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How to Replace Headlights 04-05 Toyota Highlander

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How to Replace Headlights 04-05 Toyota Highlander

Created on: 2018-01-29

New Headlight from How to repair, install, fix, change or replace the broken, damaged, cracked, faded, cloudy, or chipped headlights on 04, 05 Toyota Highlander

  1. step 1 :Removing the Grille
    • Pry up and remove the push clips from the grille
    • Unclip the grille on either side
    • Slide the grille out
  2. step 2 :Removing the Headlight
    • Remove the two 10mm headlights from the top of the headlight
    • Lift the headlight slightly
    • Slide the headlight forward
    • Pry the headlight brackets off the grommets with a trim tool
    • Turn your wheels to access the wheel well
    • Remove the two plastic clips from the wheel well splash shield with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Pull back the splash shield
    • Remove the 10mm bolt behind the splash shield
    • Unclip the bumper beneath the headlight
    • Remove the 10mm bolts from the lower headlight bracket
    • Remove the 10mm nut from the bracket stud
    • Lift the bracket off the stud and pull it aside
    • Pull the headlight off of the frame
    • Unplug the headlight electrical connectors
  3. step 3 :Cleaning Stuck Electrical Connectors
    • Apply water displacement oil to loosen any stuck connectors
    • If the connectors remain stuck, twist the bulbs counterclockwise out of the headlight
    • Pull the bulbs off the stuck connectors
    • Clean the connectors with water displacement oil, paper towels, and electrical contact cleaner
    • Clean dirt out of the connectors with compressed air
  4. step 4 :Installing the Headlight
    • Remove the bulb caps from the new headlight
    • If you removed bulbs from the connectors, twist them counterclockwise into the headlight
    • Plug the electrical connectors into the bulbs
    • Slide the headlight onto the frame using the locating pins
    • Place the lower headlight bracket onto the stud
    • Install the 10mm bolts into the bracket
    • Fasten the 10mm nut onto the bracket stud
    • Install the two 10mm bolts at the top of the headlight
    • Clip the bumper into place
    • Install the 10mm bolt behind the wheel well splash shield
    • Push the splash shield behind the bumper
    • Push the plastic clips into the splash shield
  5. step 5 :Installing the Grille
    • Clip the grille underneath the lip and slide the grille in place
    • Replace the push clips
  6. step 6 :Aiming the Headlights
    • Make a dot at the center of your low beam light with a dry erase marker
    • Measure from the ground to the center of the dot
    • Line up your vehicle with a dark flat surface
    • Mark the center of each headlight on the aiming surface
    • Draw a straight line between the two marks
    • back the vehicle up 25 feet from the aiming surface
    • Turn the headlights on
    • Adjust the passenger side aiming screw until the focus of the passenger side light beam is two inches below the line on the aiming surface
    • Adjust the driver side aiming screw until the focus of the driver side light beam is four inches below the line on the aiming surface

Tools needed for replacement

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies


  • Ratchets & Related

    Socket Extensions


  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Phillips Head Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

    Trim Tool Set

Installation Video
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Hi. I'm Mike from 1AAuto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years!

To remove the grille there are four push clips on the top. Use a flat bladed screwdriver to pry them up and unlock them. Both sides. Use a trim clip tool, kind of pry on them a bit. Sometimes they take a little bit of force to get them to unclip. There are two clips on either side of the grille. They're kind of hidden. You can get to them. You'd access the clips through here to release them on either side. Ours are broken. They actually clip through the headlights. So without those in place, there's some, the bottom of the grille clips at the top of the bumper, just kind of slide it out. You may need to slide a screwdriver in there and just push the lock tabs in, but this one's pretty loose so it came right out.

With the grille removed you can take the headlight out. Install them with two 10 millimeter bolts on the top. They have a Philips head in them. You can use a Philips head screwdriver. Or I'm going to use a 10 millimeter socket extension and a ratchet because it'll be a little bit quicker. These are self-tapping bolts, going into little grommets. Take them out. You should be able to lift the head light up and slide it out of the body.

To pry this up and off with a little grommet, do the same over here. We've got the vehicle up in the air. You don't have to do this. You can do it on the ground, but you will need to maybe turn the tire in or out because we need to get to these fasteners here and remove them from the wheel well splash shield. Use a flat bladed screwdriver and unlock them. Kind of turn them. Push the tire in just like that. Turn these 90 degrees and then you might have to pry on them a bit to get them to pop out. You can pull this shield out of here.

With these two clips removed from the splash shield we can just reach up behind the splash shield. There's a 10 millimeter bolt that's hidden. This one is kind of broken, but you'd unscrew it. There should be a plastic bracket here. The vehicle is missing it, but you would pull this out and unclip it and then pull it forward slightly.

We need to remove this lower bracket here to get the headlight out of the opening. It's a 10 millimeter bolt on this side. Again, remove that. It's a 10 millimeter bolt here. We use a 10 millimeter ratcheting wrench to loosen it and remove it. Lift this up and off the stud. Then I can pull this out.

There's a clip on the back right here, the plastic clip underneath. Pull it straight out. The clip might come loose. This plastic clip here it clips to the headlight and then it's supposed to clip into here. It came out with the headlight after I clipped it on. I'll worry about that afterwards.

Now unplug the lights pushing in the lock. And is off. These connectors are really dirty. Let's spray some water displacement oil in here to try and free them up. Basically just kind of push them in and out a little bit without trying to unlock them. Try to break them free. They get gummed up with dirt. Then push down on the lock. Then do your best to unplug them. Repeat that for all of them. If they're really stuck just turn them counterclockwise and take the bulbs out. You want to take the headlight out of the way.

Now with the headlight out of the way I'm going to try and plug this bulb, pushing in the lock. They just get jammed up with dirt and don't want to come loose. I'm using a flat bladed screwdriver to help me push this in. My goodness. We can take the bulb out by just pushing in and turning. My hands are kind of greasy so I'll wipe the bulb down afterwards. I’m just trying to get this free. We need to change the socket. We just have to work it back and forth. See all the dirt and grime that gets stuck in there. I'm going to take some water displacement oil, spray it in there, spray it in this one, and spray in here. Wipe these down, get a lot of the dirt out of there.

Take some electrical contact cleaner. I've got access to some compressed air. I'm going to take a towel, wrap it around the connector, and just face this away from me. Blow out all the dirt. You can also use electrical contact cleaner, if you’ve got access to that.

This is a very good example of why you should always wear gloves when you're changing headlight bulbs. If you touch the bulb by accident with your bare fingers, because you have oil on your skin, you can cause the bulb to fail prematurely. We can see on this one it started to bubble and burn. It hadn't blown out yet. The filament still looks good. But eventually this would overheat and pop. Basically the oils get on the surface of the bulb, the bulb was very hot, the oil start to boil and bubble just like if you are burning say like olive oil in a cooking pan, and then eventually it will ruin the glass of the headlight bulb. This is a nice conditioned bulb right here. It doesn't have any burning or anything so when we install this bulb, we will make sure to wear some gloves.

Here's our original headlight assembly and our brand new one from You can see this one has been yellowed and destroyed from the sun and rocks and sand and stuff as you drive down the road. You really can't see that well with this at night. It doesn't put out good light. Brand new are ones nice and clear, shiny. It has the same style mounts at the top and on the bottom. Before you install it, remove these little rubber caps.

Put your bulbs back in. You can adjust the aim here by turning the screw. This will fit great and really look great in our vehicle. I'm going to install our high beam bulb in here. Just line up the little openings. It'll push into place and then we'll turn it clockwise to lock in. The same for the low beam bulb. Reinstall the turn signal bulb.

Let's take our connectors, plug them back in. They'll snap when they lock into place. There is a metal pin. There's a metal pin right here. It's going to go into this plastic grommet. This little tab at the bottom of the headlight is going to go to this clip here. It's on the radiator support. Let me get this lined up. Get this lined up.

Put this bracket back up, just like that. Open this nut back on this stud here. Install our screws at the top. Slide the bumper back into place. Clip it back into the bracket. There should be a clip bracket here. It's missing so I'm just putting this bolt back in. Reinstall, and reattach the fender shield splash shield. Kind of slide it back in here. We'll push these clips back in. Repeat this for the other side. Just reinstall bulbs in the sockets. Line up the tabs.

These are the clips and brackets that are supposed to be mounted to the back of our grille. It's broken on both sides, but they would clip into here. The headlights on both sides to help hold the grille in. You don't 100% need them but if you have yours you can clip them back in. These clips on the bottom of the grille are going to go underneath this lip. Push it down like that. Slide it up under that lip into place. And put the push clips back in place. Grille is back in place.

This is a basic tutorial on how to aim the headlights on your vehicle. Find the access of your headlights. This is usually indicated with a small dot or the headlight bulb size on the lens. If not, it's the actual center point of your headlight bulb. Transfer this mark to a vertical wall with a preferably dark color that'll allow you to back up 25 feet. Pull up and find the center line of your vehicle, as well as the center line of your headlight access. Mark the wall with the height of the headlights, and a straight line going across at that access height. Back your vehicle up 25 feet from the wall to the front edge of your vehicles headlights. Turn your headlights on, and locate the adjusting screw, usually on the back side of your headlights. You'll want to rotate this until the passenger hotspot or focus of the beam is approximately two inches below the line and the driver's side is four inches below the line. We change the heights on each side so you can still get a good beam to the offside of the road on the passenger side, and have the driver’s side low enough to not blind oncoming traffic

Thanks for watching. Visit us at for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Gloves

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Trim Tool Set

2004 - 2005  Toyota  Highlander
2006 - 2006  Toyota  Highlander
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