Wednesday, June 01, 2011

$500 or $50 + about an hour

So the driver's side headlight on the Prius has been going on and off. So I started doing a bit of research. Apparently this is a sign that the HID (read EXPENSIVE) bulb is burning out. Toyota apparently got a bad batch of bulbs when they were building the '06 models. For $350 worth of parts and 1.5 hours of labor (I figure $500 total at least) the local dealership will be more than happy to replace both headlights for me (this based on Googling, not an actual quote).

So I headed to my friendly auto parts store. I figured I could do it myself. They wanted a mer $149 per bulb. Time to head to the great online shopping world. I found a place where I can get order a pair of bulbs for $50 shippped (with a 1 year guarantee, since they are willing to go upto a 3 year guarantee for $12 they will last a while). So, I figure I can swap them a couple of times for the $350 Toyota wants.

Then the fun began. First I tried following the instructions in the car's manual. They left out a few steps. Back to the internet, more luck (at least for the passenger side). To get to the driver's side bulb the 1st recommendation was to pop the top off of the fuse box to give you more arm room. This might work for someone with skinnier arms than me (and mine aren't that large). Back to the web. Ah, remove the entire headlight assembly, which requires detaching the bumper.

So, an hour and a half later, both headlights are swapped out. And now that I know how to do it I bet I can swap them in 30 minutes.

1 comment:

H. Wright said...

I am very sure that no one in the engineering department was thinking about maintenance when they planned that car. That is almost as bad as having to pull the back part of your engine up to get to spark plugs. Maybe since you don't have spark plugs that are inaccessible, they designed in the inaccessible head light! It is a feature.