No recall? Local woman one of thousands with Toyota headlight problems

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by Mike Colombo / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 6:41 PM

(KMOV) – A St. Louis-area resident said she spent thousands of dollars to buy a new car, then soon noticed it needed several fixes. It turns out she’s one of thousands to have the same problem.

Darlene Kaiman bought her Toyota Prius hybrid in 2007. The headlight problems started right away.

“Shortly after I purchased it I noticed the lights would go out,” Kaiman said. “And both would go out, and I would be in total blackness.”

Kaiman said it happens especially on her way to work.

“It’s a lot, in the morning, I’m flipping ‘em 15 to 20 times,” she said.

Kaiman’s situation is not unique.

“I could get them to work again while turning them off and turning them on,” a Prius owner vented on YouTube. “But the lights go out sporadically when I’m driving, and it’s really dangerous.”

The National Highway Transportation Association report shows federal investigators have logged more than 2,200 headlight complaints on 2006 and 2007 Prius models.

Toyota reported more than 27,000 warranty claims. Given those numbers, Kaiman can’t believe Toyota’s offer.

“I took it to the dealer and they said they could fix it for $300 a headlight, but they weren’t guaranteeing it was going to solve the issue,” said Kaiman.

In the meantime, she continues to drive her pricy Prius during the day.

“I work for law enforcement and I’m really conscious of safety of people, that’s real important to me,” Kaiman said.

Toyota of America says they have a policy to replace the headlights for half-price. They told News 4 they’ll make sure Kaiman’s dealer knows.

So why wasn’t there a recall on the affected vehicles?

Federal investigators did not order one because they found no cases of both headlights going out at the same time, so they did not consider it a safety issue.

 

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