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Warranty on bulbs

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by web1b, Mar 24, 2012.

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  1. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    I don't have the warranty booklet with me, so I can't check.
    Are bulbs such as standard headlamp bulbs covered under the factory 36 month 36000 mile warranty?
    Please answer if you have verified that they are or are not covered or can see it listed or excluded in the warranty booklet.
  2. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    No, they're not covered.
  3. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    You didn't check before posting that answer. :)
    I drove to the nearest dealer and they are covered. I sat in the waiting room and watched a movie on Netflix and they replaced the bulb before the end of the movie.
    I wasn't carrying the warranty booklet in the car and a Google search did not bring up anything relevant to the factory warranty for 3rd generation non-HID lights.
  4. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    They're not obligated to cover them, but some do anyway because they're so cheap. Do you expect them to cover your tires, brakes, etc. too once they're worn out?
  5. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    It's cost you more in your time thinking about and then asking this question than it would have cost to replace the bulb yourself.

    The headlight bulbs can be a pain to replace though and the led rear lights should last the life of the car - if they don't, they're expensive to replace.

    Enjoy your new car :)
  6. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    No, I don't expect them to cover tires and some specific items that are called out as exclusions. I expect them to cover what they are supposed to and they did.
    I remembered tires are not covered against any defects, mostly because they are covered by the tire manufacturer, not Toyota.
    It didn't cost me anything because I was already on the road and I was closer to a Toyota dealership than I was to go back home and read the warranty booklet.

    I went back home after the service was done and looked at the booklet and it has these parts listed as specifically excluded:

    Tires
    Spark plugs
    Fuses
    Windshield wiper blades
    Brake pads and linings
    Clutch linings.

    Parts and fluids included in scheduled maintenance.
    Obviously parts damaged by abuse, accidents, water, tampering etc are not covered.

    They could have easily added bulbs to that relatively short list if they wanted to exclude them, but chose not to. So, now I expect it covered. It is only for 3 years 36K miles, so they probably don't really replace that many bulbs under that coverage.
    The service advisor said "Yes, it's covered," not "No, it's not covered by Toyota, but as gestsure of goodwill, we will do you this grand, one-time favor and pay for it out of our own pockets.
  7. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Light bulbs are considered a maintenance item and the warranty doesn't cover maintenance expenses. The short list of excluded items isn't inclusive and exhaustive. Some service advisors may say yes, others no. So it's pretty much fair game.
  8. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Crikey you're not joking about wanting the bulbs replaced under warranty??? Ha ha ha, come on mate, you're having a laugh right?
  9. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    Not really. They called out windshield wiper blades. Windshield wiper blades are truly a maintenance item that you can expect to wear out after a couple years if not yearly. It is not unreasonable to expect the headlight bulbs to at least last the length of the 3 year basic warranty. It's not as if they are covered for life. 36 months isn't that long.
    It would have only been a few more characters of text in the warranty booklet if they wanted to exclude bulbs. They specifically listed fuses (which many might have assumed would be covered).
    The majority of cars probably make it through 3 years before any of the headlight bulbs go bad, so this is probably not a major cost to Toyota. Some small percentage of bulbs probably do burn out after 1 or 2 years and the majority don't until the basic warranty is over and they are better off just covering such a low cost item for 36 months.
  10. dragonfinder1

    dragonfinder1 Junior Member

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    Someone on PC stated that bulbs in general are not necessarily covered by warranty, however the LED headlights are a circuit, not a bulb, and they are covered.
  11. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    That's unless you leave the headlights on all the time, which some do and hence have replaced those bulbs many times before warranty is up.



    They better be because you can't change out the LED; the entire unit must be replaced at $800 a pop. So far, nobody here has ever encountered a burnt out LED headlight.
  12. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    There a no disclaimers on how many hours a year you are supposed to use your headlights. This is the only car I have ever had where any headlight bulbs wore out before the factory warranty expired. What if the bulb burned out after 2 weeks, 2 months, 11 months? If they continue to burn out every other year, that seems like a quality issue. This might be a one time fluke and maybe the next bulb will take a few more years to burn out.
    Again, they listed windshield wiper blades and fuses, but not bulbs. If any part that might wear out randomly were excluded from coverage, there would be no reason to itemize windshield wiper blades, brake pads and fuses.

    There should be no assumptions or subjective opinions on a warranty contract. "You probably had the lights on too much, so they wore out due to abuse."
    Toyota was free to print that it's not covered by the warranty and then the dealerships might consider covering it as a courtesy on a case by case basis if they wished, but headlight bulbs are not excluded during the first 36 months 36K miles according to what is printed in the warranty booklet.
  13. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    It's a sticky subject. The warranty guide says "normal maintenance services such as (list of excluded items)" aren't covered. Not much you can do if a service advisor tells you light bulbs are consumables just like any other maintenance items and refuse to cover them.
  14. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    Normal maintenance is done on a schedule or as wear reaches a certain level (pads, wiper blades, etc..). Every example they use is like that. It is a stretch to add bulbs to that list by assumption. It would have been easy to specifically add bulbs to the list if they wanted to.
    Covering a bulb during the period the car is 0-35 months old should not be a big deal that they should try to get out of. The damage to the customer relationship would be worse than the dollar amount to replace a bulb once (or more likely never) before the car crosses 36 months of age.
  15. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Uh, no, not a stretch at all. Ordinary light bulbs do have wear that reaches a certain level just like pads, wiper blades, etc., eventually burning out when the wear gets great enough.



    This is exactly why they voluntarily replace them even though they're not technically covered.
  16. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    Every moving part will wear out at some point, so if that was the warranty limitation, anyone could say anything that "wears" is not covered by the warranty for any period of time. Power window motor burned out after 8 months? "Oh, it moves and develops wear, so it's normal wear and not covered."
    So how many hours is normal? What if the the bulb burns out the day after a brand new car is driven off the lot? 6 weeks later? 6 months later? 16 months later? It isn't the service advisor's or dealerships role to decide for Toyota what is the cutoff point of weeks or months that it is normal or not normal for a bulb to wear out when the car is otherwise still under warranty.

    Some car makers cover these types of things for 12 months and then a more limited warranty for 36 months and then powertrain-only for 60 months. Some car makers, like BMW, cover everything including brake pads and windshield wiper blades the entire 48 months. Toyota does not differentiate what is covered under the basic warranty during month 1 vs month 35.
    The warranty booklet does not exclude bulbs and the dealership said it is covered and not that it isn't and they are only doing it an exception to be nice.
  17. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    Bottom line is I went to the dealer and told the service advisor that I just noticed one of the headlights stopped working and it was probably a burned out bulb and then asked if headlight bulbs are covered under the factory standard warranty. He asked what the mileage was and I told him and he confidently said "Yes."
    They replaced the bulb and marked the pay type as warranty with the bulb part number listed on the invoice. He seemed very confident as if he had done this item as a warranty claim several times before. It's also likely that their computer system is smart enough to flag items that would need some kind of override to submit as a warranty claim to Toyota.
    If I had read the warranty booklet before going to the dealer I would have expected the same outcome based on what's printed.
    Any other response would have required the service person to subjectively "read into" the wording and insert their personal opinion that headlamp bulbs are "normal wear" or maintenance exclusions by Toyota Motor Company definition regardless of mileage or age despite bulbs not being listed as such.
  18. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    I thought toyota would cover bulbs under the 36 bumper to bumper warranty. GM does i do know that.
  19. yeldogt

    yeldogt Member

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    I have never had a car where the bulbs were not covered under the initial new car warranty -- Lexus (I bet Toyota) specifically adds bulbs to the non-covered part of the CPO warranty ...... and I have been purchasing about 10 cars a year for the past 25 years

    Bulbs should always be covered as they are expected to last the length of the typical warranty and the vehicle is expected to function within that period. We drive with the headlights on -- and surprisingly replace very few bulbs.

    Items like brake pads and clutches are normally covered for a shorter period of time/ miles. If you went to your dealer with a pad failure on one wheel at 10k I would expect them to fix it ........ same goes for wiper blades .... but normally they are only for 3 months.
  20. web1b

    web1b Active Member

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    Yes, even the Toyota Vehicle Service Plans specifically itemize "light bulbs" in the list of exclusions where the factory warranty does not.
    http://www.toyotafinancial.com/cons...fs/en_US/document/vsa/Toyota_VSA_QRG_2011.pdf
    They even exclude "lamps" and "light bulbs" individually:
    Lamps (Back-up, Fog Light, Side Marker,
    and Turn Signal Light Assemblies)
    Light Bulbs


    That makes sense because after 3 years they would have been considered to have lived their life and they don't want to continue to cover them on 4, 5, 6 and 7 year old cars that will start burning out bulbs on a frequent basis.

    So, if a service advisor ever tells you that light bulbs are not covered within 3 years and 36,000 miles basic warranty period because he assumes that they should be considered a maintenance item exclusion, he is just making that up.
    I didn't have a problem with my service advisor even questioning that the bulb might not be covered, so maybe this is common knowledge to all of them.
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