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 5 of 25)

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problem #402

Jul 182014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 112,011 miles


The headlights intermittently fail - turn off - during driving (without warning). Fortunately, so far only one headlight has failed at once. Toyota is aware of this issue, but so far there haven't been enough problems, apparently, to justify a safety recall. Seems like a very serious thing - and it is just a matter of good fortune on Toyota's part that there have not been fatalities (to my knowledge).

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #401

Mar 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
The driver headlamp turns off after approx 5 minutes of use. Can turn lights off then on again to restart headlamp. I first took to dealer after purchasing used because of this problem and they did not mention what I have recently learned is a known defect. This has been occurring for the last two years. Changing bulb fixes problem for a while but problem re-occurs. This issue is a major safety issue, and Toyota is charging exorbitant rates to replace the headlamps. I am afraid to drive my car at night or for long distances. This problem needs a permanent fix!

- San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #400

Dec 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
Headlights are not reliable.

- Naples, Fl, FL, USA

problem #399

Oct 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Driving up provo canyon at 4:30am and suddenly both headlights completely turned off. I had to come to a complete stop because I had zero visibility. I now have to toggle the headlight switch off and on every couple of minutes in order for the headlights to remain on. There appears to be a short, but from what I have read about this problem, it is a common issue with the 2008 Toyota Prius. The repair costs can be very steep--$800-$1800 dollars to have both headlights replaced and that does not guarantee that the problem will be fixed. Toyota needs to recall the 2008 Prius model and fix the obvious safety related issue with this model! I could have been killed on that early morning drive and now I have to constantly be aware that my headlights will not stay on as they are supposed to do!! it is more than annoying--it is a very severe safety issue that needs to be addressed by the corporation!!

- Highland, UT, USA

problem #398

Dec 172013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
Purchased used in Oct 2013, first had to replace headlight in Dec 2013. Have replaced right headlight 6 times and ballast once. Problem only temporarily resolved. This month headlight went out again. Have replaced ballast and bulb with no success. Headlight will not stay on longer than 30 sec before going back out.

- Colfax, IN, USA

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problem #397

Dec 092014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
The driver's side headlamp has been going off intermittently for many years. Now, both lights go out and I am driving with the fog lights only? very dangerous! if Toyota knows about this, there should be a recall and fix!

- Collier Twp, PA, USA

problem #396

Nov 102014


  • miles


Head lights go out. While driving at night lights went out. Very unsafe.

- Tifton, GA, USA

problem #395

Sep 032012


  • 49,000 miles
Headlights go off suddenly. Sometimes one or the other, some times both.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

problem #394

Nov 122014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 67,201 miles
Was driving in the dark with my brights on and both headlights suddenly went off. Flipped the switch and they came back on. 4/5 minutes later they went completely off again and I had to switch them in the dark. The bulbs are fine. The right headlight has been randomly going on and off again but wasn't a noticeable safety issue. Both lights going off randomly in the pitch dark almost caused me to crash.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #393

Jul 042011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
The headlight on the right side of the car goes out while driving. It comes back on when I turn the headlight off and turn them back on again. The headlight will go off again at different speeds. The headlight may go off multiple times when driving. This is a very large safety concern.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #392

Oct 042010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


We have had problems with passenger side headlight it will go off by its self with out us knowing but we could turn lights off then turn them back on and it will stay on for awhile we had Toyota replace light last year and it was fine for approx. 6 months and then started doin same thing again finally last week it went out and will not come on at all I know of several other Prius owners with same problem would greatly appreciate your help!

- Rougemont, NC, USA

problem #391

Oct 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 50,000 miles
I leave my headlights on all of the time. Sometimes when I am driving my Prius the left headlight will go out. If I turn the headlights off and then back on the light will come back on again. Sometimes restarting the car will make the headlight come on. Also the headlight sometimes is off when the car is started. Same thing, turn headlights off and then on or restart the car and the headlight comes back on. I thought I might need a new headlight but was involved in a car accident (8-13-14) and the headlight was damaged. I now have a new headlight assembly but the problem has returned. The dealer has told me twice (including today) that I need a new headlight. I do not think that is the problem. This is a major concern for me as this frequently occurs when I am traveling on an interstate at a high rate of speed. I will not turn my lights off and back on at 60 mph. Please investigate.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #390

Jun 202014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 161,000 miles
The first time both lights went out, we were traveling South on I-95 near richmond, va. Prior to this, we thought the lights had dimmed a couple times, but when we checked them, they were fine. There is no mistake when you loose both headlights while on high beam, there are no fog lights, so it gets very dark. I think going to low beam gave us some light (the fog lights) but do not remember, I then turned the light switch off and back on immediately, which turned the lights back on. Since that first incident of them both going out, we have seen both the driver's side headlight alone, the passenger side headlight alone, and at least half a dozen times both lights go out at the same time. All but once, turning the light switch off and then on turned the lights back on. The last time both went out, I had to turn the switch off and back on several times to get the lights back on. With a cost of over $200 per light, I decided to change the passenger side light and see if that light would stay on. It made no difference. I found in the user's manual that low voltage could cause the high intensity discharge (hid) lights to go out, so I had aaa check the engine battery. The test showed the battery was good, but it only had 364 cold cranking amps so I had a new battery put in. We were told by two other sources that the right battery had 450 cold crank amps so I thought that might account for the hid light problem. That was just a few days ago, and the passenger side headlight has still gone out several times since the bulb and battery were replaced. So far, we have not had both lights go out again.

- Livingstion, TX, USA

problem #389

Jan 152010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 38,000 miles
While driving down the highway, the left headlight quit working. We took it to the dealer, and it was working fine again. This happened several times over the next few months before the dealership finally admitted that it was a known problem that was going to be handled under recall. I asked that they fix it now, and they advised I would have to pay the cost and then possibly be reimbursed as I was past the 36,000 mile limit for bumper to bumper repairs....a cost of nearly $1,100 to fix 1 headlight on a 2 year old car. I refused, and the intermittent outages continued, and progressively got worse. Then the right headlight started doing the same thing. I am rolling the dice every night I drive the car as I cannot afford to spend $2,000 or more to fix headlights on a car with a known defect that dramatically puts me, my family, and everyone else on the road at risk of catastrophe. Toyota has stated this will not be handled as a recall as it deems it to not be a safety issue as you still have 1 working headlight. That is untrue, as mine have gone out simultaneously several times.

- Beaver Falls, PA, USA

problem #388

May 162014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 115,000 miles
My Toyota Prius has hid headlights. Both the left and right headlights randomly stop working. At times however, both lights go out at the same time while driving. This creates a very dangerous situation while driving at night. The lights will typically come back on if I toggle the lights off and back on. I've read that there was a class action suit against Toyota for this very issue. I contacted a Toyota dealership and they recommended I replace the headlights, at considerable cost. But in my research it seems that the problem persists with many people even after their hid bulbs were replaced. Why there has not been a recall for this baffles me. I'm wondering who had to die before it becomes a national issue.

- Dalton, NY, USA

problem #387

Oct 072014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
On 10/7/14 I arrived home after work and noticed my right headlight was out. It was dark and I don't know when the light failed. Over the next few days, I did not notice the light failing, however, I am very concerned that it will happen again, based on the numerous other complaints filed (and not filed). This is a huge safety concern for me. I live in los angeles and, as my car is black and if my headlights are out I am at risk of being hit in this very congested city.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #386

Sep 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 72,798 miles
I have recently discovered that my headlights do not work consistently. Sometimes the left is out. Sometimes the right. Sometimes neither. It is very scary to think about driving at night when I cannot be confident of the headlights. In trying to learn about this problem I discovered it has been widely reported but there has been no recall. I am extremely concerned as I have to travel a long distance at night. I purchased a Toyota because of it's excellent reputation. Now I'm wondering if my confidence was misplaced.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #385

Jun 182013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 41,400 miles
Starting in June 2013 our Prius headlights would intermittently and unpredictably go out. It's difficult to tell at times but mostly this occurred on the left headlight. In January 2014 the problem was occurring regularly rather than sporadically so I had both hid lights replaced at a cost of $389.30. This seemed to temporarily resolve the problem but it has started again this time with both headlights turning off randomly. This is a definite safety hazard as it requires me to turn the light switch off then back on again to get the lights to turn back on. I have recently had to do this several times on a drive of 10' duration. I have read that this is a problem with many Prius vehicles with the hid lights.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #384

Oct 012013


  • 110,000 miles
Both headlights intermittently fail and recover when switch is cycled. Cannot drive vehicle at night.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #383

Sep 072014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
Driving down the road and the headlights just go out, after flipping the lights off and on, they come back on.

- Swartz Creek, MI, USA

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