really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
94,792 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 10 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #111

Oct 172010


  • 150,000 miles


My 2005 Prius' right headlight (hid) turns off. After turning the lights off and back on, it lights up again. It's very strange because if the bulb was dead, it wouldn't come back on. Just recently, someone made me aware of the issue. But, who knows how long it has been going on. There is no pattern or unique incident that causes the bulb to turn off and on. It happens multiple times on trip between 2-4 miles (sometimes more than 2 or 3 times on a short trip). Since I became aware of the issue, I don't take the car on long trips. My local mechanic said "dead bulbs don't turn on and off, they just stay off." Sometimes my bulb will stay on for 10-20 minutes, then go out. Doesn't sound broken to me. The mechanic told me the ballast could have a problem, but that costs several thousand dollars to fix (not to mention replacing one bulb is like 200 dollars)..

- Hemet, CA, USA

problem #110

Oct 162010


  • 96,000 miles
We purchased a Toyota 2005 Prius in August of this year. It had 92,000 miles on it but was in exceptional condition. Just this week October 15 the passenger side headlight started blinking and one day later went out.

- Lohrville, IA, USA

problem #109

Jun 082008


  • 65,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius w/ hid headlights. Automatic aiming sensor has suffered premature failure because of a design flaw that allows the under-vehicle mounted sensor to corrode and fail. Safety issues include a driver unknowingly overdriving his headlights at speed, and potential temporary blinding of oncoming traffic from aiming failure. Failed part # is 89408-47010. Toyota has not notified owners of this safety issue.

- Ocean City, MD, USA

problem #108

Sep 172010


  • 75,000 miles


2005 Toyota Prius: Headlights turn off intermittently. Happens each time vehicle is driven, even on very short drives. It is necessary to turn headlights off, and on to get lamps to work again. Occasionally, both lamps go out at the same time. Very dangerous! I have children, and am fearful of driving with them in this vehicle at night because of this issue. I have told my Toyota dealership about this issue, and was told they are aware of the issue, and I should turn them off and on to resolve. They also told me to replace would be over $400/each. Additionally, I'm fearful I will get a moving violation while driving at night.

- Herndon, VA, USA

problem #107

Aug 202010


  • 103,000 miles
The headlights on our 2005 Toyota Prius turn off while we are driving. Sometimes it is the right headlight, sometimes the left, and once in awhile both turn off. If I turn off the lights and then turn them back on they both work, for a while. The problem is intermittent; there is no predicting when the lights will malfunction. Sometimes it's while driving and then sometimes while stuck in traffic.

- Port Orchard, WA, USA

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problem #106

Aug 232010


  • 90,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius experienced headlamp failure at 90,000 miles. Since both headlamps failed at the same time, and N both regular and high-beam modes, the problem seems to be with the electrical circuit for the headlamps. Dealer quotes $1200 to fix. Seems like a rip-off.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #105

Jul 152010


  • 100,000 miles


I drive a 2005 Toyota Prius and the headlights have started going off intermittently without warning. When I start the car (light switch is always in the on position), sometimes both lights are on, sometimes one, sometimes none. While driving the car, the lights will suddenly go out, usually one or the other, but there have been times where both went out. I have researched the problem and there doesn't appear to be a known solution. I plan to purchase a replacement bulb to see if that solves the problem.

- Bolton, CT, USA

problem #104

Aug 082010


  • 104,300 miles
At about 104K miles the hid headlights, along with the dash dashboard lights, went out while my daughter was driving on a country road at night. The sudden darkness resulted in a collision with a guard rail while braking. After putting the car in park, turning off the power button and restarting the car everything came back on. While we were shaken up, no one was hurt. The car sustained $2K damage to the body, but not to the headlights. The local dealer didn't express any knowledge of headlight failures in priuses, inspected the lighting system and pronounced everything fine. I did have to pay for the inspection as the lights weren't damaged and not covered by the collision claim. Internet research has brought up many similar cases of this occurring with other priuses; with no acknowledgement by Toyota. My daughter is now terrified of driving this car. I also own a 2007 Prius with hid lights and 55K miles. I'm monitoring it's headlights whenever possible as it is driven mostly during the day with the headlights on.

- Petoskey, MI, USA

problem #103

Aug 082010


  • 110,000 miles
2005 Prius. Lights go off without warning. When lights are turned off and then on again they come back on.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #102

Jan 152010


  • 44,000 miles
Toyota Prius headlight leveling sensor when it fails, headlight can point downward limiting visibility.

- Endicott, Ny, NY, USA

problem #101

Jun 202010


  • 72,000 miles


Sudden warning light indicating headlight leveling failure. Occurs intermittently under various circumstances. Consequences: Headlights either aimed too high blinding oncoming drivers or slanted downward making car impossible to drive at night. Part has not been replaced and car is not driven at night. Old part still available. There was a technical service bulletin in early 2006 indicating that the headlight leveling sensor was not watertight and prone to failure due to water entering the system and corroding the electrical contacts. Toyota improved the integrity of the unit and sold it using the same part number with the added suffix "G". while Toyota will cover the replacement cost of the sensor under the 3 yr/36,000 mile warranty there is no coverage for vehicles out of warranty. A recall was never issued. Again, this is only a problem that occurs with the hid headlight system in the earlier generation II Prius (2004 - 2005). Service bulletin:00406 NHTSA item number:10019992 my car is out of warranty and I was unaware that there was a problem with the system when it could have been remedied while the car was under warranty. Mileage at failure 72,000. This is a safety issue and a recall should be issued ! cost of part $370 + tax. Labor is another $210 + tax.

- Peru, NY, USA

problem #100

Jul 262010


  • 70,000 miles
The passenger front headlight goes out. Toyota has replaced various parts 4 times and it still doesn't work.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #99

Jan 012010


  • 60,000 miles
Toyota Prius 2005 headlight leveling control sensor fails due to corrosion in the sensor. Result is inadequate night drive due to improperly positioned headlights. Safety issue.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #98

Jul 042010


  • 48,000 miles
Dear NHTSA: 2005 Toyota Prius. Headlights. The car is equipped with a headlight leveling device. At present my low beams only show about 14 feet in front of the vehicle. When the high beams are on they shine where the normal low beams would shine. I have contacted my dealer, this is a $500 dollar fix. The car has 48K miles. This is a safety hazard. I am not safe driving this vehicle at night. This is a serious condition and affects lots of Toyota Prius as I have found out on the blogs. Appreciate you guys looking into this problem, the device should be replaced by Toyota as it has failed through normal use and not from abuse. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Media, PA, USA

problem #97

Apr 102010


  • 123,000 miles
Over the past two months, my 2005 Prius has developed an intermittent headlight failure. The headlight in question is on the passenger side of the vehicle. Turning off the headlights and turning them back on resolves the issue, thus the bulb is not the issue. This defect makes the vehicle less safe to operate and holds me civilly responsible for "fix it" damages. The "fix" for this defect is a replacement should not be my responsibility for it is not a failure of obsolescence. I will cheerfully accept the bulb ending life, but for the sensors, switches, and computing behind the headlamp switch to have this level of dependability is not my problem to fix.

- Eden Prairie, MN, USA

problem #96

Apr 172010


  • 75,000 miles
2005 Prius driver's hid lightbulb failed with less than 80, ,000 miles. Cost to replace bulb quoted at $400 plus $300 for labor.

- Glendora, CA, USA

problem #95

Feb 012010


  • 62,366 miles
Hid headlamp failure on my 2005 Toyota Prius. It would work sometimes and then go off as I was driving down the road. Took to dealer 3/26/10; they replaced the headlight bulb for $198.09. It worked for about a month then started flickering off again as I drove down the road. I could turn it off completely then back on and it would work for only a few seconds. Took to dealer again today 6/21/10 and they said it needs a new assembly because it had been "hit". my husband backed into and scraped the headlight cover in 2006 (five years ago), but it worked perfectly until Feb. 2010. Interesting that there are multiple complaints of this same problem, with 160 pages of complaints to NHTSA alone.

- Kingsport, TN, USA

problem #94

Jun 182010


  • 83,800 miles
The headlights on my 2005 Toyota Prius go out intermittently without warning, one at a time. The bulbs will come back on after the first or second time of restarting the car. This may be happening more often than I'm aware. The first time was about 7 months ago when a chp officer pulled me over and gave me a fixit ticket for the headlight being out. It was too late at night to buy another bulb anywhere. I pulled into a lighted parking lot to see if there might be a loose connection. I turned off the car, opened the hood, removed some parts that were in the way of accessing the back of the passenger side headlight, and jiggled the connection to the bulb. I turned the car back on and the light worked. The next time I was at a service appointment at the dealer I asked them if they were aware of any problems with the headlights going out intermittently. The service rep said they do that occasionally, but since they were expensive to repair, to just keep driving until it goes out altogether. About 3 or 4 months ago, my driver side headlight did the same thing that time, I wasn't able to remove the back of the headlight. I was in a remote location late at night about 50 miles along a winding 2-lane road away from my destination. I started the car back up and the driver side headlight was still out. I decided to continue on to my destination with just one headlight, taking a chance the other wouldn't go out. The next day when I started the car, both headlights were working fine. Last night, the passenger side headlight went out for the second time (that I'm aware). I was on a 3-hour drive home after working out of town all week. I stopped for some coffee and when I turned the car back on, both headlights were working fine. After about 10 minutes driving, though, the passenger side headlight went out again and stayed out all the rest of the trip home. Today I googled the problem; several others have had similar problems with Prius headlights.

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #93

Apr 142010


  • 90,000 miles
Normal use of high intensity discharge headlamp/bulbs lights are flickering. Wire harness mentioned by dealership, cost to replace is prohibitive. Bulbs should not be 'flickering' if the capsule simply needs to be replaced. This problem is common among this model year Prius as well as before and after 2005.

- Lake Mills, WI, USA

problem #92

Jun 012010


  • 110,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius with headlights driver's side headlight that goes on and off intermittently. The dealership is charging $350 for this one light bulb, to replace it. There are multiple complaints regarding this problem with the Prius, on multiple web sites, all with the same concern. It is obviously a defective part, and the headlights should be recalled by Toyota. They go off at very dangerous times, like driving on the interstate.

- Strafford, MO, USA

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