How To Replace Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Lights

How To Replace Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Lights
How To Replace Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Lights

I noticed that one of the tail light bulbs located in the lift gate of my 2004 Toyota Sienna was burnt out.  Follow along for a step-by-step tutorial on how you can change these bulbs yourself.

How To Replace Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Lights

Hardware:

Parts Needed:

Tools Needed

I wish I would have had this tutorial before I tore into my own van 🙂  I would have replaced all four bulbs with LEDs but I had to tear it apart to find the bulb type and had to pick from what the local auto parts store had.  I would recommend replacing them with LEDs so you don’t need to worry about replacing them again.

Step 1: Determine which bulbs you are replacing.

Once you get the lift gate up you will start scratching your head if you haven’t taken special note of which bulb you are replacing.  In this tutorial we will be replacing the both bulbs.  I actually only had the far outside bulb burnt out but after I got the van torn apart I decided to replace them both while I was in there and so I could find out what the bulb size was for my readers.

Outside Liftgate Bulb is Burn out
I took a picture so I could remember which bulb was out

These bulbs are so inexpensive that you really should consider replacing both pairs if you are going to go to all the work to tear into your Sienna!

Step 2: Pop the lift gate hatch.

One thing I learned is that if the ignition is on, the lift gate will not open, even if the doors are unlocked.

Step 3: Remove the back door garnish center.

“Back door garnish center” is what the manual calls it but I would call it the top center trim piece above the rear window:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Garnish Center Removal
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Garnish Center Removal

This piece is held in place by five clips.  I just used my fingernails and grabbed along the window’s edge and began to pop them free:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Garnish Center Removal 2
Pull the piece free starting along the window on one end
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Garnish Center Removal 3
Here the piece is coming free
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Garnish Center Removed
Top Center Trim Piece Removed

After removing this I noticed that Toyota was nice enough to use LEDs in the upper brake light so you won’t likely need to replace this hard to get at light:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Upper Brake Light LEDs
Upper Brake Light LEDs

Step 4: Remove the right liftgate window side trim.

Pull the side trim pieces towards the centerline of the van, away from the post where they are attached.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Right Door Side Garnish Removal 1b
Pull the trim piece towards the middle of the van, not down

I pulled down and two of the clips did not come off with the trim piece:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Right Door Side Garnish Removed
2 clips stayed in place when I removed this piece

You will need to remove those clips from the door before reinstalling that piece.  I did it right before reinstalling it.

Step 5: Pop the left liftgate window-side trim piece free.

I don’t say “remove” it because the rod for the automatic liftgate door goes through it and I didn’t want to mess with disconnecting the rod so I could completely remove the trim piece.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Left Door Side Garnish
The liftgate motor “arm” goes through a hole in this trim piece

Pop this piece free just like I showed you for the right side.  I was able to feed it over and down the power door rod:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Left Door Side Garnish Removed
Pop the piece free and then feed up and over the power door control rod
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Left Door Side Garnish Removed 2
Just let the trim piece hang on the power door control rod

Step 6: Remove the back door pull strap

Push the cover towards the back window:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Pull Strap Removal 2
Push the cover towards the window to remove it

Here is the cover removed:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Pull Strap Cover Removed
Pull strap cover removed

Remove the 10mm headed bolt:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Pull Strap Bolt Removal
Remove the single 10mm hex head bolt from the pull strap

Make sure that the plastic clip is retained and set the pull strap and bolt aside for reinstallation when we are done:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Pull Strap Removed
Pull strap removed

Step 7: Remove the back door main trim board assembly

This is the large plastic panel that the pull strap was in the middle of.  There are 14 clips and two plastic catches that hold this panel on.  You will want to start on the window edge because there are “catches” at the bottom (latch) edge that cannot be pulled free.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Removing Back Door Trim Board
Pull the main trim piece free along the window edge first

Once you have the 14 clips popped free you can lift the trim board assembly up and off the lower catches:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Trim Board Lower Catches
Once the clips are free lift the panel off the two lower catches

Here’s a look at the back door trim board removed from the van:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Back Door Trim Board Removed
Back Door Trim Board Removed, note the one clip that didn’t come off

Step 8: Locate the tail light bulbs.

Here are where they are located.  This is the driver’s (left) side:

Tail light and reverse light bulb locations (on driver side)
Tail light and reverse light bulb locations (on driver side)

Step 9: Remove the burnt out bulb

To remove the bulbs you turn the base about 30-degrees counter clockwise to unlatch it.  They snap into place and one of them I had a difficult time getting it to release.

Here is the base before I turned it:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Removing Bulb 1
Before Turning the base (sorry for the wash out in the picture)
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Removing Bulb 2
After turning and unlatching the base

After turning it counter-clockwise you can pull it out:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Burnt Out Bulb
This is the burnt out bulb

The bulb pulls straight out:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Burnt Out Bulb Removed
Pull the bulb straight out to remove it

Step 10: Install a new bulb.

Like I shared in the introduction, if I would have had this step-by-step tutorial when I did this repair I would have already ordered LED replacement bulbs.  I had to use standard incandescent bulbs from the local parts store.  Insert the new bulb.  If you are using incandescent bulbs you can put the bulb in either way so don’t worry about polarity, but if they are LEDs they will have a polarity.  In the case of LEDs you can turn on your headlights and check the polarity with a multimeter or just test them and if they don’t come on flip them around because they should be ok if you insert them backwards.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Outside Bulb Replaced
Push the bulb straight into the socket

Line the base up with the notch, insert, and turn clockwise to lock in place:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Outside Bulb Replaced-Reinstalling
Inserting the bulb, now turn clockwise to lock in place

Step 11: Repeat steps 9-10 for all the other burnt out bulbs

I went ahead and changed all four bulbs since I bought 2-packs of each and I went to all the work to open the van up.  Here I am replacing the reverse light bulb.  It has a push-in socket just like the other bulb:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Inside Reverse Light Bulb Out
Reverse bulb base removed
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Inside Reverse Light Bulb Reinstalling
Line up the notch to reinsert the bulb, then turn clockwise to lock in place

Step 12: Get all the clips in the right place

Before we can reinstall the plastic door panels we need to remove all clips that stayed on the door and replace them on the plastic door panel pieces.  I didn’t reuse the clips that came off but used new ones.  One of them broke off so it was good I had replacement ones on hand.  You could probably reuse them if they are in one piece though.  Here I am prying off one of them:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Prying Clip Free
Prying Clip Free

The top clip broke into two pieces when I removed the door panel:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Top Broken Clip-Annotated
Broken clip on door
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Clips Replace on Trim Board Assy
Replace the missing clips on the panels

Make sure all the clips are snapped all the way into their slots so they line up correctly when we go to put the panel back on:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Push the Clips into Place
Make sure all the clips are fully snapped into place

Step 13: Reinstall the back door trim board.

Start by inserting the hooks on the bottom and then carefully make sure the snaps line up with the holes in the door that they go into and begin snapping them in place.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Main Trim Board Hooks in Place
Main Trim Board Hooks in Place
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Line up Clips with Holes
Line up the clips with their respective holes

I use the palm of my had to snap the panel into place.

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Popping Main Trim Board into Place
Gently snap the clips using the palm of your hand

Work your way around the edge remembering where the clips are located:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Main Trim Board Clip Locations
Trim Board Clip Locations

Step 14: Reinstall the side trim pieces.

The left one was a little tricky since I decided not do disconnect the power door rod.  I found that if you put the piece at the angle I have pictured below, you can feed it up and over the control rod connection and put it into place:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Reinstalling the Left Side Trim Piece
Orient the piece like this and then lift it up and over the “elbo” on the control rod

The clips on this piece will come off when you are feeding it up and over the control rod so I reinstalled them afterwards (3 total):

 

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Reinstalling the Left Side Trim Piece-Installing Clips
There are 2 clips on each of the side pieces

Reinstalling the right trim piece.  You can see that I replaced the two clips (blue) that didn’t come off when I originally removed it:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Reinstalling the Right Side Trim Piece-Installing Clips
Reinstalling the right side trim piece

These trim pieces should fit flush with the metal of the door if you have them installed correctly:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Seam of Correctly Installed Trim
Correct fit of trim pieces

Step 15: Reinstall the back door pull strap.

Bolt the pull strap in place.  It has a 10mm head on the bolt.  There is a part of the metal bracket that must line up and insert into a hole in the door:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Bolting Pull Strap Back in Place
Line up the bracket with the hole and bolt down

I found that it is easier if you transfer the black clip from the metal bracket of the pull strap and put it onto the cover before reinstalling:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Pull Strap Clip Transferred
Transfer the black clip to the cover

I found that the space I needed to get the cover started would only be available if I pressed hard on the main trim board as shown below:

Reinstalling the Pull Strap Cover
Reinstalling the Pull Strap Cover

Step 16: Reinstall the top trim piece.

This one is pretty easy.  Line up the holes and snap into place:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Reinstalling Top Trim Piece
Reinstall the top trim piece

This piece overlaps the two side pieces:

2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Right Top Trim Seam
Top right trim seam
2004-2010 Toyota Sienna Liftgate Tail Light Bulb Replacement-Left Top Trim Seam
Top left trim seam

Now you are done!

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