My left brake light went out, the bulb on the outside corner of our 2004 Toyota Sienna van. This is time for another repair. If your tail light assembly breaks when you remove it I have a solution for that too! Follow along to learn how you can replace the brake light bulb on your 2004-2010 Toyota Sienna:
How to Replace Toyota Sienna Brake Light Bulbs
- Tail Light Bulbs (I would replace BOTH while you are at it because you don’t want to take this apart twice, especially if yours breaks like mind did when I took it apart):
- 10mm socket and ratchet (get this and much more in a 210-Piece Stanley Tool Set)
Step 1: Open the lift gate.
There are two bolts that hold the tail light assembly onto the van that will be exposed when you open the lift gate. You can see them here:
Step 2: Remove the two 10mm bolts.
Important Note: These are not the only fixtures that hold the tail light assembly in place so do not get in a hurry and start prying on the thing. Remove the two 10mm bolts:
Step 3: Pop the tail light free from the pins on the side.
There are two brass pins that stick into the side of the van that must be CAREFULLY popped out. You will want to pull the tail light straight out as seen below (and read on ahead for pictures of what you are disconnecting). Also, remember that the fixture will be attached to the van wiring so you do not want to pull the tail light away from the van.
This is what it looked like when the tail light popped free for me (one of the pins had pulled out of the tail light fixture):
Step 4: Disconnect the tail light electrical connector.
In order to remove the electrical connector you must press in the tab located on the bottom of the connector, as shown below:
I would never pull out a connector by the wires themselves, so reach in there and pull the connector with your fingernails. It’s a bit of a trick to get that tab depressed and you could use a small flat screwdriver if you cannot get it with your fingernail. This is what it looks like to press in the tab:
Here’s the tail light removed:
If one or more of the brass pins pulled out of your tail light like mine did you can read my article below on how to repair them:
Step 5: Remove the light bulb fixture assembly.
The tail light bulb fixture snaps into place so you must remove it before being able to replace the bulbs. Depress the tab indicated below and lift the assembly up and out of the tail light. The fixture does not come straight out and it does not hinge from the left side where the catch is (because the bulbs go through holes and will get caught), so you will need to play around with getting this piece out. It does not need to be forced though so take your time:
This is what it looks like once you get it out:
Step 6: Replace the bulbs.
The two bulbs are different–one has two filaments (and two contact points on the end) and the other has one filament and only one contact point in the center of the end. The posts that stick out the side of the base are different too, the one on the left has its posts offset and the right one has them even:
The bulbs can only go in one way and you can see which one goes into which socket by looking in the socket to see if there is one contact point or two. I didn’t get a picture of that but here you can see me about to put in the two filament bulb and the two notches the posts slide into:
The bulbs are inserted and then you press them in and turn them about 1/8 of a turn to lock them in place.
Step 7: Reinstall the bulb assembly into the tail light.
Remember that one side has to fit under the catch on the end and then the snap holds it in place:
Step 8: Reconnect the tail light electrical connector.
It can only go on one way and it should snap in place:
This is what it should look like when it is reconnected:
Step 9: Snap the tail light in place using the pins.
Line up the brass pins with their holes and carefully push them into the holes until the tail light assembly snaps into place.
It should go on evenly like this:
Step 10: Reinstall the two 10mm headed tail light fixture bolts.
Be careful not to over tighten the bolts or you could crack the tail light.
Now you have tail lights again!