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 15 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Sep 072008


  • 25,258 miles


Our 2005 Prius recently developed a problem with the automatic-leveling headlights. Warning symbols appeared on the dash. As we were driving, we noticed that the headlights were aimed much higher than usual, so that the low beams appeared more like high beams. In the course of this trip, we stopped briefly and turned off the car. When we resumed our trip, we noticed the headlights were now very low, so low that we dared not go over about 20 mph. We scheduled a visit to our Toyota service department; but while the warning lights were still on, the headlights were now aimed normally. Prior to this service visit, an internet search revealed that a number of 2004-2005 priuses have experienced a problem with the sensor in the rear of the car, in the vicinity of the left rear tire well, that measures the load on the rear end and adjusts the headlights accordingly. Toyota has published a technical service bulletin on the problem. It appears that in a number of priuses, the sensor is defective, but the problem is intermittent and difficult to detect. I shared with the dealer what I knew about the problem, E-mailed (at their request) the tsb, and asked that even though our car was recently out of warranty, since it had only 25,000 miles on it and the problem was clearly a systematic manufacturing defect as well as a potential safety hazard, the manufacturer should remedy the problem at no charge. During my discussion with the service adviser, he admitted that while no fault code could be detected, the only possible cause of the problem had to be the sensor. The service advisor said there was no way Toyota would cover the repair; that already in the past month, 15 of these units had to be replaced in the region and none of them had been covered by warranty. However, the service advisor indicated the dealership itself would cover the part ($470) if I agreed to pay for the installation ($200). I did so and the problem has now been remedied.

- Panama, NY, USA

problem #10

Oct 132008


  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius headlights go off spontaneously. Usually just the drivers side but recently both at the same time. Before turning the lights off and back on would fix it but now it does not always work. Previous owner had it checked by Toyota but they could not find anything wrong.

- Monterey, IN, USA

problem #9

Oct 102008


  • miles
2005 Toyota Prius...purchased new...have had nine (9) exterior lights burn out. I have replaced them and they seem to be working better. I believe the bulbs used by Toyota were inferior. After 36,000 miles Toyota would not replace any bulbs.

- Melville, NY, USA

problem #8

Feb 012008


  • 100,000 miles


Driver's side headlight began going out intermittently, first rarely, then gradually more frequently. Switching them off and on would restore it temporarily. The first time I took it to the dealer they couldn't reproduce the problem. By the time it became very bad, they diagnosed that the headlamp was overheating, and replaced it ($360). Now, less than two months later it has started going out again, at infrequent intervals. This is clearly a safety issue and needs to be investigated.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #7

May 202008


  • 100 miles
We noticed shortly after we bought our 2005 Toyota Prius that the headlights did not shine far enough in advance of the car to properly illuminate the road. When we complained to the dealer, they checked it and said that the lights were set properly so as not to shine in the face of approaching car. Now the automatic sensor warning light warning of a problem illuminates and indicates headlight problems any time we have anyone in the back seat of the car. Despite having high intensity headlights offered in this package (package 4), we still do not feel safe driving this car at night because the headlights illuminate only about 15-20 feet in front of the car, even at 'high beams.' I don't want to blind someone, but I do want to see the road more than 20 feet in front of me. I am indicating the problem began in may, 2008 because that's when the sensor warning light started to come on, but this has been a problem with this car pretty much ever since we bought it. The dealer says there is a bulletin out about it, but wants to charge us about $500 to fix it since it is 8,000 miles past warranty. Had I known that others have identified this as a problem (www.priuschat.com), I would have been more insistent before the warranty ran out. This car really is unsafe to drive at night, especially here in rural Maine where we have many large animals on the highways at night (including moose).

- Southwest Harbor, ME, USA

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problem #6

Aug 122008


  • 46,000 miles
Headlights began illuminating very short distance. Repair center found failed sensor. My concern is that system failed into unsafe condition when the onboard systems are perfectly capable of remembering the last safe condition.

- Dayton, MN, USA

problem #5

Jul 132008


  • 70,000 miles


Toyota's hid headlights seem to only work intermittently. Toyota would like us to replace the bulbs. Labor and the bulb run about $500. This seems to be a problem with many of Toyota's vehicles and seems like consumer gouging on a faulty product/design to the nth degree!

- Troy, MI, USA

problem #4

May 152008


  • 35,000 miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Prius. One of my hid headlights burned out after only 35,000 miles, just 3 months after my warranty expired. Toyota claims on their website that hid headlights last longer than halogen bulbs, but by E-mail said that they had not determined life expectancy of parts in my vehicle. Looking at the many Prius chat rooms on the web, this is not an unusual problem. As the replacement part alone (a single bulb) runs $350, there is a substantial problem with having to replace the bulb so soon after the warranty expires.

- Lewisburg, PA, USA

problem #3

May 082008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius hid driver's headlight continues to intermittently fail to illuminate. Dealer wants >$600 to replace headlight. Problem well documented as recurrent issue for Prius with hid headlamps. This should be addressed by Toyota asap. It is very dangerous to lose headlights while driving. It is also outrageous to expect consumers to pay $600 to replace a light bulb and not even be able to guarantee that will solve the problem.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 172008

Prius 6-cyl

  • miles
Toyota sienna...at approx 36K miles my headlights would intermittently go off. Bulbs were replaced and the problem persisted. The ECU unit to the headlight was replaced and worked fine for a year. Now at 59K the headlights are doing the same. I am told again to replace the bulbs(300$) each. The bulbs come on but just go out on there own without hitting a bump. It varies which light I will have and I have lost both while traveling. I think this is very dangerous. The dealership is replacing bulbs this wee....hope it works.

- Clifton Park, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 012007

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. While being serviced at the dealer, they noticed that the headlights were distorted. The plating on the internal part of the headlights were overheating. There is no way to release this heat and the contact is concerned that a possible fire may occur. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but they did not want to be responsible because it was no longer under warranty. The failure mileage was 40,000 and current mileage was 41,000. Updated 01-14-08. Updated 12/12/07.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

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