How to Replace the Headlights on a Toyota Prius

picture of a toyota prius

Replacing a headlight bulb on a Toyota Prius is a relatively simple procedure that can be done with very few tools, saving you time and money. Headlights are one of the most important components to vehicle safety. When they are not functioning properly - usually due to a burned-out bulb - visibility is not only reduced for the driver in the vehicle, but also the visibility of the vehicle itself to other drivers on the road.

In this step-by-step guide, we will cover how to replace both the driver and passenger side headlight bulbs in a Toyota Prius. This guide covers all models up to the most current Toyota Prius; the procedure for headlight installation of all of generations of the Toyota Prius is very similar, with only very minor variations.

Part 1 of 2: Replacing a headlight bulb on the driver’s side

Materials Needed

  • Basic set of hand tools
  • Correct replacement bulb for your vehicle
  • Flashlight
  • Nitrile gloves (optional)

HID headlight bulb

Step 1: Identify and obtain the correct bulb for your Prius. It is important to identify which specific bulb your Prius has.

Different model years will come equipped with different bulbs, and the high and low beams will vary.

Later model years will even offer multiple options for headlight bulbs in the same year, offering the brighter high intensity discharge (H.I.D) bulb along with the traditional halogen.

Research online or refer to your owner’s manual to identify the exact type of bulb your Prius is equipped with.

headlight assembly behind driver side

Step 2: Clear the area behind the driver’s side headlight bulb. Remove any components obstructing access to the rear of the headlight.

This will allow for more room when removing and installing the headlight bulb. Some Prius models will require you remove the cover to the fuse panel lid, as well as a plastic air vent in order to be able to access the headlight.

Most of the vehicle’s plastic components, such as the trim and ducting, are held on with plastic retainer clips that need only be gently pried loose with a small flathead screwdriver.

close up of HID style bulb

Step 3: Remove the headlight bulb. Once you can reach the area behind the driver’s side headlight, gently disconnect the bulb’s electrical connector and remove the bulb.

If your Prius is equipped with halogen bulbs, removing them will be a simple matter of undoing the metal retainer clips by pressing on them to free the bulb, or by simply twisting the bulb free from its socket, depending on the style of bulb.

If your Prius is equipped with H.I.D. bulbs, then a plastic dust cover may need to be removed before the connector can be reached and the bulb accessed.

Step 4: Install the new headlight bulb. Take care to properly align the bulb in the socket and make sure that it’s correctly secured.

  • Note: Do not touch the bulb with your bare fingers, as that may shorten the life of the bulb.

Part 2 of 2: Replacing the headlight bulb on the passenger side

Materials Needed

  • Basic set of hand tools
  • Correct replacement bulb for your vehicle
  • Flashlight
  • Nitrile gloves (optional)

view behind passenger side headlight bulb

Step 1: Clear the area behind the passenger side headlight. Remove any components obstructing access to the rear of the passenger side headlight.

The passenger side headlight bulb is usually easier to access than the driver’s side; however, there may be instances where components need to be removed in order to create more room to maneuver.

Remove any components, such as trim pieces, ducting, or fluid reservoirs if they are obstructing your access to the bulb.

headlight bulb with harness connected

Step 2: Remove the passenger’s side headlight bulb. Gently disconnect the headlight bulb’s wiring harness and remove the bulb.

If necessary, remove any dust covers that may be obstructing access to the bulb and harness, before disconnecting and undoing the bulb by twisting it free or undoing the retaining clips.

Step 3: Install the new headlight bulb. Connect your new bulb, taking care to make sure that it is properly aligned and secured.

Toyota Prius with headlights turned on

Step 4: Check to make sure that both of your headlights are functioning. Turn on your vehicle’s headlights manually to make sure that they are functioning correctly.

If one or both of your headlights are not working, make sure that that the electronic connectors are properly connected and not loose.

For the most part, replacing the headlight bulbs on a Toyota Prius is a straightforward procedure that requires very few tools. However, if you do not feel comfortable carrying out the above steps on your own, a professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can come to your home or place of business to replace your headlight bulbs for you at a reasonable price.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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