NHTSA — Exterior Lighting: Headlights Problems

CarComplaints.com Seal Of This Might Hurt

CarComplaints.com Notes: The Pontiac Vibe is the mechanical twin of the Toyota Matrix.

Both models were a joint GM-Toyota venture, manufactured together at a NUMMI production facility in Fremont, CA. Only the heating & A/C systems are different.


pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,333 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.

2003 Pontiac Vibe lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Pontiac Vibe Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 122004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


-the contact owns a 2003 Pontiac Vibe. While traveling at night the contact noticed that the headlights of his vehicle became progressively dimmer. On further inspection he realized that the plastic cover on the headlight was becoming clouded. The dealer stated that the failure was in the lens it's self and tired to buff the lens clear to no success. The dealer stated that they would sell him new lens at a cost of $100 apiece. The failure mileage was 50,000 and the current mileage was 133,981. Updated 4/25/08

- Monett, MO, USA

problem #5

Dec 042006

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Have had to replace headlamp bulbs (either right or left) 3 times within the last year. I have bought the more expensive ones thinking that the cheaper bulbs were the problem and it is still doing it. Have had 2003 Vibe since November 2002 and have 125,000 miles on it. First set of headlamps lasted 2 years.

- Findlay, OH, USA

problem #4

Feb 012004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Automatic headlight sensor is too sensitive.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #3

Feb 032004

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 0 miles


Chronic problem of overly sensitive "automatic" headlights turn on during daylight hours making instrument panel lights unreadable.

- Anoka, MN, USA

problem #2

Jan 012003

Vibe 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Automatic headlights turn on in daylight - can't see dash. In the morning and evening when the sun is low and in your eyes, I wear sunglasses like most drivers. The automatic lights come on and dim the dash making it impossible to see. You can fiddle with the dash intensity and read it again, but it is annoying to do this all the time. The radio stays dim and is unadjustable by the dash intensity lights, making it impossible to see. You have to move your head to funny angles or remove your sunglasses to see the radio. I feel fiddling with the dash lights and/or removing your sunglasses to operate the radio are distractions to the driver and increase risk of accident. The dash lighting on the Vibes is critical as it is because the dash lights must stay on all the time. This is because they are in a tunnel and you can not see them, even in bright light, without the dash lights on. Couple in the fact that Pontiac uses red backlighting for the dashboard and the dash gages are already at a sight disadvantage. Throw in a touchy light sensor that turns on your headlights (and dims the dash) and it is not a good situation. The sensor is too sensitive and I noticed complaints on forums such as genvibe.com and matrix-Vibe.net that make mention of the same problem. Sensor should be disactivated or replaced with less sensitive type. I have a 2000 Pontiac montanna with automatic lights and it works flawless. Only comes on at dusk. Never comes on with a low sun (dawn, dusk) shinning in your eyes. Please note that my light sensor in my Vibe is in the upper left corner of dash and it is not blocked in any manner. This location seems stupid for a light sensor also, as shadows from the A-pillar make it come in of the sun is blocked from the A-pillar. Keith nelson

- Midland, MI, USA

problem #1

Sep 192002

(reported on)


  • miles
Automatic headlight sensor is mounted on left side dash. Shadows caused by left side roof pillar and/or Texas inspection and registration stickers cast shadows over sensor at certain times of the day and orientation of the sun causing headlights to turn on with resultant dimming of dash lights and instruments to an un-readable level. The effect is quite shocking and leads the driver to initially believe that the car has lost all electrical power. Dealer has indicated no known fix has been identified. A similar sensor on my Buick rendevous is located in the center of the dash where shadows don't present such a problem.

- Adkins, TX, USA

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