• Jan 21, 2011
second generation prius headlightHaving trouble with the headlights of your second-gen (2006-2009) Toyota Prius? Apparently, you're not alone. In fact, 2,500 people complained in a class action lawsuit that the car's high intensity discharge (HID) headlights sometimes turned off without reason. Toyota has now agreed to a settlement of an undisclosed amount – potentially costing the company tens of millions of dollars – to get all of those headlights fixed.

The Los Angeles Times reports that eligible Prius owners will not only get money reimbursed to fix the lights, the headlight warranty will also be extended to five years/50,000 miles, up from three years/36,000 miles. Up to 320,000 Prius owners with HID lights could be affected. Starting in February, eligible owners will be notified by mail and they will have 90 days to register.

Even though this is probably an expensive settlement, by agreeing to it, Toyota does not need to go in front of a jury, risk a recall, and does not have to admit to any wrongdoing. The LAT learned that about half of the complaints regarding the 2006-2009 Prius in the NHTSA database were about "lighting, headlamps or visibility." Prius Chat has a detailed page on the issue, and recommends that even drivers who replaced an HID bulb after five years or 50,000 miles should submit a claim for reimbursement. Top tip, Danny!

[Sources: Los Angeles Times, Prius Chat]


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  • 53 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      No wonder I've seen so many 2nd gen Priuses running around with one HID headlight on!
      Not to mention those Prius drivers with DRL who forget to actually turn on their headlights at night (no rear lights on at all!)
      • 3 Years Ago
      We all know that Toyota can do no wrong, so why admit to it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      There was an add's in this morning's paper stating that they didn't become have to add illuminated cupholders to sell a gigillion Corollas!

      Is it just me or are they starting to feel the heat!?
        • 3 Years Ago
        boy o boy ... and I didn't spellcheck either!

        it's an ad, not add!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I obviously forgot part of my first sentence!!

        There was an add's in this morning's paper stating that they didn't have to add illuminated cupholders to sell a gigillion Corollas!

      • 3 Years Ago
      As hard as everyone is on Toyota, you have to realize it's not all their fault. I know hating on Toyota is the trendy thing to do these days, but it's not like they manufacture all their own parts, at what point will people start to hold suppliers responsible too? In an instance like this, it very well could have been the supplier of either the HID ballasts or bulbs that has an issue with their part. Look at the rusting frames issue. Those frames were supplied by Dana and they now owe Toyota $25 million over that. Sure, it makes Toyota look bad having frames rusting out on trucks, but you can't blame them for expecting a reputable company to supply a quality component for your vehicle.

      As far as the comment about non-functioning taillights. That's because a lot of vehicles for some reason are equipped with DRL's and NOT automatic headlights. Why you have one and not the other is beyond me, but a lot of vehicles do. And a lot of drivers are too stupid to realize their DRL's aren't their full headlight/taillights. I don't like DRL's myself but any car that has them should also have auto headlights since I see this all the time too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        These parts are made to Toyota specs, as are the parts other companies buy. In the end, the supplier is responsible for the quality control in the manufacturing process, but not the design. Most often when a company blames a supplier, it's really the faulty design that's to blame.
      • 3 Years Ago
      wow, Toyota just can't catch a break. It's just one thing after another...
        • 3 Years Ago
        att : Dan 9868 - You should ask General Motors, Ford and Chrysler about what it is like not to build cars correctly the first time considering thier extensive history of engineering amoung the poorest quality and most unreliable cars that have ever graced the road.
        • 3 Years Ago
        2006 and 2010 Prius owner here -

        I HAVE had the issue with my headlights in the 2006. One would just be out periodically, then I would turn them off and back on and they would be fine.

        I actually took to dealer (35,000 miles) but had the 100k Toyota warranty and they had the fixed back in 2008 in no time. I dropped off at 8AM got a car around 10. They picked me up at work and had my car. No complaints since. The car now has about 75,000 miles on it.

        It was my understanding (NOT from Toyota's mouth) that they received a bad batch of bulbs from whatever company it was. Nissan had a similar issue with their HID's at the same time and it was the same supplier.

        But anyway, I've honestly not had a single problem with the Prius since the headlight changing. They even changed my oil, rotated my tires and gave me a new cabin filter - total cost - $55. That's a steal from the dealer. This was before all their recalls and free service maintenance plans.

        So I've been treated very well. I know a lot of people (prius forums) show having to shell out large sums of money to get it fixed. I feel sorry that they don't have dealers like I have. A good dealer (oxymoron usually when it comes to cars) can make all the difference in the world!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Uhh, if you build garbage, don't expect a break. They made their bed, shat in it and now can have a nice nap.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You gotta admit that's awesome they get to give away millions without admitting wrongdoing. I wish I could do that - I would love to give away lots of money for doing nothing wrong.
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I see a car driving at night with no headlights on, more often that not it is a Prius. The HID recall only partially makes up for the ignorance shown by Prius drivers. Speaking of which, during my morning commute today I saw a Prius with only a small area of the windshield cleared of snow. The entire vehicle was covered in 6 inches of snow, including headlights, tailights and all windows. Literally driving through a peephole of clear front glass. They hadn't even used their wipers. It never ceases to amaze me...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Prius drivers are mentally crippled, hence their car choice and they way they operate it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Settling a lawsuit is an admission of guilt, just not publicly. If it was not their fault, they would fight it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good. HIDs should last the life of the car; if putting a 50K mile warranty on them results in a significant increase in claims, then something was truly defective with the design.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "wow, Toyota just can't catch a break. It's just one thing after another..".

      Reply
      Toyota has had a free ride in the press and breaks for years. Now that the focus is on their quality by the consumer, its hard for them to sweep their dirt under the rug.
      They never were perfect to begin with.
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's obviously something wrong with their HIDs. I live in a very Prius-heavy area, and I see at least a few Priuses every day that have one headlight out. As far as I can tell, it's only a problem with the HIDs though, not the base halogens.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You are correct. It was a set of the bulbs that were bad from the factory. Don't quote me, It was Delta, or something with a D that made the bulb.

        They went in mine about 35,000 miles. Replaced at the dealer free of charge.. then have been fine for another 40,000 miles so far. No issues. We will see what happens in another year or 2 but so far so good.

        It IS only the HID bulbs. Nothing wrong with software etc , just a bad batch of bulbs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is anyone truly surprised?

      As the owner of three INCREDIBLY reliable toyota's in the 90's, I'm saddened to see them become the next GM. Go back to your roots Toyota... quit dabbling in the realm of high profits and ridiculously large production volume. Go back to building cars that are intended to outlive their owners.
        • 3 Years Ago
        +1

        Though we were very happy with our '95 Toyota, people to whom we recommended the brand who bought later models had problems. We won't buy another. Neither will they.

        If Toyota did the right thing for customers when a problem is brought to its attention they wouldn't be in so much trouble. It's called integrity.
        • 3 Years Ago
        att : Sp33dkiz - please, don't ever insult Toyota but comparing them to the world's most incompetant car maker (GM). While i admit Toyota has endured some embarrassing recalls over the past 12mths, i can assure you with absolute confidance they continue to engineer amoung the highest quality cars the market has to offer whereas General Motors has an extensive history of manufacturing amoung the world's poorest quality and most unreliable cars of all time and remains no different today.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Aye, they started going downhill in the late 90's. They aren't terrible cars now, just aren't notably better than their competitors. But their incentives and resale values are coming down to reality, so it appears that this information is already priced in.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its not a problem with the headlights from the factory, its a unintendedly accelerating corolla that hit a rusted tacoma, that splits in half hitting a sienna minivan, causing the spare tire to fall off and hit the headlight of the Prius.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well done.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's funny because if your "recall" story were about Ford, GM or Chrysler, it'd fill many more pages...
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