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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,330 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.

2004 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2004 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 5 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #73

May 182010


  • 108,000 miles


I got my 2004 Prius in Nov 2003. My drivers side headlight failed last year and I was charged at least $200 to replace last year. The same headlight failed about a month or so ago, and I do not have $200+ to get the bulb replaced. I've been unable to do this myself as have many other Prius owners.

- Peyton, CO, USA

problem #72

Jul 032010


  • 104,204 miles
Major problem with the vehicle's headlights. They intermittently turn themselves off without any warning. Tried replacing them per the manual instructions but the installed lamps are different than the manual, so replacing them is not an option. I consider this a major safety defect. These lamps are supposed to last the life of the car. Any headlamp that stops working without warning is a safety issue. I have never heard of this happening before with any car. You can make the light come back on by turning all the lights off and then on again. This defect is going to cause a major accident and folks are going to get hurt or worse.

- Lake Bluff, IL, USA

problem #71

Feb 202010


  • 121,000 miles
My complaint has to do with the high energy discharge (xenon) headlights on my 2004 Toyota Prius. Beginning sometime in February 2010 my wife and I began to notice that the drivers side headlight would shut down after the lights had been on for a few minutes. If the headlights were quickly turned off and then back on (say, while stopped at a traffic light), both headlights would work just fine for a while. I tried to replace the bulbs (D2R type xenon bulbs) which I purchased at a local car parts store for approximately $90 each. After trying to follow the instructions for replacing the bulbs (found in the owners manual), I was unable to open the bulb holders. When I had the car at the dealership (capitol Toyota) for service in late April 2010, I asked if they could fix the headlights. The service rep told me that mere diagnosis of the problem would cost $600, with any ballast or bulb replacement added to that cost. I have never paid more than about $40 to replace both of my vehicle headlights prior to this. I appreciate that these bulbs should cost more than halogen or other types, but the costs I'm encountering are outlandish. In the mean time, we are still driving the car with the problem. Headlights work for five to 10 minutes, and then one, and now, sometimes the other headlight will shut down. Recently, our daughter arrived back from a brief trip complaining that the headlights were very dim. I found out that neither headlight was working - the only lights on the front of the car were the fog lamps. We now do not drive this car at night, and wonder how we will fix this problem.

- Hixson, TN, USA

problem #70

Jun 282010


  • 82,000 miles


Intermittent headlight failure on my 2004 Toyota Prius. It first happened around 67,000 miles when both headlights went out at once (at night!). flicking the switch did make them come back on. After that, the failure has been increasing, mainly with the passenger side headlight. Turning the switch no longer always works to turn the light back on. I can;T always tell that it is off if they are on for me to me seen (such as in rain) rather than to allow me to see. This is incredibly dangerous. I can;T drive the car at night reliably now and what about in rain (which is not as easily predictable as "day/night")? this is clearly not a rare occurrence. Toyota needs to step up here. By the way, I've already had to spend $800 to fix my multifunction display which failure is also well documented.

- Clifton, VA, USA

problem #69

Jun 052010


  • 81 miles
The headlights on our 2004 Prius (80,000 miles) have gone on and off intermittently over the past few years. However, it was not until Saturday night while we were on the freeway when both lights went out simultaneously. We were told by the dealer that this happens quite often and the a new bulb would fix the problem. At $800 to replace a defective part, I think this is excessive and unnecessary.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

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problem #68

Mar 012010


  • 87,000 miles
High intensity discharge (hid) headlights "wink" off & on randomly, which causes a serious safety/visibility problem in the dark. I understand you opened an investigation on this issue a while ago but then closed it without a finding of a safety defect. Please reopen it again. There is a continuously growing body of reports of this issue with the Toyota Prius. Go to and search for the hid headlight thread to see what I mean. Many owners have had to pay $500 to $1000 out of pocket to Toyota dealers to fix this problem. In some cases, the problem has recurred a few months later. Please ask Toyota to issue a safety recall of Prius models affected by this issue. I hope you can get Toyota to do this before someone dies because of this problem. Otherwise, you will have a situation similar to the "unintended acceleration" problem which has killed a number of people. Thanks for your help!

- Rancho St Marg, CA, USA

problem #67

Mar 102010


  • 122,300 miles


My 2004 Toyota Prius has hid headlights and they have become almost completely fogged over in spite of my best efforts to clean them. The problem seems to be the inside of the lamp, which can't be cleaned. Toyota wants $355 per headlight to replace the part + labor. This has become a safety issue and none of my other cars has had this problem.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #66

Nov 032009


  • 145,000 miles
Last fall the left headlight was noticed to be out on my 2004 Toyota Prius by a neighbor when I came home one night in November, 2009. Made an appointment to get it fixed at my Toyota dealer, but then it came on the next day. When I canceled the appointment with the dealer they mentioned to watch it, since the headlights were known to go on and off. We left within the next couple of days for a vacation drive from md to nc. Headlight stayed on until we were in nc. Went to a Toyota dealer and was told it would be $900 to replace the headlight since the computer behind the light had to be replaced as well. At that outrageous price - for just one headlight - we did not get it fixed. The headlight then stayed on most of the rest of the trip, but periodically goes off. This is a safety issue and it should certainly not cost almost a thousand dollars to fix a headlight.

- Vienna, MD, USA

problem #65

Mar 102009


  • 126,000 miles
The headlights on my 2004 Prius intermittently go off. It is corrected by turning the switch off, then back on.

- Moraga, CA, USA

problem #64

Feb 142010


  • 13,000 miles
I have a serious problem with my hid headlights not working and has caused me to not be able to drive the vehicle at night. The problem is that either the right or left headlight will stop working. If you stop and turn the headlights off & on the lights will function again. I live in a small town and have been stopped by the police 3 times. Toyota wants over $2000 to change the hid computer and bulbs which I simply cannot afford. I searched the web and see hundreds of similar complaints. I believe that Toyota needs to recall the Prius for the headlight problem.

- South Beach, OR, USA

problem #63

Jan 102009


  • 165,000 miles


Headlights, one or both, turn off without warning and the only way to get them to come back on is to turn them off and then back on.

- Canyon Country, CA, USA

problem #62

Mar 152009


  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Prius and the headlights go off without warning and this happens a lot. If I turn the switch to off and then back on the lights will work again but sometimes they go off again after a few minutes. This is very dangerous.

- Fortson, GA, USA

problem #61

Jan 292010


  • miles
This is an update to the complaint I filed on 2008/10/14, ODI 10253642 about Prius hid headlight failure. Since that incident I have had the driver and passenger side bulbs replaced four times and swapped left-for-right for diagnosis twice. Even with those new bulbs, which my dublin, ca, Toyota dealer swears are the newer, "good" bulbs, the headlights always have failed again within one to four weeks. Actually, those are the intervals at which I have *noticed* the failures, but I'm sure the bulbs failed sooner than that, because sometimes it's hard to tell while driving, and the lights always relight when switched off and on. There would have been even more replacements and failures, but I have delayed taking the car in for repair until I could drive into the dealership while the light was out, as proof that it has failed. It's obvious to me and every other Prius owner that the bulbs are either not the problem or at least not the only problem--the electronic control module undoubtedly also or instead is faulty. Toyota corporate continues to refuse to acknowledge the severity, persistence, and breadth of the problem. Yesterday the dealer repeated the left-for-right swap because "Toyota corporate demands that diagnostic procedure." But the dealer admitted that no more information will be gained than was gained the last time they swapped left for right, when the light worked there at the dealer, but failed on me subsequently (the same-side headlight with the swapped bulb). They are simply avoiding the expense and liability of replacing the control computer.

- Pleasanton, CA, USA

problem #60

Nov 241998


  • 119,395 miles
Driver-side hid headlight turns itself off at brief intervals. Turning headlight switch off and on restores it, without fail. Situation remained stable for over a year, Nov. 2008 to Jan. 2010. Light turns out whether vehicle is moving or stationary. Replacing lamp did not fix the problem -- in fact, new bulb turns off more than once a minute, while old bulb turned off about every 10 minutes.

- Auburn, NY, USA

problem #59

Feb 072010


  • 95,000 miles
My hid headlamp for my 2004 Prius is nearly impossible to change on my own and it costs $600 (!?) to change at the dealer. How is a $600 repair for a minor thing like a headlight not illegal from an auto safety standpoint" do you know if there is a class action lawsuit about this issue"

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #58

Sep 252009


  • 95,000 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Prius with hid headlights. A few months ago I was driving at night and the headlights cut off completely. It was 11:30pm on a foggy, drizzly night, and suddenly I was driving 70 mph in pitch darkness. I was able to get them to come back on and drive home slowly. I took the car to the Toyota dealer, where they replaced the headlights for $990. A few weeks later the same thing happened, headlights cut out at night. I took the car back to the dealer, where they kept it for several days. They then returned the car, assuring me that the problem was solved. Since that time the driver's side headlight has gone out several times.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #57

Jan 302010


  • 104,000 miles
Hid headlamps repeatedly flicker, then go out. Switching off lights and switching back on brings them back on for an intermittent period of time, then they go out again. I have had to replace both front headlamps at considerable expense. The most recent cost $436 for the lamp alone and $137 in labor.

- Calabasas, CA, USA

problem #56

Dec 302009


  • 110,500 miles
Hid headlights on 2004 Toyota Prius go out intermittently while driving without any warning. Turning switch on/off will turn them back on. Both have gone out creating extremely dangerous situation.

- Nashua, NH, USA

problem #55

May 022009


  • 64,000 miles
This is a serious defect! lights can go out at anytime. We currently do not drive this car at night. This has been an ongoing problem for seven months. Multiple intermittent headlight failures leading up to headlight replacements for passenger and driverside. The passenger side failed first (01/2009) and on average would fail 1-2 times per week. Driver side failed for the first time this month (01/2010) and has only failed one time to date 01/16/2010. Now one year later the passenger side has stated to fail again. All failures are similar in nature in that they will come back on typically after the car has been turned off for a period of time. However on occasion they may come back on by themselves. My brother and I have replaced the passenger side (2 hour process) and am in the process of purchasing two new bulbs from a local auto parts store. $150 ea vs Toyota $325 ea and does not include installation labor. The average guy should not attempt this bulb replacement it is difficult. I still have the factory original bulb that we replaced. D2R 35W hid my platinum ext warranty ($1400 from dealer) does not cover light bulbs.

- Onalaska, WI, USA

problem #54

Aug 012009


  • 90,000 miles
Headlights on my 2004 Toyota Prius go off while driving. They come back on when I notice and turn them off and on again. This is a safety hazard.

- Columbia, MD, USA

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