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Toyota Tacoma Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or reverse light bulb in a 2nd generation 2005 to 2015 Toyota Tacoma.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2013 Tacoma Tail Light
Open Tailgate Door
Top Housing Bolt
This automotive maintenance DIY tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015) Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in changing a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or reverse bulb in the tail light housings.

Owners of other Toyota, Lexus or Scion vehicles such as the Yaris, Matrix, Prius, Camry, Corolla, Sienna, RAV4, Tundra, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, Avalon, Sequoia, Hilux, Land Cruiser, IS 250, ES 350, GS 350, tC, xB, xD, iQ and FR-S may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The replacement bulb part numbers are as follows: Brake # 3157 (or LED), Rear Turn Signal # 3157A and Reverse # 921.

The tools required to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet or a 10mm wrench.

Loosen Top 10mm Bolt
Top Bolt Removed
Loosen Bottom Bolt
The first two steps are to open the tailgate door and then move to the side of the truck with the burnt out tail light bulb.

The tail light assembly is held in place with two bolts located on the inside edge.

Loosen the two bolts by turning them counterclockwise with the 10mm socket and 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

(The bottom bolt is located near another similar looking bolt just above it. Do not remove that bolt.)

Lower Bolt Removed
Two 10mm Bolts Removed
Pull Off Tail Light Housing
Set the two bolts aside in a safe place.

The tail light housing is still held in place by two metal pegs or "spikes" on the back side near the outer edge that are inserted in to plastic grommets.

Gently pull the tail light housing straight off the rear of the vehicle.

Pry With Plastic Tool
Turn Over Tail Light Housing
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
If you have trouble pulling off the housing, use a plastic automotive panel removal tool.

Gently pry in between the outer edge of the housing and the rear corner of the truck bed.

Once the tail light assembly has been removed from the vehicle, turn it over and rest it on the bumper to access the bulb sockets.

On this 2013 Tacoma SR5, the brake lights are LED bulbs that should last the life time of the vehicle.

If your Tacoma has traditional incandescent brake light bulbs, follow these steps. Rotate the base of the socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise, remove the bulb socket, pull the old bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new # 3157 bulb. Re-insert the socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

Reverse Bulb Socket
Pull Out Old Bulb
Push In New # 3157A
The Rear Turn Signal light bulb socket is located at the top of the housing.

Rotate the base of the bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out.

Carefully pull the old bulb straight out of the socket.

Push in a new amber colored # 3157A or 3157NA bulb straight in to the socket.


1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Reverse Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Re-insert the turn signal bulb socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

The Reverse Light bulb is located at the bottom of the housing.

Rotate the small grey reverse bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise and pull it straight out of the housing.

Pull Out Old Reverse Bulb
Push In New # 921 Bulb
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Pull the old bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new # 921 bulb.

If you want brighter reverse lights, consider installing 921 LED bulbs.

Re-insert the socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

Line Up Metal Pegs
Push On Tail Light Assembly
Spin In 10mm Bolts
Line up the two metal pegs or "spikes" on the back outer edge of the housing with their corresponding plastic grommets on the rear corner of the truck.

Gently push the tail light assembly back in to place.

Hold the housing in place with one hand while spinning in the two bolts a few turns in the clockwise direction.

Re-inserting the bolts by hand a few turns will help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Clockwise
Both Bolts Tightened
Test New Tail Light Bulbs
Tighten the two 10mm bolts in the clockwise direction until they are snug.

Try to avoid over tightening the bolts to prevent from cracking the plastic tail light housing.

To test the new tail light bulbs, have someone step on the brake pedal, activate the hazard signals and place the transmission in reverse.

For more, check out my other 2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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