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Toyota Avalon 2008-2010



  • Just replaced the passenger side on my '08 for the first time. It took less than 10 minutes, no tools except for a flashlight and I paid $50 on Amazon for a German made Phillips bulb (quality of aftermarket Chinese bulbs varies so much that I would avoid any of them) I'll order another bulb but really don't see a problem waiting until the driver's side starts acting like the passenger side (bulb goes out while driving but comes back on after cooling down).
    Maybe I did something wrong but it seemed no more difficult than replacing a bulb on a mini-van

    Here is what I did (except I skipped disconnecting the battery);
    disconnect battery
    note the position "Lock ->" lettering on the outer cover for when you replace it
    rotate the outer saucer dish size plastic cover until loose and remove it
    rotate the connector until the spring tabs are loose and remove the connector
    release the spring clips on both sides
    note the position/orientation of the tabs on the bulb as you remove it
    Install the new bulb making sure it's seated
    push spring clips back into place on both sides
    reinstall connector making sure the friction tabs are engaged
    turned on the lights to make sure they worked
    reinstalled the outer cover
  • Points of clarification:

    What model is your Avalon? The issues of difficult replacement under discussion here are exclusive to the HID headlights found only on the Limited.

    What bulb are you referring to? The issue has never been difficulty replacing the High Beams (which also, unfortunately, as wwest has pointed out on this forum, function as the DRL's. That entails running them at substandard voltage, which in turn heads to excessive heat buildup and bulb shattering). Those are easy to replace.

    The problem is replacing the HID low beams. While some have succeeded without doing this, the shop manual specifies dropping the front bumper to replace these bulbs. The "official" cost to replace a HID bulb is in the neighborhood of $400.

    And, if you haven't been following this thread, if you have a Limited, and can show that your high beams have needed replacement, Toyota has agreed to replace the entire headlight assembly under an extended warranty. That's something on the order of a $2500 repair normally. See the posts up higher for the details.
  • I have the Touring and it, too, has lo-beam HID bulbs. They can be replaced without removing the bumper in the same manner as the Hi-beams. Be careful to get the bulbs properly seated or the self-leveling mechanism will not work correctly.

    In my opinion, Toyota has DROPPED THE BALL on the lo-beam issue by limiting the replacement to 75,000 miles. It is clearly a designed failure and should apply to all affected vehicles. I drive A LOT of miles and have replaced the lo-beams 3 times--the first time at 81K, so I have no recourse--despite my letter to Toyota CS!
  • I have a 2008 Touring with the HID low beams. As I said, replacement of the passenger bulb was a 7 minute no tool job. The only "trick" is to note the orientation of the bulb and the outer cover.

    It's a real piece of cake compared to a 2002 Dodge mini-van or most othe mini-vans I've had the misfortune to have to replace.
  • sury1sury1 Posts: 4
    Today noted that driver side low beam light gone again. Cop stopped me to notify this problem today. Fortunately he did not ticket me. This is second time on driver side. Passenger side replaced thrice already.

    Why did the toyota people acknowledge this issue which is very abvious design issue. Is there anything we can do escalate the issue with toyota.

  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    Doubt there's much leverage out there. One thing I should do that I haven't is to post a safety complaint with NHTSA. If they get enough, they may investigate if it's perceived as a true risk and if there are enough complaints received.
  • kbetts1kbetts1 Posts: 36
    That's not how the world works. Toyota is in a business to sell cars. They replace the parts that fail for 3 years/36k. If you want more than that they sell an extended warranty. A world where the car maker takes care of every issue your car has would mean they all would go out of business within a year.

    Toyota can't control they way you drive so everyone will have a different experience with their cars. If enough people have a problem that's a safety issue Toyota will do something. A bulb burning out isn't a safety issue or the LEO would have kept you from driving it.

    HID bulbs need to stay on or stay off. They operate on a completely different method than an incandescent bulb. Switching between high and low beam isn't good for them. If you have a Limited, turn off the auto high/low switch mode to extend it's life.

    Toyota sold you a pretty good car. It's not perfect and neither are you. The problem could be the car or it could be they way you are using it. Sometimes you just have to figure out for yourself where the problem is and find a way to live with it.
  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    No one is complaining about Toyota not covering routine maintenance items. I am not whining about wiper blades or brake pads. Your response is a model of inaccuracy, and I'd suggest you do some homework before commenting. Viz:

    1. A bulb burning out IS a safety issue. That's why the police can pull you over and ticket you if that happens. And you seriously think that losing BOTH low beams within a few days of each other and trying to drive on just the feeble high beams is safe?

    2. There is no "auto high/low switch" on a Limited. There is an Auto switch, which turns the low beams on based on prevailing darkness, and it is the preferred setting, since with the advent of DRL's, drivers are constantly driving without turning on their headlights, thinking the feeble DRL glow is their actual headlights. The high beams are activated only manually using the wiper stalk.

    It is true that sticking strictly to manual use of the low beams would enhance bulb life--but that's laughable to have to consider, given that other manufacturers offer cars that can use Auto switching on headlights, and, HID or Halogen, keep them functional for 50, 75, or 100K miles. If you find a 1-2 year lifespan acceptable for an $800 set (Toyota's list price) of HID bulbs, you set your standards way too low.

    3. Justifying mediocrity is not my style. If you suggest that leaving the headlights on Auto, and expecting them to survive for more than one to two years is unreasonable, then you probably are driving a '93 Chevy Geo Metro and are thinking "this ain't bad at all, I just have to live with it."

    4. Five recalls in three years, three sets of HID bulbs, two sets of halogen high beams, a non functional rear sunscreen that dealer was unable to remedy (fuse has been pulled, so yes, I "live with it"), sure, that may meet your definition of "pretty good car." But I know I can do better next time :)
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Posts: 231
    You give me reason to believe that you are in the PR business, and have Toyota for a client. The spin on a real issue is pretty good!
  • spallen2spallen2 Posts: 1
    Dealer says the whole assembly is bad. Both sides. Over 1000.00 each. How can the whole assembly be bad. My lights go off intermittently I've had both go off at the same time -- driving in the dark. Dangerous. I can't find any suitable alternative than the Toyota parts. They say it's not the bulbs. Anyone know what to do? I would appreciate help here.
    Could you elaborate on how you fixed the DRL low voltage problem. I recently purchased a 2009 Avalon and both high beam lights were shattered. Are the DRL lights wired separately from the headlights so it is just interrupting the circuit with another LED circuit? Thanks
  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    edited March 2012
    Please see my post #879 above. It goes over the details of the recently announced Toyota extended warranty covering exactly this issue. Toyota has agreed that there is a design flaw in the DRL/high beam assembly, and will replace both headlight assemblies with newer, redesigned assemblies (normally around $2000) at no expense, as long as you can show proof of either shattered bulbs, or even just having had to replace the high beams at least once. This is the definitive fix for the problem and eliminates the need for you to try and rewire the lights yourself.
  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    The information you need is already pretty well spelled out on this forum. There are two separate problems. One is frequent/premature failure of the HID low beams found on Limiteds in the 2008 (and maybe 2009?) models. The second is shattering/melting/early failure of the halogen high beams. For information relating to the second problem, see the post I just put up (#879).

    If you are having issues with early failure of the HID low beams, there is a long running thread. See these posts:
    822 843 845 848 853 862 877 879 882 886 888
    for the details.

    The question I have still not been able to get an answer to is whether the new headlight assemblies installed under the limited warranty for high beam failure will also in some way help with the HID low beam failure problem. I hope so, but I'm not optimistic.
  • Toyota customer service says your vehicle must have less than 72,000 miles on it or you are not covered. I expected more out of my Toyota. So back to my original question can someone elaborate on separating DRL from the full on high beam circuit.
  • kgb22kgb22 Posts: 2
    I had to replace both the driver side and passenger side headlights and Toyota refused to acknowledge a problem. I wrote the Toyota North America CEO two letters and he did not even have the decency to respond. Prius had a similar problem and was resolved through a class action lawsuit. I intend to contact the law firm who represented Prius owners. Also plan to file a notice with the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency. Toyota should not get to sweep this obvious defect under the carpet and get away with it. It is time for Toyota to stand up to the quality statements they publicly claim. I have found online reports of well over 30+ 2008 Avalon owners with the same problem with the headlights.
  • Toyota needs to be held accountable for their actions. The headlight issue was a design flaw, not the result of time or miles. Consumers need to have their voices heard. Count me in if there is a class action. A matter of principle, not the money.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Make sure to file a report with NHTSA's office of defect investigations:

    You're more likely to get action that way than by lawsuit.


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  • kgb22kgb22 Posts: 2
    I submitted for both low beam and high beam. Only paid for high as it was under 75k miles. Refuse to acknowledge there is a design flaw with low beam. Going to file wi NHTSA and contact the law firm who settled the class action for Prius owners dealing with same low beam issue.
  • beck53beck53 Posts: 1
    How did you get to the bulb on the pass side, I can not seem to determine how to get it out. I have read several blogs some say remove three bolts and pull it out, one says a bolt is under the bumper cover. Any advise you can supply would be great, I hate to pay over 200.00 just for labor to replace it.
  • paul1175paul1175 Posts: 2
    I just had my high beams go out on hwy I 40 coming out of Flagstaff, AZ. Went to the dealer the next morning and was told my extended warranty would not cover the $1088 plus labor costs per assembly were not covered.

    I would like to know the Law Firm you are using, I will contact them also.
    Thank You
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    The headlight bulbs on my 2008 Touring edition went out on 2 occasions. I went to the dealer, they put in new bulbs and sent me on my way?

    What is different with the Touring model (with High Discharge Units), that is different with the others, making bulb replacement so expensive?

    I've since purchased a 2011 Limited, (and just ordered a new 2013:))

  • paul1175paul1175 Posts: 2
    Don't have any idea what the difference is if any. After reading posts on several different sites it appears 2008 and 2009 models all have been having the same problem. There was a TSB sent to dealers addressing the problem which recommended replacement of the headlight assembly's because of premature burn out (heat related).
    Problem comes into play after the orignal warranty has expired. The extended service agreement excludes light assemblies.
  • diekemadiekema Posts: 11
    you can find good aftermarket bulbs, both the hi/driving and the HID lo-beam bulbs on line at very good prices--way below the dealer cost. All of the bulbs are accessible under the hood, although you have to remove the battery and loosen the fuse block to replace the driver side HID bulb. My '08 Avalon Touring has a lot of miles on it and beyond any warranty extension. Not happy about it, but what are you going to do? Sue them?
  • rstockingrstocking Posts: 3
    My High-beams burnt out at 73K miles. I replaced them with after market bulbs for $ 40.00 each but after 6 months @80K miles they both burnt out. The low beams also go on and off randomly. The Toyota garage says I need 2 new headlight assemblies for $2500.00, and that my 5 year 100K warranty does not cover this. I sent Toyota Motor Services a letter requesting arbitration in the matter and got a form letter of denial in return. I called and found out I would need to file for arbitration in the matter with the American Arbitration Association at I checked and it looks very expensive. My local mechanic suggests taking the assembly apart to see if it can be re-wired. Has anyone tried this or found another solution?
  • Your dealer is trying to rip you off. Toyota corporate agreed to fix this problem in an order to their dealers last year. Mine were fixed for nothing. Search Edmunds for a discussion about this including the Toyota authorization # that orders the fix.
  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    While this whole ridiculous headlight issue IS a rip-off, I am not so sure that the actual dealer response here is specifically incorrect. There was indeed a Toyota headlight recall specifically targeting the shattered/melted/prematurely burned out high beams, that replaced my headlight assemblies for free. Unfortunately for rstocking, the letter I received that notified me of the headlight replacement coverage specifically limited it to 60,000 miles or less. rstocking is far beyond that limit. Unless the program has been revised, that would be the deal.

    See prior threads for detailed discussion of this issue: specifically, see my posts #879 and 898 above relating to the shattered high beam, and the prematurely dying low beam issues.
  • mkochelekmkochelek Posts: 1
    My 2008 Limited low beams intermittently turn off. Can you post the Toyota authorization #? My dealer says no such authorization.
  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58


    1) your HID headlights are about to burn out. The intermittent shutoff is the first symptom of what will soon be the premature demise of the HID bulbs.

    2) this is NOT the problem that Toyota has agreed to fix ( and then, only if you're lucky enough to have less than 60K, or 72K miles on the car--different sources cite different mileage cutoffs). The problem that they will fix relates to shattering/melting/prematurely dying HIGH beam lights.

    There's no doubt that there is an intrinsic flaw in the HID low beams on 2008 Avalons. That's compounded by Toyota's outrageous attempt to charge $600-$800 to replace the bulbs. Unfortunately, that has not been enough to convince Toyota to take any responsibility. Best solution is to buy the bulbs in the aftermarket (my advice stick to name brands, not the no-name cheapies) and either (if you're way more handy than I) install them yourself, or find someone other than the dealer to do it for you (I used a local body shop that charged me less than $100).

    For excruciating details, see this series of earlier posts:
    822 843 845 848 853 862 877 879 882 886 888
  • jnjssjnjss Posts: 1
    I am considering purchasing a 2008 avalon. The headlight issue scares me a bit, and I am a loyal avalon driver. is this a reoccuring problem on hi-beams after the 75 k update?
  • Personally, I wouldn't consider buying a 2008 to 2010 Avalon with anywhere near 75K miles. As fine an automobile as the Avalon is , doing so would be a crap shoot, UNLESS there were verification that the headlight assemblies have already been replaced. I had the issue with my Avalon beginning at 35K miles. First replacing one low beam, then the other and finally one of the high beams burned out. This was before Toyota issued the warranty extension. I am thrilled that I didn't get stuck with the $2300 bill, but my wife isn't happy with Toyota for denying reimbursement for the burned-out bulbs I had replaced before the warranty extension.
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