How to Change a Toyota Tacoma Headlight Assemblyby Christian Killian
Changing the headlight assembly in your Toyota Tacoma pickup requires the removal of the lights and grill around the headlights, but it can be accomplished with a few hand tools. The headlight assemblies are a composite material that houses a halogen bulb to illuminate the road and areas in front of the truck. If the assembly is damaged, the bulb life can be shortened by moisture or debris entering the assembly. The headlight assemblies may also need to be changed if they are discolored or heavily scratched.
Open the hood of your Tacoma and support it with the prop rod. Locate the three screws that retain the side marker lights. There are two screws in the lens and one on the top of the light. Remove all three with a screwdriver.
Pull the marker light assembly out of the truck and unplug the electrical connector on the back of the light. Lay the electrical connector aside. Repeat this step on the opposite marker light.
Locate the seven clips that retain the grill in the front of the truck. There are four along the top of the grill and three along the bottom. Use a flat screwdriver to push the clip down, releasing it.
Locate the two clips on the lower corners of the grill. There is one on each end in the lowest corner of the grill. Use a pair of long nose pliers to reach through the marker light opening and release these clips.
Remove the grill and nine clips, setting the whole assembly aside. Locate the two nuts and one bolt on the headlight assembly. Remove them with a socket and ratchet, then slide the headlight assembly forward. Unplug the electrical connector from the headlight and remove the assembly from the truck.
Slide the new headlight assembly into the truck, plug in the electrical connector, then install the retaining bolt and two retaining nuts. Tighten the the bolt and nuts with a socket and ratchet.
Position the grill on the truck and reengage the nine clips that secure it. Snap the clips back to the body of the truck to secure the grill. You will feel them lock into place.
Install the side marker lights after plugging the electrical connector into the back of it. Install the three retaining bolts and tighten them with a Phillips screwdriver. Do not over-tighten the screws or you will crack the lens.
Close the hood and test the lights to verify that they are working.
Things You'll Need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flat screwdriver
- Long nose pliers
- Metric socket set
Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.