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2008 Toyota Avalon high beams blew out twice

Hi, I have a 2008 Avalon with only about 84,000 miles on it, so I am hoping to keep it for a few more years. In the summer the high beam bulbs burned out one night as soon as I turned them on. I got new bulbs, then a few months later when I tried to turn them on again for maybe the third time, they both blew again. What could cause this and how expensive are the possible repairs. The car is otherwise in very good condition. Thanks!

are you touching the bulb glass with your hands when installing them . . . ?


Hey, thanks for writing back! I didn’t put them in, took it to a mechanic. I had removed one of them but dropped the back cover down behind the fender and couldn’t reach it. So, I don’t know. I can try again and make sure the installer doesn’t touch them. Thanks!

This is a known problem with that vintage Avalon. (Don’t ask how I know.) Toyota issued a TSB in 2010 about it. Toyota also extended the warranty period to cover the solution (replacement of the entire headlight assemblies) to 72K. With your mileage you probably don’t have any other solution than to foot the bill of replacements yourself. According to my dealer’s parts dept the new assemblies are 81150-07093 and 81110-07093 and run a little over $400 apiece, labor not included. Amazon has them for about $250 each.

Thanks for the info! Unfortunately I bought it used in 2012. Do you know if a car will pass a State Inspection without high beams?

Your state may have a web site listing what is checked during the inspection but I think any light failure would cause you not to pass.

They lasted a few months last time, what makes you think you couldn’t pass an inspection if you replaced them again?

In the meantime, it would give you time to investigate why they changed the headlamp housing design. Perhaps they are susceptible to moisture and that is what’s killing the lamps. I’d try to modify/fix them before plunking down that much money for new ones but I may be in the minority on that one…

I’ve started just carrying a spare set of 9011 bulbs, just in case.

Twin Turbo, because it was only maybe the third time I turned them on, even though it was a few months. I will give another set a try, and not touch them per an earlier reply. Thank you to everyone who has responded and any more ideas are welcome!!

not sure about the Avalon, but my wife’s 2012 Chevy Malibu has already had to have the low beam pigtails replaced as they had begun to melt from the heat/current. The bulbs weren’t working, but were still good, and the plugs were burnt and no longer making good enough contact.

I’ave also seen this on the back of Chevy vans- with brake/tail lights.

This is a bit different. The bulbs actually shatter/explode. Not sure why the correct solution is to replace the assemblies, but that was the directive in the 2010 TSB.

The service bulletin shows how to identify the new headlamp assemblies to see if they have been replaced, also shows the old bulb type and new bulb.

If the headlamp assemblies have been replaced the new bulb type should be used.

My point is you install them just before testing is done. They flash them once to test.

Bulbs exploding? Contaminants on glass envelope, thermal shock like water drops on hot lamp, defective lamps…

That’s a good plan, thanks. The bulbs are not exploding (glass breaking), they just die.

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Nevada, awesome! Thank you! I was just wondering if I would be able to find this on the internet somewhere.

jdmere, yeah, this whole thing is weird. The assembly appears to be essentially a plastic box. I can’t imagine how that could cause bulbs to fail.
nevada, in the TSB it says the driving lights fail too. Yep, mine are out. They did not get replaced when the highbeams did. I wonder if changing both sets at once would help them last as long as the originals?
Thanks again to you guys and everyone else who is trying to help me. Clearly I am a bit of a dim bulb (pun intended) when it comes to cars.

Actually, the high beam bulb is also the DRL bulb, so both functions go at the same time. The low beam is a separate bulb.

Found this out there maybe helps?

As of 2018, you can buy LED conversion bulbs, as I have on my 2009 ( bought last year with exploded high beams ) . They run cooler. No problems. $45 for a set of 9005 / H3 replacements. Amazon.

In 2015 I personally installed, without any modifications, 2 9005 hi beam bulbs, purchased at WalMart for $20. They have performed well for me for over 3 years. Maybe they are not quite as bright, but, hey, $20 vs $2000!!!

Thank you! I’ll try that, right before inspection.

Headlight assembly / housings protect bulbs from moisture. If moisture gets in housing and isn’t removed it will contact a hot bulb and burn it