How to Change a Lightbulb in a Priusby Roxanne McHenry
All Prius vehicle owners may change Prius light bulbs without going to a Toyota dealer’s service department, except for the optional or added accessory high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights and fog lights. According to Toyota's official 2008 Prius owner’s manual, Prius owners may change light bulbs for the following standard lights: front and rear turn signal, parking and marker lights, headlights (except HID headlights), tail lights and the license plate light.
Replace Prius Front Light Bulbs
Turn off the headlights and any lights whose bulbs you are changing to prevent burns; wait 5 to 10 minutes for the light bulbs to cool off. Check the wattage of the replacement light bulb to confirm it is correct.
Pull the lever next to the driver’s seat to unlock the Prius’ hood. Open the hood and place the support rod in the slot to secure it. Remove the front engine compartment cover using a Philips head screwdriver, or cross head screwdriver, to loosen the screw tabs, then set it aside.
Look in the engine compartment behind the front bumper for the headlight bulb. Pull the headlight connector out to unplug it; remove the rubber cover. Next, release the bulb retaining spring, remove the old bulb and replace with a new one. Then replace the headlight's rubber cover and plug the headlight connector back in.
Change the front turn signal light bulbs by locating the bulb base on the front side area inside the engine compartment, one on each side. Turn the bulb base counterclockwise, then remove the light bulb. Replace with a new light bulb, put the bulb base back in the same spot and turn the bulb base clockwise to lock it in place.
Change the other light bulbs for the parking and side marker light bulbs in the same manner as the front turn signal lights. Replace the front engine compartment cover and tighten down the screw tabs with a Philips head screwdriver.
Replace Prius Rear Light Bulbs
Open the hatch door and carefully remove the two light bulb cover panels on both sides of the car by pulling the tabs up. You will see three light bulb bases in a vertical row: The top is the rear turn signal light, the middle is the back up light and on the bottom are the tail and rear side marker lights.
Turn the bulb base counterclockwise and pull it out. Replace the old light bulb with a new one, put the bulb base back inside the panel and turn clockwise to lock back into place.
Change any other rear light bulbs on either side, then replace the cover panels by pressing the cover in place.
Remove the upper trim board on the hatch door behind the license plate by pulling down on the tab. Turn the license plate light bulb base counterclockwise and pull out. Replace the bulb with a new one, then put the bulb base back in place and turn clockwise to lock; replace the upper trim board back on the hatch door.
- “2008 Owner’s Manual - Prius;” Toyota Motor Corporation; 2007
- Toyota Prius Info (unofficial): Prius Owner's Manual (PDF)
- Check the owner’s manual for the correct light bulb and wattages.
- Hold the light bulb by the metal or plastic portion, not the glass.
Things You'll Need
- Prius light bulbs
- Philips head screwdriver
- Do not attempt to change any light bulbs immediately after turning off the lights.
- Use the correct parts to secure the light bulbs properly to prevent damage from a fire or water.
- Do not touch or take apart the HID sockets when the headlights are on to prevent a severe electrical shock or injury.
Roxanne McHenry has written online marketing articles and courses for Web publications including Affiliate Classroom and Web Pro News since 2002. McHenry has a B.A. in Japanese language and literature, and lived and worked in Japan as a teacher and technical translator.