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 4 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #231

Feb 152012


  • 65,000 miles


I have replaced my headlights 6 times in the past 2 years. The headlights go out with no warning. The first few times I thought it was possibly bad aftermarket bulbs but there is obviously a problem. This is a safety issue since there is no warning as to when they go out.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #230

Dec 202010


  • 177,285 miles
12/20/2010 left head light replaced not working. 8/30/2011 right headlight replaced not working. 10/30/12 left headlight not working. When start car light would turn on flicker then go out, replaced headlight at time (second replacement) worked for several months then went to flicker mode then off when car lights turned on. Left headlight still not working, light goes on when car started but flicks off in 30 seconds. 1/14/2014 right headlight not working, replaced. New bulb placed light works 50% time. No flicker either it will go on or not. Both headlights replaced twice so far. Returning to mechanic again.

- Walford, IA, USA

problem #229

Jan 172013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Around 105,000 we started getting intermittent headlight loss. It usually comes back on if we turn the lights off then back on. It only did it on the passenger side for about a year but now it does it on both sides.

- Tolland, CT, USA

problem #228

Sep 102013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


My vehicle lights spontaneously go out. It used to be one headlight, then I had a mechanic take it out to diagnose and he said it may be the ballast. After that, it is now both headlights go out spontaneously, and therefore sometimes at the same time, leaving in the dark at night on the road. Flicking them off and back on usually fixes it on the first try, but sometimes it takes a couple of tries.

- Newfield, NY, USA

problem #227

Dec 202013


  • 92,000 miles
For several months, the driver's side head light of my 2005 Toyota Prius would spontaneously blink out. Because it was blinking out and coming back on, I told the dealer I suspected some kind of wiring problem, but was assured that this was a common problem with the Prius head lamps. I was then told that we had the "special" hid lamps that cost $150 apiece, plus $75+ in labor because of how complicated they were to replace. When I asked how long it would take for this labor intensive $75+ repair, I was told 15 minutes (in other words, I would be charged $300/hour for labor). After being reassured again that replacing the head lamp would solve the problem, I agreed to move forward with the repair. Fast forward 2 weeks, and the driver's headlamp was once again blinking on and off. The dealership seemed completely unsurprised by the persistence of this problem, and agreed to a "courtesy recheck." They then informed me that since the $225 head lamp repair they talked me into didn't solve the problem, the cause of the blinking was "definitely" the ECU (the computer that controls the head lamp), and it would cost ~$700 to replace this component. At no point did the dealer acknowledge that the hid lamps and associated ecus have been defective in hundreds of thousands of Prius cars, as I quickly learned online.

- Longmont, CO, USA

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problem #226

Dec 312013


  • 182,000 miles
After a short period of time headlight flickers then goes out. Have to turn off then on, only to last a short time. Brand new bulbs.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #225

Dec 032013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 124,000 miles


Initially it was the drivers side headlight that went out. Turning the switch off and on reset the headlight to illuminate again. I took the vehicle to my mechanic to replace the driver side headlight. The mechanic said the headlights worked fine and to continue to drive until it failed or other issue reported. After a couple weeks the issue progressed to both headlights going out. Turning off and on would restore illumination. This would happen randomly sometimes recurring again after 5-10minutes. Finally the passenger side headlight went out completely and would not illuminate. I took the vehicle to my mechanic and had the passenger side headlight replace. A few days later the drivers side headlight started turning off again. My next step is to take the vehicle into the dealership and see if they can fix the issue. I've researched the issue and have seen plenty of complaints regarding this issue. I'm concerned this is a persistent defect, light shutting off randomly, will have a devastating effect once my luck runs out.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #224

Jan 022012

Prius 4-cyl

  • 150,000 miles
The hid headlights will occasionally go out. Over time I realized that by turning the lights off and on, the lights came back on. While driving at night, this event can happen as often as every couple minutes. Sometimes it may not occur for an hour. But there is no rhyme or reason as to the frequency of losing the light. Maybe 3 or 4 times over the last 2 years both headlights turned off at once. Had I been on an interstate at the time or in inclement weather, it would have been much more dangerous and life threatening. Losing the light from a bulb can occur to either headlight. Although it seems to occur with one bulb or the other for a period of time. In other words, on a night's drive, it's usually one bulb that will often go out on that night. The next evening it may be the other headlight. The local Toyota service garage charges about $175 each for the hid lightbulbs and another $95 for the installation. Looking at opinions on line concerning this Prius headlight problem, is the view that replacing the bulb is not the issue. The problem is within the computer system of the car. The price of replacing the bulbs combined with the possibility that light replacement may not solve the problem, keeps me from spending the money and instead keeps me flicking the lights off and on when needed. Given the extreme potential danger of this defect, it seems that Toyota owes it to their customers to get to the bottom of this problem. And create a fix.

- Bellingham, WA, USA

problem #223

Dec 302013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 109,000 miles
While crossing the bridge of the gods, cascade locks, Oregon at about 9pm the toll collector told me my drivers side headlight was out. I turned on my high beams and had two lights on. On low beam only one light...driving with high beams at night is dangerous to other drivers on the road; driving with one or no headlights at night is also dangerous. The next day I turned on the lights (low beam) and they were both on again....I checked priuschat.com forum and read 56 pages of Prius owners with the same problem...that either one or both headlights will turn off intermittently and randomly, often at night. I called Toyota customer service and [xxx] the service rep I talked to looked up my car and said there is no remedy Toyota recommends other than take it to a dealer and have it "repaired" for approximately $800-1200 dollars. Further, reading about the Prius owners headlight experiences posted on the forum suggests that more than often this very dangerous vehicle defect is not "repaired" by what the dealer service department does and the lights continue to turn off randomly..as a retired police officer I consider this product design defect to be extremely dangerous and that Toyota Corp. Will not stand behind their product. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #222

Aug 182013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 130,500 miles
Driver headlamp turning on and off while driving. Lamp will turn on if I switched control off and turned it on again, but will turn off again within 10 minutes. Replaced both lights bulbs, then passenger headlight started doing the same thing with in a month of replacement. I replaced bulb again in the passenger headlight and with in 5 days light started again doing same thing. Headlight turns on if I switch control on and off. Found similar complains about Prius 2005 on line.

- Elk Grove, CA, USA

problem #221

Dec 012009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,550 miles


While driving at night I noticed that my headlights were dim. I later found that the left light had gone out. I found that turning the lights off and on again the light went on for a while. The problem persists and Toyota says they can do nothing. I must pay for a new light $300 +.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #220

Dec 092013


  • miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the driver's side headlight intermittently failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was not available.

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #219

Jul 012011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The right headlamp works intermittently and has been for some time and lately the left is joining in. I have asked about this numerous times over the past couple of years when in the dealership for other services. It isn't a problem any time I have been in their presence; but they noted it in my file. Likewise, as I cross my fingers yearly, they have both been working during inspection. Thought I was crazy until I see tons of complaints on the internet as well as info that you had an investigation but closed it saying this isn't a safety issue. Just want it to go on record with you as well because if something happens, you and Toyota will be sued. This is obviously a problem with upwards of 2K people (that you know of) and see no safety issue in something as important as lighting" cars do not pass inspection with inadequate lighting and require replacement; but, you see no validity in a lighting issue that the consumer is unable to solve by replacement of the lighting unit?" just like the government, makes no sense!

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #218

Sep 022013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
My hid headlight turns off, it can be turned back on by toggling the light switch. I had previously replaced the bulb, however it cost over $400 to get it fixed. It is dangerous to drive like this, Toyota does not seem to assume responsibility that there is a defect. There was a cash support but only for 2006 to 2009 models. There should be an investigation into this problem.

- Lincolwood, IL, USA

problem #217

Nov 292013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 98,280 miles
Last Friday night both right and left headlights burned out within five minutes of one another. Thankfully I could limp home with the help of street lights. I discovered today at Toyota dealership that the cost of two new hid osram xenarc D2R 35 w 66050 ($ 175/bulb) and labor ($ 113/hr) plus sales tax was $ $467.31. I checked the cost of the hid bulbs online. Amazon offers a pair of these bulbs for $ $159.99 plus free shipping. Toyota's genuine part mark up is an astounding 217% in this comparison. Further, the Toyota parts/service said that they need to take off the bumper - unlike the owner's manual instructions from the side of the headlights - to replace the bulbs. Toyota headlights can be dangerous if they burn out simultaneously and replacement cost is ridiculous at the dealership!

- Loves Park, IL, USA

problem #216

Jan 132010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 183,000 miles
Front passenger (right) side main headlamp goes out, it will relight when light switch is turned off, then back on.date of first occurrence is unknown. This happens when at idle or any speed. Sometimes the light will stay on for 30 minutes or more, but most of the time the light will go out every 4 minutes. I have to drive and look at the reflection of my car on the side of another car to see if my light is one or not. When I reset the light, people think I am flashing them to pull over. I have been pulled over for the light out and I was able to demonstrate to the peace officer that I can reset the light by turning it off and on, he told me to take care of it, yet there are no answers or a firm fix. Toyota should recall gen 2 Prius as this is a defect.

- El Dorado, CA, USA

problem #215

Jul 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
My passenger headlight shuts off by itself after a few minutes. When I shut off the lights and turn them on again, they both stay lit for several more minutes or sometimes longer. We took it to the dealer, and they charged over $100 to replace the bulb and there has been no change. I noticed that there was a recall on the 2006-2009 models for a similar problem. I suspect this might extend to the 2005 model. At times both lights go out in an unpredictable manner. This does not seem safe to me. Thank you

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #214

Sep 012013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Driving down the freeway and the headlights went out. I flipped the switch and they turned on. This now happens every time I drive and it requires numerous flipping on and off of the lights to make them come back on.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #213

Sep 182013


  • 100,000 miles
Driving down the freeway 70 mph both headlights went out! turned them off and then back on they did not work. Turned them off and back on once again and they worked. Both lights should not go out at once!

- Sidney, OH, USA

problem #212

Sep 022013

Prius 4-cyl

  • 134,000 miles
While driving my vehicle at night the right headlamp suddenly went out. I turned the headlight switch on and off and the headlamp came back on. Approximately 7-8 minutes later both headlamps went out. Once again I turned the headlamp switch off and on and both headlights came back on. This continued to happen every few minutes until I finally reached my destination. Since then it has continued to happen sporadically. I feel that this is a very serious safety issue that needs to be addressed. I purchased new bulbs thinking that this was the problem but discovered that the design of the vehicle does not give adequate access to the bulbs for changing. It appears that it must have to be done by the dealer. I feel that this is also something that needs attention.

- Cranston, RI, USA

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