headlights going off for no reason

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by cmcneal, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. cmcneal

    cmcneal New Member

    Jun 28, 2008
    2006 Prius
    my 2006 prius headlights keep going off for no reason. when they go off you can turn the lights switch off then back on and they both come back on. the drivers side has done it three times and they both have gone off once while driving at night. the drivers side went out today on my way to the dealer. the dealer told me it would be just over 600 dollars to replace both headlight light bulbs. just the bulbs. i filed a complaint with the nhtsa dot gov and found there were already 330 complaints of the same nature as mine concerning the headlights not working and it being a safety issue which in turn should a recall by toyota. i also contacted a law firm in CA who is dealing with the issue. i am waiting for a call back from them but here is their link www dot GIRARDGIBBS DOT COM/PRIUS.ASP

  2. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

    Mar 27, 2004
    United States
    2004 Prius
    [unhelpful post deleted]
  3. Prius 07

    Prius 07 New Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    2007 Prius
    I assume you have HID. Do a search in this forum on HID and you'll see many long threads on this issue as well as remedy for it. By now Toyota is well aware of this problem and they have been helpful to different degrees in resolving reported problems.

    Based on my experience as well as by many others I would recommend that you take copies of relevant threads to your dealer and show them that you're well informed about the magnitude of this problem with the HID. Ask them what they can do for you.

    When I informed Toyota and my dealer I did meet some resistance but the more information I showed them the more willing they were to help. (In Canada there is no HID so my dealer was much less informed about them. I do drive a US purchased Prius). The dealer ended up replacing my flickering HID with a new unit at no charge at about 30K miles.

    I recommend you go informed and don't go in heavy handed. Good luck,
  4. firepa63

    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

    Jul 23, 2005
    Other Hybrid
  5. Atoyotaprius

    Atoyotaprius New Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    2006 Prius
    cmcneal -

    I know that you have already done some of the items below, but I am posting my approach in it's entirety for the benefit of others who may have not yet begun to deal with their HID failure.

    1) Take your car to your dealer's service department and tell them that the HID headlight(s) are unexpectedly shutting off. Let the service writer know that you are aware that this is a common problem with HID equipped Prius (seems to be mostly 2005-2008). You should mention that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has registered over 480 Prius HID headlight safety complaints. You can review the complaints by visiting the NHTSA database at: www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/index.cfm. You can also mention Toyota's Technical Service Bulletin: T-SB-0030-08 "HID Headlight System - Diagnostic Tips". If your car is still within the 3 year / 36K mile warranty period then Toyota should cover the repair cost 100%. If your service writer tells you that the repair is not covered (he may say that the bulbs are not covered under the warranty or point out that your car is beyond the 3 year / 36K mile warranty period) then ask if the service manager would contact Toyota corporate and seek Toyota's approval to cover the cost under Toyota's customer goodwill or loyalty program. If your dealer refuses to fix the HID defect free of charge then get a repair quote and move on to step 2.

    2) Call the Toyota "Customer Experience Center" (This is Toyota's corporate customer service. Website: Toyota Help) at 1-800-331-4331. State that you have a safety defect with the headlights on your Prius. Say that you would like to report the problem to Toyota and open a case asking that Toyota repair the defect at no cost to you. The customer experience center representatives are extremely polite and will offer to open a case. They will supply you with a case number. They may take your information immediately or they may have someone call you back. You may want to call the 800 number and ask for Teresa at extension 73837. Teresa is very knowledgeable and helpful. She will know exactly what you are talking about when you mention the Prius headlight issue. You should be polite but firm. This is a serious safety problem and you know that it is a common problem on HID equipped Prius. They may start out by offering to cover 20% to 50% of the repair cost. Be firm and insist on 100% coverage.

    3) File a formal safety complaint with the NHTSA.
    Headlights that unexpectedly shut off while driving is clearly a safety issue. And it does appear that HID headlight equipped Prius indeed contain a design defect. Reporting a safety defect to the NHTSA is the first step in forcing Toyota to conduct a recall.

    There are three ways to file a complaint...
    Call the Vehicle Safety Hotline:
    Call 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 toll free (1-800-424-9153, for use by persons with hearing impairments)

    File the complaint on-line:
    File the complaint on-line at the NHTSA vehicle safety Web site: safercar.gov. Select “File a Complaint†within the Defects and Recalls section of the home page. Or just click here: File a Complaint

    U.S. Mail:
    Send a letter to:
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
    1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
    Washington, DC 20590
  6. biglou10

    biglou10 New Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Good for you! Thanks for the post. I'm so mad, I could spit! My left headlight would do the same. When I took my Prius to the Dealer, I was quated $300.00 to replace. I thought with that kind of pricetag for a simple headlight and with my 100,000 bumper to bumper warranty, it would be covered. Fat Chance. Then my rear lights went off and on. Dealer claims it's a bulb problem and had to pay $500.00 plus for one headlight and taillights. I asked the dealer how do light bulbs just go off and on at will? Once again, they claim the controller is fine. I paid! Same day of repair, the right side goes off and on. Another $300.00?
    I think I will spit!