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 9 of 15)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #131

Jul 242010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 110,000 miles


Starting in late winter, early spring of 2010, we noticed intermittent occasional failure of one or the other of our hid headlamps on our 2005 Toyota Prius (which we were told by the Toyota salesman were lifetime headlights). This situation could be immediately rectified by quickly turning off and on again the headlight switch at the steering wheel stalk. Then, on July 24, 2010, while on a remote and steep winding mountain pass road in California, (sonora pass road) in pitch dark, both headlamps failed simultaneously and could not be rectified with a quick flick of the headlamp switch off and on. I braked heavily, keeping in my mind a vision of the curve in the road I had just seen ahead of me. Braking heavily and trying to steer in the dark, I put the flashers on so I wouldn't be rear-ended. This ended up being a fortuitous decision, because it was so dark that the momentary flashes of the forward flashers allowed me to see just enough road in brief snippets so that I could steer my vehicle safely around the curve and get it off the road. I figured out that with both lamps out, a much slower off/on again cycle of the headlight switch would bring them back on, and I limped the vehicle home. Having driven over a million miles in my adult life, luckily I had the experience and the calm to handle this situation without catastrophic result. Had my wife or my daughter been driving, we certainly would have gone off the road and crashed the vehicle. Immediately the following day I scheduled an appointment with a Toyota dealership service center; end result of which they want me to pay nearly $900 to replace these defective headlamps. I called Toyota, and upon initial contact, won't do anything for us. Needless to say in this economy, we do not have the money, and we have been relegated to driving our Prius mostly daytimes, and certainly not on mountain pass roads at night. Reading online Toyota forums, I am very obviously not the only person who has this problem.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #130

Feb 222011

Prius 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,500 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving between 35-40 mph when the headlights failed. The contact engaged the emergency hazard lights until she was able to drive to a safe location. The headlights began to function after the contact abruptly jolted the headlight switch however, the driver side headlight would only illuminate sporadically. An authorized dealer was notified of the failure but the vehicle was not repaired. The driver side headlight was previously replaced but not recently. The failure had not recurred since. The failure mileage was 138,500. Updated 4/4/11 updated 04/06/11

- Citrus Heights, CA, USA

problem #129

Nov 282010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Intermittent headlight problem passenger headlight turns off intermittently while driving when I turn the lights all the way off then back on again the light will work again for a while. I have been stopped by police twice so far.

- Nokomis, FL, USA

problem #128

Feb 012011


  • miles


The headlight level switch failure (water-rust in switch) is causing real danger. When located in up while in dim - oncoming traffic impaired. When level switch ends down, the line of sight is only several feet in front of vehicle. A shorter person (wife) is unable to see any lighted road. Driving really becomes bad with the bright switched on. Oncoming traffic becomes impaired causing danger. The wife actually refuses to drive at night. Just unable to see properly. I have tried unsuccessfully to contact directly to Toyota with this situation. Service garages want just under $ $500 to correct problem. I feel this should be a recall item because of quality, but more importantly the driving danger. The actual switch should be purchased much lower cost. The value of switch alone without the brackets.we feel the danger on highway to be a real concern. I have spoke with other 05 Prius owners and each has express the problem. Most have just had it repaired under warranty.

- Grand Haven, MI, USA

problem #127

Dec 012010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
Either or both high-intensity headlights turn off while driving without driver input. This is the exact same problem described in the class action settlement for 2006-2009 Prius vehicles. According to the lawsuit, the headlights prematurely fail by flickering or turning off intermittently, often requiring costly repairs. Although Toyota has denied these claims, girard gibbs llp is pleased to announce that the parties reached a proposed settlement that has been granted preliminary court approval. Among other things, the settlement will provide: a free warranty extension for hid headlight bulb and electronic control units (through the earlier of 5 years and 50,000 miles); and cash reimbursements to many class members who paid for headlight repairs. Unfortunately, my vehicle year was not included in the class. However, as previously stated, the problem with my vehicle is identical to those in the suit. The repair cost me $593.75. I contacted Toyota and asked them to reimburse me for the repair. Their response was that my vehicle is no longer under warranty and my vehicle year is not part of the class action suit. They will not reimburse me for the repair. However, the vehicles in the class action suit were no longer under warranty. Updated 05/04/11

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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problem #126

Jan 042011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The passenger side headlight would sometimes go out and then come back on after turning the car off/on. Eventually both of the headlights had this problem along with them turning pink in color and back to white while driving. I took the Prius into the dealership and since I purchased the extended warranty of 100,000 miles the hid electronic control units (ecus) will be replaced free of charge but the hid light bulbs are costing $350 to replace. I see that Toyota has extended the warranty of the light bulbs to a five year/50,000 for the 2006-2009 Prius starting Feb 9th 2011, tomorrow. The mechanics say these bulbs should last over a 100,000 miles but the ecus are making them go bad early. I had a "wonderful" conversation with Toyota extra care representative about this problem. He basically told me anything that anything that breaks that is not covered by warranty (headlights) because an item that is under extended warranty(ECU), is not covered. And then he went on to explain this by talking about what came first, chicken or the egg. I was hoping to get into more in-depth evolution discussion with him, but I ran out of time and patience. I still love our Prius, 78000 miles.

- St Louis, MO, USA

problem #125

Jan 102011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 126,500 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact was driving 35 mph when the head lights failed. The contact was able to reactivate the headlights by toying with the activation switch until the lights came back on. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised the contact that there were no recalls for the failure and repairs would be at the expense of the contact. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was 126,500. Updated 03/07/11 updated 04/13/11 updated 1/3/11

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #124

Jan 102011

Prius 4-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Hid headlight failed. High cost to replace ($250).

- Bensalem, PA, USA

problem #123

Aug 082008

Prius 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I have from time to time thought that my car lights did not light up the road so well, especially on the passenger side. However, when I would think about it before I would get into the car, I turned on the head lights. They worked and seem to be pretty bright. They are the new type of lights. This went on for a while. However, one day, I drove up to my house and noticed that my passenger-side head light did not seem to reflect on my mailbox post as I thought it should. I had turned the lights out. But I turned them back on, got out of the car and they were on. Then one day, I was behind a SUV. I saw my car's reflection and the passenger light was out. I got home did not turn off the car or lights. I got out of the car and check. The passenger-side head light was out. I turn the lights off and then back on and the light came on. The time that it took for me to discover this actually took over a year. I recalled that someone had hit my car on that side (minor) but the headlamp assembly had to be replaced. So, I took the car back to the place it was repaired. Through my insurance, I have a life-time guarantee on all repairs. They replaced the head light. About 10 days later I am behind a car and I notice that my passenger side head light is again out. I checked the web and have discovered that this problem is not unique to my car. I can not say how often this occurs since you basically have to be outside the car. I do know that there are times when my car lights do not seem to be lighting up the road as they should.

- Leesburg, VA, USA

problem #122

Jan 042011


  • 51,695 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Prius. The contact stated that the passenger side headlights were turning an abnormal pink color. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who advised that there was no way of knowing when the headlights were going to fail. The manufacturer was contacted but offered no assistance. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 51,695.

- Beverly Hill, CA, USA

problem #121

Dec 182010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


Had car since new in 2005. Bought an extended service agreement that was prepaid. The car had regular maintenance at manufacturers recommended intervals. The electrical system has been a source of frustration regarding all head and tail lights. The lights fail frequently, especially all rear lights with no warning. Many have been replaced. The headlights are a huge headache. To have the dealer replace the bulbs cost about $250-$300. If there is more than just a bulb replacement, the cost could go as high as $1000+. this is highway robbery.

- Hercules, CA, USA

problem #120

Dec 202010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 95,883 miles
I was driving at night on I-75N and another car pulled up beside me and gestured that something was wrong. We both pulled off the interstate and they told me that I had no tail lights and no license plate light. They were afraid that someone would Ram me since I had no rear end running lights. I also noticed that my glove compartment light was out. I opened the hatch and then slammed it and the right tail light and license plate lights came back on. I proceed home under flashers in the right hand lane of the interstate. The next day I took it to the cobb county Toyota dealer and they said that all the bulbs were burned out. I asked how could all those lights go out at once and they said it happens. I authorized them to replace all the bulbs. They later contacted me and said that they did not have a replacement bulb for the glove compartment and I told them to forget about that and we could replace it later. The lights are working fine but strangely the glove compartment light started working after they replaced all the other rear lights and that light has faithfully worked to this day even though it was not replaced during the same service call to replaced the "burned out" tail lights and license plate light the brake lights, turn signal and flashers all worked on the evening of 12/20/10 during the time that the tail and license plate lights went out. Having had this happen at high speeds on a busy interstate at night was most upsetting and to have all these lights go out at once seems suspicious, particularly when the glove compartment light was declared as "burned out" by dealer, not replaced and now works perfectly.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #119

Dec 252010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 122,845 miles
While driving, the low and hi beam headlamps repeatedly turn completely off. It seems to occur randomly every single day, sometimes alternating between either headlamp going out and sometimes both headlamps turning off at the same time. At night this is quite concerning. Once the headlamps turn off, I must quickly turn off the and on the headlight switch until the lights come back on. If only one headlamp is off, it immediately comes on after turning off then on the headlamps. If both headlamps turn off, it sometimes takes many attempts to get them back on. It may be worth noting that I have the hid headlamps from the factory. I am in the process of taking the car to the dealership to have the problem corrected.

- Durham, ME, USA

problem #118

Sep 202010


  • 81,000 miles
Driver's side hid headlight on my 2005 Prius goes out intermittently. If I turn the headlights off and then back on, the bulb stays lit for a little while, until it happens again. From what I'm reading on the internet, this is a common problem that Toyota is aware of but will not resolve. This is a safety issue - it's difficult to see with only one functional headlight. I paid good money to get the upgraded headlights, Toyota should stand behind their products and fix the problem.

- Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #117

Nov 082010


  • miles
We are have a problem with our 2005 Toyota Prius. The headlights (one or both) goes out without warning. The is a known safety problem with headlights on the Prius. Toyota will not issue a recall because they have not been directed to by the government.

- Germantown Road, MD, USA

problem #116

Nov 202010


  • 148,000 miles
Driver's side headlamp turns off intermittently. No pattern identified. No solution except cycling headlamp switch sometimes works, sometimes not. This began after headlamp was replaced after it began dimming noticeably and producing light of a pinkish color. No further repairs attempted because can't reproduce problem reliably e.g. when in repair shop.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #115

Oct 132010

Prius 4-cyl

  • 55,127 miles
Toyota Prius headlights- the replacement cost for one bulb is ridiculously high- about $199 plus labor ($110). The new lightbulb overheats after two minutes and turns off. If I turn the lights on and off again the bulb will come back on--for two minutes at a time. This is incredibly dangerous. I hear a new bulb is coming out to remedy the problem, but since mine was "used" I cannot return it for an exchange when the new bulbs come in. Because it is halogen, they will only guarantee the bulb if they install it. It's a monopoly. We are stuck paying their high prices for the bulb-- and are required to go to the dealership to change a simple headlight. (although I dare not mention the installation process, which is anything but simple-- including removing the bumper!)

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #114

Jan 012010


  • 120,000 miles
My headlight on the right side of my Prius goes out intermittently, then when I cycle the switch (not safe to do at night) it turns back on. I have had it in to the dealer for repair, at a large cost, with no improvement. Online forums tell me this is a problem not solved by light replacement or by replacing the computer board that controls the lights. This is a problem for multiple cars on the road, and according to the online forums is starting to show in other Toyota.

- Creswell, OR, USA

problem #113

Oct 262010


  • 108,000 miles
2005 Toyota Prius, repeated headlight failure. I have been issued three police summonses for headlight failure and have only owned this vehicle for two years. I replaced both headlights three weeks ago and the passenger headlight is out again.

- Newfane, NY, USA

problem #112

Jun 132009

Prius 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Sudden headlight failure, if I turned off the headlight and turned it back on again it will turn on again. But it will randomly turn off again.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

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