The $400 Headlight

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Skarka, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Skarka

    Skarka Junior Member

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    One of my headlights is pink when I turn it on and after awhile it just dies. Toyota says the bulb alone is $392.24. But, it may be the "computer". $446.14. For the "computer"....the thing that tells the bulb ON...OFF. :blink:

    Between this and the $700 MFD replacement, I'll be answering "NO" to that Toyota question. I just saw some research on Prius sales from a marketing friend. Sales are dropping. Could just be market saturation, but it's a steep drop.
     
  2. brick

    brick Active Member

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    Are we talking about HIDs? If I were you I would be searching the net for info on HID light failure modes. There has to be something out there explaining your symptom.
     
  3. cbs4

    cbs4 Member

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    No need to even venture out onto the 'net, as there are plenty of reported HID failures to peruse right here on PriusChat.

    But no definitive answers as to the cause.

    Should consumers be expected to know the cause of why parts aren't made to last a reasonable amount of time?

    That's why consumers buy products, rather than build them themselves... on the assumption that the money they trade is rewarded with usable value. A car without headlights is unusable. It has zero value on some roads (per the law) and at night, no matter how green and no matter how good of gas mileage it gets.

    So don't get HIDs? Well, to get other safety enhancements with the Prius, like VSC, or personal preference options, like leather, the HID lights come as a required part of the package. HID's are non optional on Pri with certain pkgs. (but pkg groupings may have changed for 07 or 08, I don't know).

    The point is that consumers can't just opt for halogens instead of HIDs if they want other features.

    Nor can consumers retrofit halogens instead of HIDs because the wiring for halogens is entirely different to carry the higher current, and this wiring is integrated into the entire vehicle harness.

    And do other HID equipped cars have this same unreliablity? I have not heard of such, but I haven't owned another car with HIDs either.
     
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Skarka @ Jul 14 2007, 05:52 PM) [snapback]478851[/snapback]</div>
    My 04 350Z has HIDs and are still fine (got the car on Labor Day weekend of 03). I used to have an 02 Nissan Maxima w/HIDs and they held up. At the time, I didn't know of any failures, so it seemed like they were of good quality. The 02 model year was the 1st year they were standard, so I'd be curious how they're holding up.

    As for costs, a pair of HIDs for the above Maxima are $1356! (http://www.courtesyparts.com/Mercha...=PROD&Store_Code=CP&Product_Code=2002HID-PAIR) 02-03 Maxes were common targets of HID theft in NY, NJ and a few other states.

    As for Prius sales dropping, that sounds like BS to me. Per http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2007/07/03/054039.html, they're up 93.7% YTD compared to the same point last year. For June 07, they were up 76.3% compared to June 06. For all of 06, they were down a tad (0.5%) compared to 05 per http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?...YT2007010356633.
     
  5. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    you're getting ripped on the bulb, unless they're including an hour of labor in that quote.

    and if they're replacing the bulb, they shouldn't be double charging you for labor to remove the bumper to replace the computer too. (not sure of the charge for a computer, actually.) not that an experienced tech who knows what he's doing needs to actually remove the bumper- there's a good trick to it.

    the computer actually steps up the voltage to a high enough level to ignite the HID bulb, which works on the order of several thousand volts. it's far more than an on-off switch. the HID system is overall pretty expensive and in some ways, as you're seeing, more sensitive as well.

    $700 for an MFD... hmm... remanufactured one costs about $500, so you got price gouged or labor gouged.
     
  6. voscott

    voscott Junior Member

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    The $500 Headlight Replacement

    I have a 2007 Prius I purchased in October of 2006 and recently have had the same problem with the lower HID headlight. Many people were commenting that they noticed that one of my headlights was out. I thought I had lost my mind as everytime I checked it was fine with or without the highbeams on.

    Last week when I picked up my son from school he told me the light was out and I immediately hopped out of the car and sure enough it was out. It seems to be an intermittent problem in my car.

    Being the DIY (do it yourselfer) that I am I rushed right over to the Kragen to pick up the new HID headlight bulb for $24 and then proceeded to go out to my car out front and lift the hood only to find that the lower headlight is completely inaccessible to the DIY.

    I then drove two blocks to the Toyota Dealer and spoke to the service guy who told me this was a $500 job and the bulb alone was $305. I was shocked to say the least that I had just purchased the same bulb for $24 and that Toyota in all their infinite wisdom had made such a simple function of replacing a headlight impossible for the tons of environmentally concious and active buyers/owners of Prii.

    The nice service rep told me that he had seen the same problem before and wondered why Toyota hadn't stepped up to the plate and done a recall for this problem.

    Luckily, the service rep told me that my car was still under warranty and I have an appointment this week to to have the problem diagnosed and hopefully resolved.

    Not to mention, I believe Toyota should subsidize the Headlight Replacement since their design flaw requires that you remove the entire headlamp/lens assembly and the bumper as well to replace a simple lightbulb. $500 to replace a headlamp is preposterous for a vehicle of this category.

    I do intend to forward this concern along to Toyota as well for what it is worth.
     
  7. TheAnnoyingOne

    TheAnnoyingOne New Member

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    Could you post a picture of the $24 HID bulb?
     
  8. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    you don't have to remove the headlight assy and bumper to replace an HID... and where on earth did you get a $24 HID bulb?!

    ~$300 is right for an oem HID.

    at any rate, there seems to be an issue with the HID controller here that people are reporting. DH left the biz before he saw one in person but apparently there have been enough reported now that toyota has a standard procedure called "replace it all and hope that fixes it"
     
  9. KTPhil

    KTPhil Active Member

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    There are many bogus so-called "HID" lamps being sold by unscrupulous suppliers and retailers. You probably got a "xenon" or other halogen variant, perhaps tinted blue to (sorta) LOOK like HID, but they are NOT actually HID bulbs.
     
  10. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    You can get cheap, Chinese-made replacement HID lamps on Ebay for a little over $30 per bulb, shipped. You can get entire HID conversion kits (ballasts, bulb, wiring) for under $100. The quality may be questionable, but they do exist.
     
  11. voscott

    voscott Junior Member

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    Sylvania 9300ST (SilverStar)

    I did take a closer look at the Bulb and in fact it doesn't appear to be HID but this SilverStar stuff.

    Luckily, all I have to do is return it as this will be covered under warranty.
     
  12. N3FOL

    N3FOL Member

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    HID's

    I hope I do not have the same problem with my '08 HID's. From what I've read on HID bulbs, there are suppose to last longer than regular halogen bulbs almost 3X longer. So for an '07, Toyota should cover this flaw under warranty (at least 3 years) if I'm not mistaken. :rolleyes:
     
  13. GigaTigga

    GigaTigga New Member

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    Hi all. I just got my prius a couple weeks ago, and this thread has got me worried! Do i have this to look forward to in a couple years? I have an 08 package 6 with HID lights.
     
  14. Dave

    Dave New Member

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    Keep in mind that for every post about failing HID lamps, there are many many more that are operating without problems. I got my Prius in February of '04. It' has almost 108,000 miles on it. The majority of my driving takes place at night, as I work the night shift. My HID's are fine.
     
  15. Boo

    Boo Boola Boola Member

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    As Dave said, generally you don't have anything to worry about. However, the fact that you have HID lights and they are costly to replace or repair, is another reason why the 7yrs/100,000 miles Platinum Care Extended Warranty available here for $990 is I think a good insurance buy.
     
  16. TheAnnoyingOne

    TheAnnoyingOne New Member

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    There are a number of posts on HID failures.

    It has been more or less established that Toyota had a batch of HID bulbs that created problems on the 2006 model year.
    I believe that most if not all instances were covered under warranty -
    At least in my case the dealer qualified the in-warranty replacements (left at 28K and right at 32K miles) as a safety hazard.

    From day one I was keeping my lights continuously on - which most probably contributed to the early failures. I never completely lost any of the lights , they would randomly blink off and by turning then off and on again they would operate for days with no problem. Since they were replaced I turn them on only at night or if it rains.

    The HID's by their nature can not "burn" in the same sense that the traditional type bulbs (regular or halogen) do.

    In the traditional bulbs the filament (usually made out of tungsten) emits light because it gets extremely hot by the current that flows through it.
    During its lifetime the filament material slowly "evaporates" and deposits itself on the glass envelope of the bulb.
    This has two effects:
    A) The glass envelop becomes darker with time and
    the filament becomes thinner which causes it to draw a higher current, operates hotter and this in turn accelerates the "evaporation" .
    At some point "puff" the filament brakes and the bulb needs replacement.

    In the halogen bulbs the same as above take place only the filament "evaporation" is much slower due to the "halogen cycle": http://www.goodmart.com/facts/light_bulbs/halogen_cycle.aspx

    In the HID bulbs the light emitted is the result of an arc between two axial electrodes that are close together. The arc is sustained by ionizing the Xenon gas in the bulb. The actual voltage across the electrodes is quite low (18 to 48 vdc) but the current is relatively high (15+ A). Because of the low voltage the arc can not start by itself when voltage is applied, it needs some form of "ignition". The later is achieved using a whopping 25000 volts short pulse.

    The power supply for an HID contains a number of components that convert the 12 V from the battery to the "operational" and "ignition" voltages and control the exact timing that these voltage will be applied to the bulb. (and makes it a quite expensive box).

    The HIDs have a specified life expectancy that is dependent both on the number of hours that the lamp is on and on the number of ignition cycles.

    Finally in the cars using HID the high/low beam is achieved through a mechanical shield that covers (low) or exposes (high) more of the bulb envelope. In effect it changes the geometry of the emitted light relative to the reflector in the housing.

    If you look at the Prius HIDs from the side and have somebody flick the high/low beam switch you will see the shield moving back and forth.


    Hope I did not generate more confusion with this:rolleyes:
     
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  17. voscott

    voscott Junior Member

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    The $500 headlight update

    Just got news from my service tech at the dealer and in fact the relay and ballast both need to be replaced. There is a nationwide backorder on the parts. I wonder why?

    I still think that Toyota made a mistake in creating a situation where an owner can't make a simple lamp replacement on their own withour taking it to the dealer or an independant mechanic to provide this service.

    I'm all for service, but when a simple headlamp replacement on a 24 to 32K car costs $500 this is a problem.

    Won't be using those headlamps during the day anymore to save the lamps...

    Oh and by the way, I have a 2007 prius package 6 with only about 21K on it.

    I do still love my Prius.
     
  18. TheAnnoyingOne

    TheAnnoyingOne New Member

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    A bit of interesting info - we were talking about HIDs at the dealership I take the Prius for service and they had two 2006 with HID issues. In both cases it was not the bulb, the controller or the relay. It was a lousy interconnecting wire (bulb - controller) that was fried - too thin for the current !!!!!!!!!!
     
  19. okiebutnotfrommuskogee

    okiebutnotfrommuskogee Senior Member

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    Old Fashion Lights

    Sure glad that I have a "cheap" 07 prius with regular lights.
     
  20. johnjohnchu

    johnjohnchu Member

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    Re: Old Fashion Lights

    One can get a complete HID conversion kit for as little as $50 on eBay. Anyway, most of the Prius HID head light issues, such as intermittent on/off, is due to bad OEM bulbs. A set of new D4R bulbs cost around $85 on eBay. Original HID bulbs can be accessed through the backside of the head light assembly with small hands. Otherwise, wind shield washer fluid tank and fuse box may need to be moved slightly out of the way to gain better access.
     
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