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2nd Generation (2005+) Discussion area for the 2nd generation of the Toyota Tacoma

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Old 08-24-2011, 02:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Burned and Cracked Daytime Running Lights replaced after warranty expired

A crack caught my eye on my 2009 Tacoma’s Daytime Running Lights (DRL) or DTRL as it is sometimes called. Upon further inspection I noticed that both the right and the left DRL were burned and cracked. The DRL was a factory option as I bought the truck the same day it arrived on the dealer’s lot and the DRL was already installed.






I searched this forum and others and found that the issue has been well documented. I took the truck to my local Toyota dealer’s service department and asked them to take a look at the lights. The service advisor saw the burned and cracked lens and said they would need to diagnose the problem. They asked if I changed the bulbs and I said no. Then they checked the mileage and I had 40,200 miles so they said it was out of warranty and therefore would not be covered. They offered to check the price on a pair of headlights and said it would run about $600, but they did not actually check the price to give a firm quote.

I had previously purchased the 7 year 100,000 miles Toyota Factory Extra Care platinum Zero Deductible Warranty for $814 from Jerry Johnson with Midwest Toyota (I found his contact information on this forum- thanks! ) so I decided to give it a try. I told the service advisor that I have a Toyota extended warranty, so he checked their computer system and couldn’t find it. Then he called a number he had on a paper on the wall to verify coverage and they said they had no record of my contract.
I took the contract out of my truck and called the number on the contract and they confirmed that the policy was valid. They explained that the Toyota extended warranty plans were underwritten by different insurers depending on what region of the country the warranty was purchased in. They said that I could still get service at any dealer but they need to get pre-authorization by calling the claims number listed in the policy.

We set up an appointment for me to bring in the truck the following day and he jotted down the information about the extended warranty. The service advisor called me back later the same day advising me that the extended warranty denied the coverage. I asked him to schedule a meeting with the dealership’s general manager for me but he replied that I just had to go and see if he was available.

I looked up the warranty brochure and there it was, under “What’s Excluded” it lists …Lamps (Back-up, Fog Light, Side Marker, and Turn Signal Light Assemblies); Light Bulbs… At this point things were starting to look like I was SOL, but of course, I didn't stop here.

I called Toyota Customer Service using a phone number I found in my owner’s manual. I told the representative that my vehicle’s DRL were burning through the lenses and that I was afraid that it may catch on fire and cause a safety issue and that the dealer refused to even diagnose the issue because the truck has 40,000 miles. I told her that I was a member of Toyota Nation, a Toyota enthusiast web site where Toyota owners share their experiences about how great their trucks are. I mentioned that the site had numerous posts from other that had experienced the same problem and that it is well documented and appears to be widespread. She asked if I had brought this issue to the attention of the service manager and I mentioned that I asked the service advisor to set up a meeting with the dealership’s general manager but that he said I would have to go over there and see if he is available. I told her that I don’t have time to be playing games chasing people down and that is why I was requesting to setup an appointment. She said that I would be receiving a call regarding this issue.

The service manager called me later the same day. I explained the same things I told the Toyota Customer Service representative (plastic melting and cracked on both sides from the inside, my concern that it would catch on fire, and that I’m a member if Toyota Nation and the “defect” is well documented online. He said he would see what he could do and then call me back. He called me back the next day and said that they would replace both headlights at no charge. He said he would need to order the headlights and that he would call me when they arrived. Several days later he called and told me that the headlight arrived. The following week, I took the truck in and had both headlights replaced in about 1 hour 15 minutes.

I asked the service manager what I could do to prevent this from happening again as a typical summer day is over 100 degrees here and that I believe the lens may start to melt again. The service manager confirmed that Toyota is aware of the issue and that they have redesigned the inner DRL lens to prevent it from melting. The invoice from the dealer had zero totals and statement that said something to the effect of “goodwill as per _____(first name of service manager)” This makes me wonder, does the service manager have the authority to authorize out of warranty repairs or was he simply conveying a decision made by higher-ups at Toyota?

I’m not buying that the lens was redesigned, so I’m leaving my headlights on for now (which keeps the DRL off) until I have a chance to install some cooler LED bulbs.

In this case, I recognize that the truck was outside the original factory warranty period, albeit only 4K miles, and that the extended warranty specifically excludes this coverage. In my defense, I dont think all the damage happened in the last 4K miles I had simply failed to notice it. I'm very happy that Toyota authorized the repair because this is a slam dunk case of a factory design defect as the lens were not designed to withstand extended DRL exposure in very hot summer weather.

I was considering filing a complaint with the NHTSA reporting the issue as a possible fire risk and maybe then Toyota would have to recall and replace all defective headlights not only those whom, at their sole discretion, they "feel" like replacing. I’ll hold off on that unless others in this forum have unresolved complaints for the same issue.


Keep up the interesting threads here; back to lurk mode.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From what others have said, Toyota gives each dealership a certain amount of goodwill money (or authority?) each year. Toyota Corp contacts the regional Rep who then contacts the service manager. From what we've been able to figure out, it seems you're more likely to get the "goodwill" work covered if you're a longtime customer and use their service dept more often.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you very much for reporting this

Yes, this is ++ well known. Even more weird: I ran over-wattage bulbs (until they burned out due to shortened life) & no melting.

I suspect, and it's only that, a personal opinion, that there have been several different suppliers of headlight assy. over the many years since 2005.

Some appear to use a weak plastic.

I'm not sure if one NHTS report will trigger a recall,

And yes, service managers can, at their discretion authorise repair work outside of warranty as "goodwill" But you had an extended warranty - bulbs not being covered is not the same thing as headlamp assy failure due to manufacturer defect..

Typically the scenario goes, they buy the parts, you buy the labour, or a 50-50 split. Tends to only be reserved for good customers - the kind who either buy multiple vehicles or get their service work done there.

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Old 08-29-2011, 06:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Vikter. I had the exact same problem the 8/20/2011. the lenses looked the same. I too talked with the Service Manager and also got the same "we haven't had that problem" thing! However, the mechanic who alignes the front end for the third time in a week and a Half period "to zero the steering wheel" told me this was BS, He had actually filed a report on this same issue for another customer and he'd seen this quite a few times int he last couple years.
I also called Toyota Corperate and got the same "this is the first claim we've heard about this particular issue" from them as well.
And Dude you might think i'm kidding but I've got the exact same Ext warranty you have except I paid almost twice as much for mine.
Talking with Fidelity about this they too say they don't cover bulbs or lenses. But as you say this is a safety feature "HEADLIGHTS" issue and certainly a fire hazard.

Now the dealership replaced mine and once done we have a 1 year service warranty on the lenses but I don't have any idea when the burning actually started, as my son brought it to my attention. my truck at 37,561 miles just out of warranty.

The real question here is what can we do about this. My intention is to possably seek out an attorney because this "IS" a known issue and I know Toyota isn't blind to this.
Also, and attorney could subpena records as to how many lenses the various dealership parts dept's have been ordering over the last couple years and that in itself is proof of the issue all in itself.

If you're interested in following this up email me at heartsofiron@windstream.net there is always more power in numbers.
Anyone else having this problem or willing to stand up to Toyota, freakin let me know. I personally never intended to buy a vehichle that would by it's own use destroy itself.
This sucks, is wrong and I believe any attorney with a real set of balls would jump all over this!!!!!

Last edited by heartsofiron; 08-29-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 05:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cracked, Burned DRL lenses on Tacoma Trucks

Hello everyone,
I recently posted to this forum concerning the Manufacture defect in the Drl Lights on Toyota Tacoma's and various other Toyota cars, which Toyota and the respective Dealers refuses to admit to.
It turns out that some mechanics have come forward admitting replacement of the headlight assemblies on these vehichles for the vary same reasons and know that their dealerships are covering this up!

I filed a complaint with NHTSA 1-888-327-4236 and am in the process now of filling with the Attorney General 1-803-734-4200 and the Federal Trade Commission 1-877-382-4357.

You see I have a problem with buying a truck and which by it's own design is not just tearing itself up but burning itself up.
Yes Folks, this is a serious fire hazard!!

Belts, Hoses, Tires, Brake pads, Wheel Bearrings, Tie Rod Ends, U-joints, CV Joints, Shocks, Struts, Bulbs, Wiper blades, oil etc... you get the picture. Are all normal wear items. A headlight housing assembly, is not.

A headlight is required by law in all States. Turn signals are required by law in all States. Drl lights are required in a lot of states.
A truck which doesent burn itself up is required in any state Rick happens to be in at the time I own it!

Folks do not sit back and let someone else do the job. Get cracking and file the complaints you need to and eventually this problem will get solved and your auto will be safe again.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It bothers me that they replace the headlight housing, but not the bulb receptacle which also gets hot and brittle.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There is a fix if you're beyond your 36/36.
A T20 socket, a 7440 na bulb and the heat is way down, the bulb is further back "away from the lens" and the brightness is sooo close to stock that it's unreal.
You can also go with the 7440 clear and you're talking brighter than stock and with no chance of smokeing those lenses. And the single contact bulb will work just as good as the dual.
Thats what I'm doing cause I ain't takin no chances on the dealer kickin in till this thing goes to court!
Sad but a major possibility.

Like I said, all you people with this problem, call the numbers I left and file a complaint.

Last edited by heartsofiron; 08-31-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I just noticed that this is happening to both my DTRLs. They both just cracked. So now they are melted and cracked. It looks bad. I called Toyota and they told me this is the first they have heard of this. I think this is BS. I am at 58k miles. 2009 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes my 2009 Tacoma that I just got this week has the same problem I found it on my walk around. I told the salesman about it and he said he would check to see if He could get them replaced. 15 min later he came back and said no they are fine as is. What a crock.Now I am looking on E Bay for others but some have broken tabs and others have the same burn marks.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I switched out the bulbs to a lower wattage because I was worried about cracking/melting. I later installed a switch so I can turn them on and off when ever I want. Good luck finding new lights.
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The good thing about the later design headlights for the newer model Tacomas is that there's a large space between the bulbs and the plastic lens. Maybe they learned from the earlier ones.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I hope they have a recall on this issue and not a TSB.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I wanted to do the Blacked Headlights to my 2013 TRD, but have seen issues with the DRL lights.
Anyone know if the issue has been resolved in the 2013 models?

Should I change the bulbs out to be safe? I can get the specs off the bulbs and see how it compares to the older models.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The issue should be resolved in 2012/2013 cause its been redesigned.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yes, the front was restyled for 2012, and the new headlights don't have the amber inner lenses on the park lights. So no issues with the 2012-13 models (so far), although I don't know if we'll see the same socket overheating problems. When I got my '13 I considered keeping the DRLs switched off, but, I'm using them.
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