've tried when it was out to turn the lights off and back on. It would work. While you're driving in area with street lights you wouldn't know it's out. There's 1064 complaints at the time I write this. When is Toyota going to step up and correct this failure. Is someone at NHTSA looking into this issue?

- Greendale, IN, USA

problem #412

Jul 032015


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving at approximately 55 mph, the headlights failed without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the concealment devices accumulated moisture, which contributed to the failure. The lights were replaced but the failure recurred. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Enid, OK, USA

problem #411

Feb 232015

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles
Drivers side headlight will dim then go out out after a few seconds of operation. If the lights are turned off and then on again the headlight will work for a few more seconds then dim and go out. The bulb has been changed but that did not resolve the problem. Updated 12/21/2015

- Sunderland, MA, USA

problem #410

Jun 152011


  • 55,781 miles
Almost weekly my passenger side headlight goes very dim or out completely. I know it when I turn right as it is dark as I enter a side street until driver's headlight illuminates area. Bulbs are $ 279 and new ones don't correct it. I keep getting defective equipment tickets as well. Thank you

- Holiday, FL, USA

problem #409

Jun 072015


  • 60,000 miles
I was driving my Toyota 2008 Prius in the pitch black at 70-75 mph in the badlands state park. The headlights turned off spontaneously. I had to make an emergency stop. No headlights!! they eventually turned back on.

- Duluth, MN, USA

problem #408

Jul 102009


  • 26,000 miles
The left headlight goes on and off. This is a recurring problem with 2008 Prius according to other internet sites I have visited. There should have been a recall.

- Durant, OK, USA

problem #407

Apr 082015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 150,777 miles
I bought a used Toyota Prius 2008.right side headlight keeps turning off at night.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #406

Apr 032015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,700 miles
I was traveling on a major highway and all my lights went out. Pitch black. Luckily, there were very few cars on the road. I was able to pull to the side and put my flashers on and use their intermittent flashing to slowly find my way home (about 8 more miles). This could have caused fatalities - my own and others who may have crashed into me. This was a terrible situation and from what I have just researched, it happens with the Prius. Now I have the inconvenience (and expense?) od figuring out how to get this fixed so it will never happen again!!!!

- Winsted, CT, USA

problem #405

Mar 212015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 94,000 miles
The left headlight keeps turning itself off when driving or not. When bumped next to the headlight cover it comes back on. The bulb and connector are fine. This is a safety hazard, that if the right one starts doing the same thin at night, it would put me into a dangerous and life threatening situation. I think Toyota should have a recall on this problem.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #404

Nov 012013


  • miles
Intermittent headlamp failure. Flicking lights on and off will temporarily remedy only to fail again during the same drive. Near accident on pitch black mountain road when both lights failed. Bulbs have been replaced multiple times by dealer and problem continues. I've been pulled over by law enforcement and given warnings. We have two young children and cannot safely drive our car during the night or for travel. There is clearly a problem...why is there no accountability" must there be deaths or injuries to get this resolved"

- Monte Sereno, CA, USA

problem #403

Jan 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Right headlight started working intermittently around 50,000 miles, then finally failed. Replacing the bulb did not fix the problem. Then left headlight completely failed around 63,000 miles. It was definitely annoying to have one functioning headlight, and now it's just plain unsafe not to have any at all.

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

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