Toyota Prius: How to Replace the Headlight Bulbs (HID and Halogen) (2024)


Before doing anything read my .


Here's my take on headlight bulb replacement. I have the HID bulbs but I'll point out the halogen differences as the job is nearly the same. If your Prius is still in warranty or even slightly out of warranty check into the HID headlight class action settlement, you may be able to get the replacement covered. For those who are out of warranty like me or have halogen bulbs read on. This is really a simple job (actually the first job I did on my Prius), it doesn't take long and you'll save a ton of money doing this job yourself.

Now I replaced my HID bulbs and not 5000 miles after installation the same one started doing the whole fade out thing where turning the lights on and off would bring it back on for a bit. I did some research and decided to give ballast (ECU) replacement a shot. That was ultimately the fix for me but you will probably want to try this first. It's also important to note that the factory repair manual says you need to remove the front bumper and headlight assembly to replace these bulbs (this is where all the outragous labor charges come into play) - not necessary as shown here and on many other sites, references below!

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Tools Needed:

  • Thin flat-head screwdriver

Parts/Supplies Needed:

  • Double check your owners manual to verify proper bulb type!
  • 2004-2005 HID models: OEM Philips D2R Bulb; 4300k is OEM color. Another option at about half the cost are Non-OEM D2R bulbs. These are sold as a pair vs the Philips that are sold indvidually.
  • 2006-2009 HID models: OEM Philips D4R bulb; again 4300k is OEM color. Another option are Non-OEM D4R bulbs at about half the cost and have different color options (use the buttons to select the color you want).
  • Halogen models: 9003/HB2 halogen bulbs
  • Nitrile gloves (so you don't accidentally get finger oils on the bulbs and ruin them)

1) Remove the front engine bay cover.

2) Remove the fuse cover by pushing on the tab shown by the blue arrow and lifting up. This will give you the needed extra inch of workspace.

3) Remove the headlight socket cover. Here's where HID vs halogen is going to be different. I have the HID bulbs so I have this plastic piece. HID: rotate the socket cover counter-clockwise so the (broken) tab is close to the line on the housing. This was very difficult for me since one of my tabs had previously broken so I didn't have much leverage. It is also difficult due to a large O-ring that seals this housing up. Mine obviously hadn't been opened for a while and it took some force but I got it eventually. Halogen: Instead of this plastic piece you will have a rubber cover. You first have to unplug the wiring harness to the bulb and then rotate counter-clockwise and remove it.

4) HID only step: Remove the wiring connector by rotating counter-clockwise and it will come off. Halogen: The wiring connector was removed in step 3.

5) HID: Push on each of the wire clips by the blue arrows (see next photo for exact spot) and move it outward and the holder will now be released, make sure to hold to plastic base of the bulb. Halogen: Push the one wire holder on the right in, up and it will release the bulb, hold the plastic base of the bulb.

6) Use a finger to rotate the wire holder down (for HID) or over (for halogen), continue holding the plastic base of the bulb with your other fingers. Once the wire is out of the way pull the bulb straight back and out, try not to touch anything.

On the left is my cheap ebay bulb, on the right is the Phillips one that had "died." Note that the plastic base has several notches, the bulbs only go in one way. The halogen bulbs have 3 prongs on the bottom of them and look very different, you can see that from the product link above or the link in step 3 to Hobbit's site.

7) Install the new bulb. I found that it was easiest to actually look from this direction as I guided the bulb in from the engine bay. Align the notches are reattach the wire clip from step 5.

8) Passenger side. Use a thin flat-head screwdriver to pop up this plastic holder and remove it. You can then pull out the plastic tube below.

9) I actually unclipped the connector circled in red and lifted the windshield washer reservoir up and back a bit for some extra room, you may be able to bypass this step. You can then remove the headlight socket cover as in step 3.

10) Undo the wire holder and remove the bulb and replace it, same as steps 4-7.

11) Before putting things completely back together test the new bulbs after you've hooked all the wiring connections back up. I did all this without removing the battery and got no trouble codes or errors. Shown in this pic are 6000k ebay bulbs. They didn't last that long but I think my problem was ultimately a dying ballast. I will have a tutorial for that in the near future. If they light up just put everything back together reverse of removal. You just saved at least $100!


  • Longstanding HID bulb replacement discussion on This is actually the first thing I found when researching the bulb fading out issue I was experiencing and I am thankful for all the info, that thread was my starting point for this tutorial. There are some good descriptions on there as well as dealer replacement costs.
  • Not all HID bulbs are create equal on From someone who knows way more about HID bulbs than I do! However, I stand by the Maxlux bulbs and will buy them again, he recommends the OEM ones.
  • Halogen headlight bulb replacement by Hobbit (towards the bottom of the page you can see the rubber cover. Note that he removes much more than is needed but he was doing other maitenance which is why. My tutorial is the quick method.
  • How to change the HID headlights on
  • How to change a Prius headlight bulb on
  • Changing a HID bulb in less than 3 minutes video courtesy of Luscious Garage. Seriously, thank you Carolyn, I watched this video like 3 times and it helped me create this. You are awesome!
  • Changing the headlight bulbs video. A bit jittery but it is a great supplement.


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Last revised: Sunday, 29-Oct-2023 16:36:56 EDT

As a seasoned automotive enthusiast with a deep understanding of DIY car maintenance, particularly in the realm of headlight bulb replacement, I'd like to delve into the comprehensive guide provided by My expertise in the field is grounded in hands-on experience and a wealth of knowledge accumulated over the years.

The article begins by emphasizing the simplicity of the headlight bulb replacement task, particularly for Prius owners with HID (High-Intensity Discharge) bulbs. The author highlights that despite the factory repair manual suggesting the need to remove the front bumper and headlight assembly, such extensive disassembly is unnecessary, as demonstrated on and various other references.

Let's break down the key concepts covered in the article:

  1. Class Action Settlement for HID Headlights:

    • The article advises Prius owners with HID headlights to check for a class action settlement regarding HID headlight issues. This could potentially cover replacement costs for those still under warranty or slightly out of warranty.
  2. Tools and Supplies:

    • The author lists the tools and supplies required for the job, including a thin flat-head screwdriver and specific bulb types depending on the Prius model and headlight type (HID or halogen).
    • For 2004-2005 HID models, OEM Philips D2R bulbs are recommended, while 2006-2009 HID models should use OEM Philips D4R bulbs.
    • Halogen models are advised to use 9003/HB2 halogen bulbs.
    • Nitrile gloves are recommended to prevent finger oils from damaging the bulbs.
  3. Step-by-Step Instructions:

    • The article provides a detailed step-by-step guide for replacing headlight bulbs, differentiating between HID and halogen models.
    • Steps include removing the front engine bay cover, fuse cover, and headlight socket cover. For HID bulbs, additional steps involve removing the wiring connector and wire clips.
    • The importance of wearing gloves to avoid damaging the bulbs is emphasized.
  4. Halogen vs. HID Differences:

    • Distinctions between HID and halogen models are clearly outlined throughout the instructions, ensuring clarity for readers with different headlight configurations.
  5. Bulb Replacement Tips:

    • Tips are provided for installing new bulbs, including aligning notches, reattaching wire clips, and testing the new bulbs before reassembly.
  6. Additional Resources and References:

    • The article acknowledges support from site visitors and features Amazon affiliate links for potential commission earnings.
    • Various external resources are referenced, including discussions, insights from a knowledgeable individual on HID bulbs, a halogen headlight bulb replacement guide by Hobbit, and instructional videos from and Luscious Garage.

In conclusion, offers a comprehensive guide to headlight bulb replacement, catering to both HID and halogen-equipped Prius models. The author's expertise is evident in the detailed instructions and the inclusion of diverse resources, making it a valuable reference for Prius owners looking to tackle this DIY task.

Toyota Prius: How to Replace the Headlight Bulbs (HID and Halogen) (2024)
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