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How to Change the Headlights on a Toyota Avalon

by Justin Cupler

As Toyota's luxury model, the Avalon gives buyers a model to span the gap between Toyota and Lexus. For 2013, Toyota completely revised the Avalon, giving it a more premium look, and this look carried into the 2014 model year unchanged. The 2014 Avalon came standard with your everyday halogen headlights, but its Limited trim came with HID low-beam headlights . Both types of headlights are simple enough to replace, but the HIDs require extra care because of the high-voltage that they use and the significantly higher price tag on the bulbs.

Halogen Bulbs


Park the Avalon on a level surface, set the parking brake and open the hood. Look on the rear of the headlight assembly and find the backside of the burned-out headlight bulb. Rotate the bulb counterclockwise to unlock it, then pull it from the headlight assembly.


Press the unlocking button on the headlight wiring harness and unplug the wiring harness from the headlight bulb. Hold a new No. 9005 headlight bulb by its plastic base and plug the wiring harness into the headlight bulb until it clicks into place.


Align the tabs on the headlight bulb with the slots in the headlight assembly, and insert the new bulb into the headlight assembly. Turn the bulb clockwise to lock it in place.

HID Bulbs


HID sockets can deliver 3,000 volts, so perform this repair away from moisture, such as in the rain. Make sure the headlight switch is in the "Off" position and the car has sat for a while. Otherwise, the bulb ECU could be too hot to touch. Open the hood and install a memory saver to the Avalon, using the memory saver's instructions as your guide. This is optional, but it will allow you to avoid losing all the system memories when you disconnect the battery -- which is not optional. Loosen the negative battery cable, using a ratchet and socket, and pull the negative battery cable from the battery. Set the battery cable aside to avoid accidental reconnection with the negative battery post.


Look on the rear of the headlight assembly and find the headlight electronic control unit -- the round, electrical component. Rotate the headlight ECU counterclockwise to unlock it, then pull it from the rear of the headlight assembly to expose the headlight ECU socket.


Rotate the headlight ECU socket counterclockwise to unlock it, then pull it from the HID bulb. Squeeze the looped ends of the HID bulb-retaining spring to unlatch it from its retaining hooks, then pivot the spring away from the HID bulb. Carefully slide the bulb from the headlight assembly.


Hold the new No. D4S HID bulb by its plastic base and guide it into the headlight assembly and pivot the bulb-retaining spring over the backside of the bulb. Squeeze the looped ends of the spring together and guide them into their retaining hooks on each side of the bulb.


Plug the headlight ECU socket into the new HID bulb and rotate the socket clockwise to lock it in place. Install the headlight ECU onto the rear of the headlight assembly and rotate it clockwise to lock it into place.


Reconnect the negative battery cable and tighten it to 61 inch-pounds, using an inch-pound torque wrench and socket. Remove the memory saver.


  • Memory saver devices come in different styles, but they are inexpensive and available at any auto parts house. Buy one for your car. It will be handy any time you need to disconnect the battery.


  • Do not touch the glass part of the headlight bulb with your bare hands, as the oils from your hands may cause the bulb to burn out quickly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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