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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,673 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 5 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #208

Mar 122013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 103,000 miles


Starting in approximately March and occurring daily through present day, one or both headlights sporadically go out. We started noticing this in March when driving at night. Our own tests indicate that it can happen when the car is at a complete standstill or at any speed. It can happen zero to multiple times during a single use of the car, sometimes up to every minute and a half while driving. Turning the headlights off and back on again cause both headlights to come back on. As far as we know, this did not start happening until this last March. We have had no other troubles with this car and love the car, aside from this issue. This has caused us to stop driving the car at night, which is extremely inconvenient.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #207

Sep 182011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Headlights go out while driving. Driver headlight went out while driving 55mph. Pulled over & noted driver headlight out. Turned car off & then restarted & both headlights went on. Drove a couple miles & noted headlight out & this time it was the passenger headlight that was out. This has happened a few times in the year @ 1/2. we also had a problem in the past with the headlights being aimed too low in front of the car causing trouble seeing. It turned out to be the auto aiming computer was malfunctioning & it was replaced by warranty. We also had to have the skid control brake computer ($2500.) replaced 12/06/2012 due to brake malfunctioning (brakes would hardly stop the car).

- Fort Gratiot, MI, USA

problem #206

Jul 282012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 129,375 miles
Both headlights turned off simultaneously. Turning the headlight switch off, and back on restored illumination. This happened twice within 45 minutes.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #205

May 222013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 126,000 miles


Left hid headlight on my Prius keeps going off at random, sometimes it happens fast, sometimes it doesn't happen at all. By cycling the headlights on/off turn the light back on. This seems to happen to more than just my Prius because I have personally seen many priuses with their passenger side (left) headlight out.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #204

Jun 122013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 62,400 miles
1. driver's side hid-type headlight went out while driving at night. Went on & off intermittently for several days. Required a replacement headlight computer and bulb. Ridiculously expensive to get headlights functioning properly. 2. headlight leveling system malfunctions & warning light goes on intermittently, generally during & right after rain storms. Ongoing problem since car had approximately 32,000 miles.

- Chevy Chase, MD, USA

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problem #203

Jun 212013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 94,393 miles
Both hid headlights went out at the same time. I can toggle the light switch off and on and one or both lights came back on. Then went out again within a few seconds to a minute, over and over. Makes no difference if car is not moving at all or going 70 mph. I was able to drive the 15 miles home at night without incident. Went to dealer next day and they say all that is wrong is that the headlights are burned out. Estimate to replace both is $474.31. I do not believe that they would burn out at exactly the same time. And if they are burned out then why do they come back on and off. I have done research and found the class action settlement for 2006-2009 models. I also found that you have had hundreds of complaints about the 2005 model yet you have not considered this a safety matter. I disagree. Even if you don't help me, I want my complaint included in your database.

- Sulphur, LA, USA

problem #202

Apr 242013

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles


The drivers side headlight keeps going off and on. At first all I had to do was turn it off then on but now it is turning off and staying off.

- Lauderhill, FL, USA

problem #201

Jun 042013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 137,000 miles
I was driving home on the highway at night when both headlights shut off. The right headlight has been turning off periodically, but this is the first time both lights have gone out. By turning the lights off and then on, the headlights returned to working order. This is a persistent problem, which both Toyota and NHTSA know about. Replacing the lightbulb appears to be only a very temporary, and costly, solution.

- Cockeysville, MD, USA

problem #200

Jan 102012

Prius 4-cyl

  • miles
My car lights keeps going off while driving at night.

- Mobile , AL, USA

problem #199

Jan 142013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 83,998 miles
The passenger side hid headlight went out. The next time I used the car, the headlight was working again. Since the first occurrence, either headlight has gone out intermittently (I have not been aware that both have gone out at the same time). Each time, the headlights are found to be working again later. I don't know how often the problem is occurring. I don't do a lot of night driving, but I keep my lights on all the time. I suspect there are many daylight failures that go unnoticed.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #198

Mar 012013


  • 61,854 miles


My 2005 Prius began to have problems with the driver's side headlight. When I first turn my lights on, the headlamp works, but after a few minutes of driving, it goes out. Switching to high beams doesn't make any difference, but if I turn off my lights and turn them right back on, the headlamp works for a short while. I have researched this on Prius forums, and it is a very common problem. The dealer wants $2600 to fix it. I think it is a manufacturing defect and should be recalled and fixed at no charge.

- Ellisville, MO, USA

problem #197

Apr 292013


  • 94,012 miles
When I started my 2005 Toyota Prius, I got a warning on the dashboard and the multi-function display that the automatic headlight leveling system had malfunctioned. This is a safety feature that corrects the aim of the headlights if you are driving with an unusually heavy load, so that your lights do not momentarily blind oncoming drivers. Unfortunately, when the sensor in the headlight leveling system fails, the headlights aim themselves to a default position that is unsafe; the headlights aim downwards, and illuminate the ground 20 feet in front of the car and no farther. It is not safe to drive in the dark faster than 20 miles an hour with the headlights like this. The problem begins with the sensor in the 2004 and 2005 model priuses, where a gasket fails and the interior parts of the sensor corrode and fail. Toyota knows about this problem and now offers improved replacement parts and has issued the technical service bulletin below. However, replacing this part at a dealer can cost upwards of $500, discouraging many owners from making the repair, leading to unsafe driving conditions for Prius drivers and everyone else on the road. There is no manual override to make it safe for a driver to drive in the dark. It seems like poor engineering that Toyota has implemented a safety device that, when it fails, creates a more unsafe condition than if the safety device were not there. Not to be overly dramatic, but it was a failed gasket and failed sensors that brought down the space shuttle. A repair suggested online involves springs from ballpoint pens, but this is ridiculous. A repair with the improved Toyota part ought to be made affordable, if not for free. Us tsb EL004-06 April 28, 2006. Automatic headlight leveling system warning light "on" or flashing. 2004-2005 Prius w/hid headlights. Replace rear vehicle height control sensor with improved one.

- Evanston, IL, USA

problem #196

Apr 282013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 169,000 miles
Both headlights went out during night time driving. I immediately braked because I could not see anything in front of me. It is a very dangerous situation in that my 9year old and 12 year old panicked. When I switched the lights on and off they came back on. The incident re-occurred an additional 3 times on the way home. I contacted the manufacturer as well as the dealer. Both said they could not do anything about this type of failure since it is outside the warranty period. I could understand a lightbulb going out, but both going out at the same time is a horrific dangerous situation. I believe there is an inherent defect from the manufacturer.

- Castleton, VA, USA

problem #195

Jun 052007

Prius 4-cyl

  • 22,891 miles
Driving on I-405 when the left headlight began acting intermittently. Brought to the attention of the dealer when stopped by to inquire about the problem. Was told that the dealer was unaware what the problem could be and that their only suggestion was to replace the bulb, but that would cost $500 and would not guarantee fixing the problem. Brought car back to dealer several times during 2007 and over the following years to discuss this issue with the headlight... yielding the same results from the dealer. Many times during night driving the left headlight would go out. Finally, in March, 2013 both headlights went out while on I-405 at night. Happened twice during drive home with 3 small children in the car. Had hid bulbs replaced as considerable expense ($657.88) only to find out Toyota is completely aware of this problem from a class action lawsuit. I am shocked they put my family at risk by failing to notify us of this problem, even when proactively contacting the company with the exact same symptoms contained in the lawsuit.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #194

Apr 052013


  • 110,000 miles
While driving the passenger headlight goes out at unexpected times. Trying to activate the high headlights does not make the light come back on. The only way the light comes back on is by turning them off and on from the switch, and most of the time the light goes out again in a very short time.

- San Jose , CA, USA

problem #193

Sep 012012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
The left headlight unexpectedly goes out. If I turn the lights off and on again, the headlight comes back on, but soon repeats going out.

- Gilroy, CA, USA

problem #192

Sep 102012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 98,000 miles
Last September we noticed the driver side headlight was out. When we turned the car off and on, the lamp came back on. We took the car to the dealer who could not find anything wrong. We have seen a lot of similar complaints on the internet with no resolution. Others have spend big $$$ to fix, however after spending the money, the problem remained. Please advise.

- Coronado, CA, USA

problem #191

Feb 252011


  • 169,000 miles
The headlight on the passenger side just turns off for no reason. I saw it off when stopped. It has done it several times after about a half hour of driving. It goes back on, but I keep the fog lights on just in case it happens in the dark. I think it could effect both head lights and cause a safety problem at night. I drive on unlit streets at night.

- Cedarburg, WI, USA

problem #190

Mar 042013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 147,000 miles
Headlights will randomly turn off and on. Sometimes the left headlight will go out, sometimes the right, and occasionally both lights will go out at the same time. The hid bulbs are not to blame. These bulbs, when they do go out, they burn out and never come back. This issue is a control problem/design flaw of the vehicle. If the NHTSA would look in its database it would see this is not an isolated incident. If you are waiting on a body count you will not have to wait long. My wife was driving on hwy 66 at 7:30 pm on March 4th when a loose cow entered the road, then the lights blinked out. A 2,000 lbs animal and a 2,600 lbs car do not interact well together. I suspect you will keep ignoring this and be a patsy for Toyota. I plan on filing a small claims against Toyota and, if I can find a lawyer who will take you on, sue the NHTSA for not doing their jobs.

- Adair, OK, USA

problem #189

Jun 182012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Driver side headlight keeps shutting off. If I turn off lights and turn back on, it comes back on for a little while. Shuts off about 6 times in 25 miles.

- Wentzville, MO, USA

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