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Toyota Troubleshooting: No Tail Lights

by Steven Innis

Troubleshooting a Toyota that has no working tail lights requires a basic knowledge of electrical automotive wiring and can usually be done by trial and error in a matter of minutes. These steps will troubleshoot 95 percent of the problems. The tools that are required to fix the problem can be found in most basic toolboxes. The parts that you will need to purchase to fix the problem will be very inexpensive and are readily available at your local auto parts store. Troubleshooting and correcting the problem yourself will save you time and money.

Remove Tail Light Lens

Removing the lens

Honk the horn to make sure there is electricity in the battery. If the horn doesn't work, replace or recharge the battery then check the tail lights. If they still don't work then unscrew the Phillips head screws that secure the tail light lens to the car and remove the tail light lens. Repeat the process on the other tail light.

Remove the tail light bulb

Depress the tail light bulb and turn counterclockwise. The spring under the bulb will cause the bulb to release from the socket into your hand. Repeat the process on the other tail light.

Replace the bulbs by inserting the bulb into the socket and turning counterclockwise while pushing. You will feel the bulb lock into place. Replace the lenses on both tail lights by attaching the lens to the car and firmly screwing the screws back into the holes.

Locate the Fuse

Step on the brake pedal. If the tail lights do not work, locate the fuse control panel by referencing its location in your owner's manual. Locate the fuse marked "tail lights" and use the fuse removal tool to pull the fuse out of the fuse block.

Replace the old fuse with a new fuse of the proper rating (see your owner's manual) by pushing the fuse with your fingers into the holes that the old fuse came out of. Step on the brake pedal and the lights should work.


  • When attaching the lens back onto the vehicle, gently tighten the screws.
  • Make sure you have the correct light bulbs and fuse before you begin the project.
  • If these steps do not fix the lights, consult an automotive electrician.


  • Do not use any lubricants on the light bulb sockets.
  • Over-tightening the lens screws will break the plastic.

Items you will need

About the Author

Steven Innis has extensive experience in healthcare marketing, business operations, business management and real estate finance. Specializing in a consultative approach, Innis enjoys a reputation for innovation, enthusiasm, honesty, integrity, and compassion. He finds enjoyment writing articles helping businesses thrive and consumers save money.

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Photo Credits

  • Right Tail Light of a new 4 x 4 vehicle image by Vanessa van Rensburg from