Menu

1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles

How to Replace Headlights 2009-12 Toyota RAV4

Share on:
  1. step : Removing the Bumper Cover (0:29)
    • Remove the push pin retainers to remove the front engine compartment trim
    • Along the top of the bumper cover, remove the push pin retainers and two phillips screws
    • In each wheel well, remove the twist lock retainer, and the 10 mm screw securing the bumper cover to the fender
    • Along the bottom of the bumper cover, remove the push pin retainers and the 10 mm screws securing the lower shielding to the bumper cover
    • At each corner, pull the bumper cover away from the fender to remove it
  2. step : Removing the Headlights (4:21)
    • Remove the three 10 mm screws along the top of the headlight
    • Remove the 10 mm bolt by the fender
    • Pry up the retaining tab at the fender
    • Remove the headlight
    • Disconnect the three electrical connectors
  3. step : Swapping or Installing New Headlight Bulbs (6:27)
    • Twist the inner bulb counter clockwise to remove it
    • Insert the bulb, or a new 9005 bulb into the inner lamp using the tabs as a guide and twist it clockwise to secure it
    • Repeat the process for the middle 9006 bulb
    • Twist the corner light socket counter clockwise to remove it
    • Pull the bulb out of the socket
    • Remove the new socket in the same manner
    • Insert the bulb or a new W21 bulb into the socket
    • Insert the socket into the outer socket, using the tabs as a guide, and twist it clockwise to secure it
    • Seat the corner light electrical connector on the mounting tab, if necessary
  4. step : Installing the Headlight (8:22)
    • Connect the three electrical connectors
    • Install the headlight assembly into position, with the locking tab securing to the fender
    • Install the three 10 mm screws and the 10 mm bolt
    • Tighten the 10 mm screws and bolt
    • Repeat removal and installation on the other side
    • The adjuster screw is located at the back of the assembly, with a channel guiding the screwdriver from the top
  5. step : Installing the Bumper Cover (10:46)
    • Set the bumper cover in position
    • Install the two top Phillips screws loosely
    • Push the top edges of the bumper cover into position under the headlight assembly, and lock them into the fender
    • Install the 10 mm screw securing the bumper to the fender on each side
    • Position the wheel well liner into the retaining clip on each side
    • Install the twist lock retainer on each side
    • Install the screws and push pin retainers securing the underbody paneling to the bumper cover
    • Tighten the Phillips screws at the top of the bumper cover
    • Install the push pin retainers along the top of the bumper cover
    • Install the front engine compartment trim
    • Secure the trim with the push pin retainers
  6. step : Aiming the Headlights (14:51)
    • Locate the axis of the headlights, the center point of the headlight bulb
    • Transfer the mark to a vertical wall
    • Mark the wall at the height of the axis mark
    • Back the vehicle up 25 feet
    • Locate the adjusting screw
    • Turn the headlights on
    • Rotate the screw until the passenger beam is two inches below the mark on the wall
    • Rotate the screw until the driver side beam is four inches below the mark

Hi. I'm Geoff from 1A Auto. I'm not one of the technicians that you normally see in these videos. I'm a do-it-yourselfer just to like you. Today, I'm going to show you how to install this headlight in this 2010 Toyota Rav 4. If you need this or any other parts for your vehicle or tools to help you do the job, check out 1aauto.com.

Okay. So we're going to get started by taking off this panel right here. We're just going to get in and these ones come out. You just push down the center and then you can pry it up. That one's already down. Do it like that. Push. There we go. That one. You can go ahead and do the same with the rest of them. And then you can go ahead and this just lifts, slide it back, and out.

All right. So now we're going to go ahead and take off the bumper and we're going to start along the top here. There's a couple of these push clips and then two Phillips screws. So to get these push clips off, you just get in under with a screwdriver, pull up the top and then it pulls right out. We can go ahead and do that for these other ones. And then while we're right here, we'll get this Phillips. These screws ended up being a little rusty and they're kind of stuck, so we're just going to get a little bit of rust penetrant in here. Give that a second to sink in.

All right. Now that we've given that a minute for the rust to break free, let's go ahead. All right. We got that one out and then we can go ahead and get this other one on the other side. And then right here, this is actually one of those pop clips too, so we just need to pry up the top of it and then it comes out. So right here we have another clip that attaches this liner to the bumper. All you need to do is turn it a quarter turn and it'll just pry right out just like that. Okay. And then after you take this clip out, this just separates away and you can see hiding behind right here we have another 10 millimeter screw that secures the bumper to the fender.

You can go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. Now we're going to take a look underneath. We've got a bunch of things that we need to remove to separate the bottom of the bumper. We've got some more of these clips and then we've got a couple of screws that are either 10 millimeter or Phillips. We've got it here, here, here, which we are missing here and then here and here. Just like the other ones, we're just going to pop out at the top. These ones are down on the bottom, so of course they've filled up with all kinds of sand road junk over the years.

So these are not coming out very easily. There we go. And if you wind up breaking any of these plastic pieces, we sell an entire kit of Toyota fasteners on 1aauto.com. So now let's go ahead and we'll get off these 10 millimeter screws. One there, there would be one there and there and there. We're going to skip right to here. This one right here. All right. Now that we've got all the fasteners off, all we have to do is get a good grip and rip. Look at that. I got it all in one go. All right. Now there's four screws holding on this light and they are either a 10 millimeter or Phillips.

This one's kind of deep, so you're going to want an extension. All right. You can see this one on the side here is a bolt instead of a screw and it's only 10 millimeter. It doesn't have a Phillips head like the other ones, so just go ahead and use a 10 millimeter for all of it. Okay. Once you've got the screws and bolts out, there's a little tab right here. You just need to pop this up and then this is a little tricky to get out. You got to kind of work it inwards so that you can clear this piece right here, and then it'll come up. Then all we need to do is disconnect the electrical connectors.

That one and this one. You see these have lots of sand and dirt in there that got them a little stuck, but you just need to wiggle it until you can get it up. Okay. Here we have the headlight that we just took out of this vehicle. And here we have a brand new one from 1A Auto. It's the same shape, same number of lights. Flip it around. We've got the same sockets, same harness. This looks like an exact replacement for the headlight we just took out. It's going to fit in no problem. So let's go ahead and put it in. All right. So now let's transfer over the bulbs from our old headlight, as long as they're still good.

All right. So for this bulb we just need to twist it to lift. Slides right out. This is a 9005. To put it in, line up the tabs with the slots, twist it to the right and it locks right in. Go ahead to the next one. It looks like it's the same thing. Twist, pull. This one's a 9006. Lock it in. And then for this last one, again, just twist and lift, slides right out. This one is a socket, so we just need to pull the bulb out. And this one looks like it's a W21. If you have any questions about any of the bulbs that came out of your headlights, you can look for the writing on the glass or probably the car's manual.

And then we'll just go ahead, twist, pull that out, the bulb just slots right into the socket. Doesn't matter which way. Line up the tabs, twist it to lock it.

So we're getting ready to put this light back in here. We're going to start by reconnecting all the wiring harnesses. After you plug them in, just go ahead and give them a little tug to make sure everything is secure and then we can go ahead. Start with this end, slide it in first, so we can get behind this bar right here. You do that like this. Yeah. Come on. You can get it sitting in place like that. Make sure this tab locks in. All right. Then we're just going to go ahead and put back these three screws and the bolt on the side. When you've got screws or bolts that need to go in hard to reach places, little trick you can do is take a piece of tape, stick it on your socket, stick the screw or the bolts or whatever in.

Now it'll stay there. I'm going to get this one started by hand with just the extension of the socket. And then once we've got them all in, we can just go ahead and tighten them down. The screws are going into plastic, so you don't want to tighten them too, too much, just enough they're stuck. And then you can go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. So now once you've got the headlights installed, you are going to need to go ahead and adjust the beam to make sure it's aiming in the right direction. We've got a little video that we're going to add onto the end here to show you how to do that.

I just want to show you the location of the adjuster screw, which if you take a Phillips screwdriver, there's a little channel that just kind of guides you right down to it. You can get the screwdriver in there and you can just turn it left and right. There's nice little clicks to let you know how far you're going. That's all you need to do. All right. Here's our bumper. We're just going to set it in place right here to start with. I'm going to take my two screws to hold it in place while I work on the rest of the stuff. I'm just going to put them in loosely.

Now we'll come back and tighten them down at the end. All right. So now that we've got it secured up top, we can go ahead and start putting it back in place over here. We've got some some tabs on the back of the bumper here that just kind of rest underneath the headlights and then we've got these tabs that are going to lock in right here, so make sure you get these ones right under the headlight and then these ones will press right in. Then you can go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. Okay. We're going to go ahead and take this 10 millimeter screw that holds the bumper onto the fender.

I'm just going to get it started here. All right. We're just going to tighten that until it's snug. It doesn't need to be too, too tight, just enough to hold on. Now that we've got that screw taken care of up there, we can take the rest of this panel, slide it in behind the bumper, get this piece tucked into this bracket right here. The piece fits in like that. And we take this pin, it's got the little wings on it, they line up with the slot and this bracket here. When everything is lined up, you can push it right in like that. And then to secure it in place, you can take a flat blade screwdriver or something similar, just give it a little turn.

Now it's locked in and you can go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. Okay. Now that we're down here, we've got some screws and some clips that we need to put in. We'll start with the screws. We're going to want one going here and here. We were missing a few, but if you still have them, you're going to want them all along here. So we'll start down on this end. We've got our screws in. Now we've just got one of these clips, that goes in on this side. Push it in to lock it and then another one on the other side. So now that we've got everything on the sides and underneath finished, we can come back up here to finish off the top.

We're going to tighten down these screws and then we've got three more clips to put it in right here. So we have our clips that we're going to put back. This one in the middle has a bumper on the top of it, so we're going to start with that one. We just slide it right in, push it down to lock it, and then you can do the same thing with the other two. Now we can go ahead and finish tightening down these screws. Now we can go ahead and put this trim piece back. It just sets in like that and then we're going to secure it with a whole bunch of the clips with the center button.

We'll start down on this side. Just push it in. Push down the button.

This is a basic tutorial on how to aim the headlights on your vehicle. Find the axis 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 axis. 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 vehicle's headlights. Turn your headlights on and locate the adjusting screw. Usually on the backside of your headlights. You'll want to rotate this until the passenger hot spot 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 1aauto.com for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Socket Extensions
  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Flat Blade Screwdriver
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 10mm Socket

  • Specialty Tools

  • Plastic Fastener Remover

2009 - 2012  Toyota  Rav4
Search Videos
Go To Top


Same Day Shipping

Orders ship same day when ordered by 2pm ET. Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.


Guaranteed To Fit

Providing you the highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.


USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations every day, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.


Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos specific to year, make and model guide you step-by-step through your repair.

Loading...