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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,779 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.

2005 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2005 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 3 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #246

Apr 022011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 113,585 miles


Our neighbor noticed that our right headlight was out. It proved to be intermittent, going on and off at unpredictable intervals but getting worse with time. We had both headlight bulbs and modules replaced, a procedure that required the removal of the front bumper, among other things, and cost $1,212.98 at an independent garage. We suspected that the cost would have been even higher at a Toyota dealership. Now, beginning on or about October 23, 2014, the same problem has recurred, this time involving the left headlight. Given the high cost of repair and the fact that, obviously, the fix is only temporary, we have not had the headlights replaced again but are attempting to avoid driving the vehicle at night or in bad weather. Given the apparent frequency that Prius owners have reported this same problem, my wife and I do not understand why Toyota has not developed a generic fix and issued a recall.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #245

Sep 102014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 142,000 miles
Intermittent drivers side headlight failure. Light will work for a short time, and go out while driving. This has been a chronic problem with this car. I bought it from a friend and it has been a problem for them, and other Prius owners that I know.

- Grosse Pointe Park, MI, USA

problem #244

Sep 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
For the past 200 miles or so, the left front headlight has begun to turn off after a couple of minutes when switched on. The hid bulb and ECM was replaced, at considerable cost, but has not yet been resolved. I have an appt for Toyota dealership service in a week.

- Kailua, HI, USA

problem #243

May 142013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 185,000 miles


I had an accident in March 2013 which caused front end damage. The car was repaired with the headlights being replaced. Every since the repair the headlights have been going out for no apparant reason. At first just the right headlight, now both lights shut off at the same time and I have to turn them off and back on to get them to emit light. The dealer said it was the headlights themselves but why do both of them go out at the same time and why do they come back on and continue to work. At first this occured maybe once a day but it is occuring frequently. I do not think it is the bulbs becasue they keep shutting off at the same time which suggest it is something else.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #242

Jul 302014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 84,000 miles
The headlights on the Prius turn off. When I notice this while driving, I can turn them off and then on again. They only stay on for a few minutes.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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problem #241

Jul 012014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 132,575 miles
The headlight just turned off. In reading up on this issue, it has become apparent that this is a known issue with hid lights in a Prius. Fortunately it only happened to one headlight and not both.

- Waterford, WI, USA

problem #240

Jul 132010


  • 90,000 miles


The front headlights will randomly flicker out, usually one at a time but sometimes both at the same time. One can get it back on by toggling the headlight switch on and off, but extremely dangerous when on an interstate at night. A ton of owners are having this same problem, but apparently there is as of yet no recall. You can switch out the expensive bulb, but that also apparently doesn't fix the problem.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #239

Jan 142014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 144,512 miles
First passenger side then drivers side headlights failed within a month of each other. Able to relight headlights by turning on and off switch, but then they would go off again. Both replaced by Toyota dealer at over $300 per light! now, the drivers side headlight is off again several months later, still able to switch it on for awhile, but it fails as I am driving.

- San Rafael , CA, USA

problem #238

Jan 062014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 320,000 miles
Multiple failures of hid lights going out. It will switch from one side to another. Sometimes results in both headlights going out. Most of the time a quick flip of the headlight switch will bring them back on. It is completely random. Instances when both lights go out, each time had to make a quick pull over to wait for a moment, as the normal quick flick to get the lights back on fails, thus causing a quick panic to get to a safe place on the side of the road in the complete dark and hope that other vehicles around you can see you and let you over.

- Fort Mitchell, AL, USA

problem #237

Sep 272012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
In mid June 2012, while driving on the freeway I noticed the left side headlight was not on, initially I thought the bulb was bad since I had already had to replace the right one. I had planed to take the car to elmore Toyota of huntington beach, ca to have the bulb replaced but the following day the light was working. After a few days it started happening again. I found that if I turned the lights on and off the headlight would come back on, I have had this problem for over a year now. Today I decided to take the car to the dealer's service department, now they can't seem to tell me what is the true nature of the problem, all they want to do is sell me a new bulb. After doing some research on my own I now understand that this has been an ongoing problem since 2007 and that the NHTSA has investigated this and has decided that this is not a safety issue. I would like to see if the persons responsible for this decision would like to go on a long night drive with me on a mountain road. Right now I want to officially file a complaint about this problem, my 2005 Toyota Prius is unsafe to drive because the headlights are not dependable and there is no telling when they will stop working.

- Westminster, CA, USA

problem #236

Apr 142014


  • 150,000 miles


Both of my Prius headlights went off, for no apparent reason, while driving down a busy highway. Flicking them off and then back on brought them on again, but this is a dangerous situation. This has happened one more time since then. This could cause a serious accident. Toyota is unable to isolate the problem. The company wants to replace the bulbs, but this doesn't fix the problem, according to many other people who have had this problem. Replacing the bulbs or adjacent parts can cost hundreds of dollars, which is not sustainable. It seems that a recall is in order.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #235

May 022012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 120,304 miles
Intermittent headlight outage - front right side.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #234

Feb 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 89,900 miles
The headlight operation became erratic. Sometimes one would work and sometimes the other one would be the only one to function. Sometimes neither headlight would come on. Repeated operation of the headlight switch eventually would get one or both headlights turned on. The light bulbs were replaced in 2012 and again in 2013. There was little or no change in performance. When I have asked my Toyota dealer's service department about it, they simply said they weren't aware of any problem. I cannot believe that is true. This is a much discussed and not uncommon problem. We are always concerned that the headlights might fail while we were driving. This has not happened yet, but I have no confidence in the headlight reliability.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #233

Apr 252014

Prius 4-cyl

  • 104,650 miles
Entering I-25 southbound on dark night and the head lamps went out. Turned the switch off and then on, they came back on and then went right off. Re-tried the switch and they came back on.. failed again about five miles further South on the I-25 highway. Turned them off and back on and they came back on and stayed until I got back home. The bulbs must be good for them to come back on. Possible bad switch or computer chip that controls the automatic circuitry. This was very scary because we had high speed traffic that couldn't see us because we had no lights visible. There was construction in the area which made it all the more tense note:the vehicle make name box above does not pull down.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #232

May 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
My drivers side headlight flickers then goes out. I was able to get it on again by manually turning the switch on and off. Then it will happen again. I replaced the headlight ($175 for the part alone) in may of 2012. It is now March of 2014 and the same light began doing it again, flickering. I was able to get it to go on by manually switching it on. Now it is out again.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #231

Feb 152012


  • 65,000 miles
I have replaced my headlights 6 times in the past 2 years. The headlights go out with no warning. The first few times I thought it was possibly bad aftermarket bulbs but there is obviously a problem. This is a safety issue since there is no warning as to when they go out.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #230

Dec 202010


  • 177,285 miles
12/20/2010 left head light replaced not working. 8/30/2011 right headlight replaced not working. 10/30/12 left headlight not working. When start car light would turn on flicker then go out, replaced headlight at time (second replacement) worked for several months then went to flicker mode then off when car lights turned on. Left headlight still not working, light goes on when car started but flicks off in 30 seconds. 1/14/2014 right headlight not working, replaced. New bulb placed light works 50% time. No flicker either it will go on or not. Both headlights replaced twice so far. Returning to mechanic again.

- Walford, IA, USA

problem #229

Jan 172013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Around 105,000 we started getting intermittent headlight loss. It usually comes back on if we turn the lights off then back on. It only did it on the passenger side for about a year but now it does it on both sides.

- Tolland, CT, USA

problem #228

Sep 102013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
My vehicle lights spontaneously go out. It used to be one headlight, then I had a mechanic take it out to diagnose and he said it may be the ballast. After that, it is now both headlights go out spontaneously, and therefore sometimes at the same time, leaving in the dark at night on the road. Flicking them off and back on usually fixes it on the first try, but sometimes it takes a couple of tries.

- Newfield, NY, USA

problem #227

Dec 202013


  • 92,000 miles
For several months, the driver's side head light of my 2005 Toyota Prius would spontaneously blink out. Because it was blinking out and coming back on, I told the dealer I suspected some kind of wiring problem, but was assured that this was a common problem with the Prius head lamps. I was then told that we had the "special" hid lamps that cost $150 apiece, plus $75+ in labor because of how complicated they were to replace. When I asked how long it would take for this labor intensive $75+ repair, I was told 15 minutes (in other words, I would be charged $300/hour for labor). After being reassured again that replacing the head lamp would solve the problem, I agreed to move forward with the repair. Fast forward 2 weeks, and the driver's headlamp was once again blinking on and off. The dealership seemed completely unsurprised by the persistence of this problem, and agreed to a "courtesy recheck." They then informed me that since the $225 head lamp repair they talked me into didn't solve the problem, the cause of the blinking was "definitely" the ECU (the computer that controls the head lamp), and it would cost ~$700 to replace this component. At no point did the dealer acknowledge that the hid lamps and associated ecus have been defective in hundreds of thousands of Prius cars, as I quickly learned online.

- Longmont, CO, USA

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