Headlight problem

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by AlphaTeam, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. NewInNC

    NewInNC New Member

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    I'm still (strongly) considering purchasing a Prius, but this headlight issue is a decider, both for what it says about Toyota's overall quality and because headlights are important to me. I guess these problematic HID headlights only come Standard with the "Touring" model. Are the regular headlights on the non-Touring model OK?
     
  2. lsmike

    lsmike New Member

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    My input is buy the car. Not all the cars have the problem and Toy is no longer shipping the car with bad headlights. The higher the price of gas goes the happier I am I bought mine. Another interesting thing is that with the Prius, I don't have to shop for the right price any more as putting only six gallons in it doesn't result in much difference between stations. I do a 150 mile commute to San Diego and back daily, with a lot of hills thrown in, and now average about 52mpg.

    As to the Touring question, I don't know. I got the highest 2007 package, designated by a number, which I forget. I vaguely recall one with better looking wheels, but thought at the time they were dealer installed. Buy one, you'll be happy with it.....mike
     
  3. Michou

    Michou Member

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    In response to the above, yeah, the prius headlamp design is assinine, however, you do not have to remove the front bumper to replace the headlamps. I'm going to give a step by step how to as I have done a couple headlamp replacements in various prii, 04 to 08.

    For starters, it is a very good idea to disconnect the negative battery cable from the 12 v battery, and wait 10 or 15 minutes for things to discharge.

    After that, start on the drivers side by removing the fuse box cover, then, the connector which supplys power to the headlamp. It is a simple snap connector. Next, turn the black pastic cover on the back of the headlamp assembly counter-clockwise to remove, clockwise to tighten. This is usually a bear to remove, so I've learned to use the back of a good sized screwdriver to get it to turn. Once you've loosened the back housing cover, you will need to remove the connector on the back of the bulb, turn it counter-clockwise, do this gently as you don't want to break or damage it.

    After the above, you will need to remove the retaining clips that hold the bulb in place, they are on either side of the bulb and aren't very difficult to unfasten. Once you have the clips unfastened, you should be able to pull the bulb straight out without any difficulty. If the bulb isn't coming out easily, double check that you have removed everything mentioned above.

    Once the bulb is out, you will need to be very careful with the new one as any oils from your fingers on the glass will cause the bulb to get too hot and fail/blow. I recommend using either latex or nitrile gloves to install the new bulb/s.

    On the passenger side, you need to remove a small section of the black plastic air vent which is right next to the front of the winshield washer fluid reservoir, one snap fastener is all that holds it in place, so once you remove that, just lift it straight up and out.

    From there, the same steps from above apply for removing the passenger side headlamp bulb.

    Good luck and be patient, and most importantly, if something seems stuck or unable to be removed, stop what you are doing, take a closer look at what you are trying to remove/install, and think it through. Whatever you do, don't force it.

    Cheers,

    Michou
     
  4. jrmason

    jrmason New Member

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    Hi

    I have an '06 that is starting to have the headlight problem. Same as most of the posts the passenger side headlight just goes out after a few minutes or so. Sometimes turning the lights off and on again fixes the problem.

    I wonder if going with regular halogen headlight assemblys (e-bay $125 a side) and making up a new headlight harness and go back to the good ol' halogen bulbs. They may not be as bright but, are no way near as much trouble to buy or replace. One thing I noticed about the replacement headlights in this particular auction was they only fit cars up to the build date of 11/05. I wonder what the change was....

    Since the car is still under warranty I'll bring it in for the fantastic Toyota techs to fix. After that I might be replacing the headlights with more reliable halogens myself.

    Jon
     
  5. jamesbalch

    jamesbalch Junior Member

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    Michou,

    Thanks very much.
     
  6. jrmason

    jrmason New Member

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    Well thanks to Michou getting to the bulbs wasn't so bad. Getting the driver side light cover off was a real challenge.

    I ended up swapping the bulbs from right to left to see if the problem goes to the other side. So far no outages (it figures). I guess only time will tell.

    By the looks of things bad connections at the bulb could be the problem.

    I talked to Toyota and got the old "hmm, strange we'd have to check it out" line.

    Jon
     
  7. PDWadler

    PDWadler Prius (and Cubs) fanatic

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    I have a 2006 Prius with Package 6 and I'm having the same headlight problem everyone else is complaining about. I took my car into the dealer on Tuesday because the "check engine" light was on. Turns out I had screwed up the gascap, so that turned out to be no big deal. However, as I pulled into the dealership, the service guy said I had a headlight out and since I was still under warranty, he'd go ahead and fix it. I hadn't noticed the headlight was out. He said the bulb itself was $600 (which I guess was a lie, since I've read on here it is more like $350...whatever). OK, he fixed my car and did the 30K tune-up for which I got charged $800. I'm getting a little suspicious, but I went ahead with it because this dealer has been taking care of my car since I got it almost 2 years ago. Last night when I got home, I noticed the headlight was out again. I called today (I hadn't checked this forum yet) and he said he knew just what the problem was. Toyota just issued a new bulletin that said when you replace the bulb, DON'T replace the computer chip that goes with it. He says that must be the problem. Mine is the first Prius to come in since the bulletin and he just has to replace the computer hich should just take half an hour.

    Does this guy know what he's talking about, or am I getting the runaround?? Was there some kind of bulletin issued in the last week or so about headlights??:help:
     
  8. DGH

    DGH Thread Terminator

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  9. PDWadler

    PDWadler Prius (and Cubs) fanatic

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    Jeez! Now I really feel like an idiot! I wish I would ave thought to check this board before I agreed to the repairs. Do you think it would do any good to call Toyota and complain? By the way, don't trust Northside Toyota in Chicago!!!!!! I'm never going there for service again.
     
  10. DGH

    DGH Thread Terminator

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    I would talk to the dealerships general manager and follow up with a call to Toyota.

    Good luck!...Dan.

    And yes, time for a new dealer.
     
  11. cephas

    cephas Junior Member

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    Mine is a 06 and the same problem on the passenger side HID light.
    Nothing we can do about it?
    It is a well known problem and Toyota won't do anything about it? A recall?:mad::mad::mad:
     
  12. jrmason

    jrmason New Member

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    Hmmmm....

    So far so good. I swapped the bulbs from side to side to see if the problem continues. Well it's been a week or so and the lights have been working fine on both sides. I wonder if it is a bad connection on the bulb itself or alittle corrosion. I cleaned the bulb contacts before re-installing. I didn't clean the socket since it was recessed and I didn't have any Deoxit handy.

    I guess we'll see..

    Jon
     
  13. timg

    timg Junior Member

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    Add me to the list of people with the headlight issue. My problem is with the driver's side headlight.
     
  14. timg

    timg Junior Member

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    Made an appointment with my dealer for tomorrow. I gave them some of the case #'s from the Priusonline thread and I printed out this thread and the one from PO to bring in. I am out of warranty so I'm thinking it's going to cost me a lot of money to be able to drive at night with working headlights.

    Ugh..
     
  15. RNE10RN

    RNE10RN New Member

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    Hi - I have a 2004, and the driver's side headlight was intermittent in the fall 2007. It was never frequent enough that I thought it was worth the $350 bulb plus labor, and the local Toyota dealership could not diagnose it because they never saw it off. I did replace the constantly off passenger side headlight at about 100,000 miles - did it ourselves. Finally in Jan 08 after leaving from a routine service appt, it was OFF. They diagnosed that I needed to replace the headlight bulb and the headlight module ($400), plus labor. All of a sudden they said "lots" of Prius have this problem. I replaced the module and NOT the bulb despite heavy pressure from the service department. It worked fine for almost 3 months. Now the headlight is intermittent again - if I turn the lights off then back on - it works. Grrrrrr.
     
  16. jrmason

    jrmason New Member

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    I had swapped the HID Bulb from the intermittant passenger side to the driver side. The problem seemed to go away until the other day. I noticed the driver side bulb out now. (remember it was on the pass side) I brought it to Toyota and they replaced the bulb under warranty. They didn't need to see it out they took my word for it that it was intermittant. So far so good. I'll let you know it my troubles continue.


    Jon
     
  17. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    I think the bulbs Toyota used in certain lots were bad and they won't admit it.
    Swapping the bulbs around and the problem follows the bulb seems to make that obvious.
    HID bulbs are not created equal.

    Even if it is corrosion issues with the terminals, that should be obvious when visualizing the bulb.

    I think its an internal heat breakdown with resistance somewhere.

    Turning on and off, hits the bulb with the initial high voltage from the ballast to overcome the resistance until it settles down again.

    Sounds like its not the ballast, but the bulb.
     
  18. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    Could all be a matter of how your phrase the question....
    If you say.. "check everything out to see if there are any grounding issues etc".. they may charge you a fee to do that.

    On the other hand, if you say... my light is going off intermittently.. fix it.
    Its there problem as to how to fix it... some will replace only the bulb and cross thier fingers, others do the whole light assembly.

    The choice possibly depends on how much they think they will get reimbursed from Toyota to do the work.

    In todays world.. there are few true mechanics left that can diagnose and fix a problem... but there are many who can replace parts till it finally works, at the expense of the customer or warranty.

    The former is tedious, requires real know how, and takes allot of time with little payback financially, the latter is easy with much more profit involved since their time is freed up to work on other things and they often make profit just on the parts.
     
  19. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    Oh, and since my last post... my wifes 2006 prius "bought in the same month" has turned up with the exact same problem!... we both have two warning tickets from a police officer to prove it!
     
  20. CarolinaJim

    CarolinaJim New Member

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    Just to gauge how my toyota place treats the problem. The smallest guy in the shop replaced the driver's side bulb in the parking lot...the whole thing from driving up to leaving took about 30 minutes.

    No troubleshooting, diagnosis etc...they just changed the bulb.
     
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