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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,431 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.

2009 Toyota Prius lights problems

lights problem

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2009 Toyota Prius Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #73

Aug 312016


  • 66,000 miles


Headlights completely failed at night on 8/31/16 when car parked on street and have not worked since. Dealer reported not the bulbs and ran diagnostics, telling me it was the the 'body ECU'. I paid $703.86 for a new ECU on 9/1/16 which was put in today, 9/7/16, and did not solve the problem. Car remains without headlights.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #72

Aug 222016


  • 74,000 miles
One headlight went out, then the next. I was driving on the interstate after dark and realized that both of my headlights had gone out while I was driving. Turned switch off and then back on (I also put fog lamps on) and they worked for a short time, then they each dimmed and went out. I cannot safely drive at night and am unable to change the lights myself. I took the car to the dealer and the cost quoted was nearly $600 to replace the hid headlamps because the bumper must be removed to replace the bulbs. The dealer seemed unaware of the issue until I mentioned the class action lawsuit in 2011 against Toyota for this very issue.

- Brentwood, MO, USA

problem #71

May 172016


  • 68,602 miles
First the driver's side headlight went out, and then back on after a day or two. Then the passenger side headlight did the same thing. I never know until I start up the car whether or not I am going to have both headlights working. This happens when I first start up the vehicle. I don't know if it also happens while driving.

- Canandaigua, NY, USA

problem #70

Oct 262015


  • 82,307 miles


Takata recall the passenger side headlight is not working.

- Durham, NC, USA

problem #69

Feb 162016


  • 96,000 miles
Right headlight flickers out about 2-3 minutes after turning it on. By turning the switch off and on, the light comes back on. But if fails again in a few minutes. This happens while driving, but also happens sitting in the driveway with the engine off.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

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problem #68

Apr 122014


  • 47,560 miles
Left headlight started sporadically flickering in April 2014, then right headlight started flickering and going out in August 2014. Bought replacement bulbs, which worked for 3 months, now both headlights will intermittently go out while driving. Very dangerous to drive at night as they just suddenly go out with no notice. Have discussed with mechanic who informed me that it is a "ballast" problem with the 2009 Prius and a class action law suit existed, but since my car was outside of the 5 years 50K miles coverage the cost to repair would be somewhere around $1200 per light. Toyota needs to fix this problem as a defect!!!

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #67

Jan 012016


  • miles


Headlights go off without warning, sometimes left, sometimes right, sometimes both. Inconsistent and notice only at night. Can't fix and can't find solution. Headlights don't need to be replaced - there is something wrong with car wiring or other. I've had this car since 2009 and only had problem last six months or so - probably starting 1/2016. Car has approx. 65K miles on it. Very unsafe - especially at night in city when I can't follow another car and I can't tell if my headlights are on or not!

- Woodinville, WA, USA

problem #66

Jan 212016


  • 60,000 miles
Sometimes one headlight turns off. When I turn the headlights on and off, the headlight comes back on. This has happened on the freeway. It does not happen every day.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #65

Nov 122015

Prius 4-cyl

  • 42,000 miles
I became aware the past few months that my right hid headlight was going off and on when I was driving. I was first alerted to it by other cars flashing me. Then time would go by and it seemed to work. Yet, the problem returned. One time the left light went out as well, and I was without either light. But generally it is just the right light. If I turn the light switch off and on, then both lights work, again usually until I get home, I am aware that these expensive bulbs (more than $600 for both) are the common solution, but I know someone who had the replacement bulbs go out, as well, after a few months. So it must be the circuit. I will try to limit my driving to day time, and to be diligent to remember to be on the lookout for sudden light failure and switch, the lights on and off. My memory isn't as sharp as it once was, being an elderly retired person. This makes me quite nervous especially on icy roads in an area that darkens early. Suggested repairs are currently above my means. Thank you for hearing this.

- Missoula, MT, USA

problem #64

Dec 082015


  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Prius. While driving at night, the low beam headlights dim intermittently. The contact drove the vehicle to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the headlight assembly was damaged and needed replacement. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact also stated that the failure occurred daily. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000.

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #63

Nov 012015


  • miles


One of my two hid headlights goes out while driving. I can turn light off and they may or may not come back on. Sometimes light flickers and does not achieve full brightness. Can be dangerous at night. Both bulbs were replaced in June of 2013, passenger side in April of 2014 and now the drivers side needs replacement.

- Jacobus, PA, USA

problem #62

Oct 282015


  • 155,000 miles
Within the last few weeks, the headlights randomly turn off. Sometimes the driver's side, sometimes the passenger side...sometimes both at the same time. Tonight, I had both headlights and dash lights shut off while driving home down a dark, wet, very curvy, leaf covered road. Quickly turning the lights on and off briefly solved the problem. This should never happen and poses a tremendous threat of bodily harm not only to the drivers/passengers in the Prius, but to other travelers as well. I am extremely disappointed in Toyota for refusing to be accountable and accept responsibility for the safety of the many consumers who have experienced this problem.

- Milford, VA, USA

problem #61

Sep 192015


  • 101,000 miles
Headlights, high intensity discharge turn off. Both headlights turn off while driving.

- West Covina, CA, USA

problem #60

Jul 142014


  • 150,000 miles
Right headlight does not stay on. Had the filament changed 2-3 times and still burns out. This is not safe. Cannot get a good answer as to why this keeps happening!!!

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #59

Sep 032015


  • 160,400 miles
The ballasts for the hid lights in the 2009 Prius are famously unreliable. Mine demonstrated this last evening in a very unnerving way. The headlamps would simply turn off without warning, sometimes one, and many times, both, leaving me to the mercy of street lights! this is incredibly dangerous. I checked on it and found that this happens to hundreds of Prius drivers. Isn't Toyota concerned that its $1,200 charge for fixing its own defective equipment (for the ballasts are known for this) will lead to death of poor persons who cannot afford the fix" shouldn't there be a general recall for such a consumer-safety issue" (sure, cycling the lights turns them back on, but when you are driving in the dark, it isn't easy to think well.)

- Arkadelphia, AR, USA

problem #58

Aug 272015


  • miles
The passenger side head light works intermittently. When illuminated a faint flicker can be seen. Don't know what precisely causes it to come back on but it does. Changing the head lamp did not resolve the problem. This seems to be a recurring problem with the Prius.

- Eagle River, AK, USA

problem #57

Jun 012015


  • 100,000 miles
Driving at night, the drivers side hid would flicker and then shut off completely. Last night for the first time while driving a dark road, both hid shut off leaving me in total darkness.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #56

May 272015


  • 98,000 miles
This has been a recurring problem. The headlights will turn off without any warning. They turn back on if I flip the switch off and then back on again. The fact that the lights are on every time I leave the house (I can see their reflection against the garage wall) means they are not burnt out, but the fact that I have almost been hit multiple times by people who then honk and flash their brights to tell me my headlights are off means that they are turning off on their own. Through internet searches and chat forums, I have learned that I am not alone in this dangerous issue with my 2009 Toyota Prius.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #55

May 012015


  • 80 miles
My 2009 Prius right headlight goes out periodically and without warning. If I turn the headlights off & on again, it works again, but only for a period of time.

- Palatine, IL, USA

problem #54

May 012015


  • 76,000 miles
The hid lights have become intermittent. First the left one would randomly go off and then later come back on, on more than one occasion. More recently the right one is showing the same behavior.

- Schenectady, NY, USA

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