One of the brake lights went out in my wife’s 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, so I thought I would write up a quick guide to brake light replacement for one of these. The job is easy, with the only trick being getting the plastic off without breaking anything. I’ve documented how to do this below.
Tools and Parts Required
- 7443 brake light bulb – Available at most auto parts stores
- One of these fastener removal tools – Also at most auto parts stores
- A pair of needle nose pliers
Removing Three Plastic Fasteners
Most cars these days bury access to the tail lights under trim pieces like this, using these fragile little plastic push pin clips. These actually aren’t hard to get out, but a fastener removal tool is pretty handy to keep from breaking them.
Use of the tool is straightforward. Gently pry the fastener up enough to get the tool under the lip, and then push it in all the way as shown. At this point, just put a little leverage on the tool, and the fastener will pop up.
Once you get the first two out, you’ll have two hopefully-unbroken fasteners that look like this.
There one more higher up, pictured. You use the same removal procedure.
Removing the Webbing Retention Thingy
I don’t know what this plastic hook deal is called, but it needs to come out too. With the other plastic fasteners removed, you can peel back the carpet enough to expose this plastic barb.
A pair of needle nose pliers can sneak in between the carpet and the car. Pinch these barbs and this piece pulls right out.
It was hard to get a good picture of this thing in situ, but here’s what it looks like once it comes out.
Unplug the Brake Light
With the fasteners out of the way, you can pull the carpet back enough to access the brake light area. Unplug the brake light connector, pictured, by squeezing the little retention tab and giving it a pull.
Remove the Brake Light
With the plug removed, you can directly grab on to the brake light socket. Here’s a view through the lens of what’s going on. The first view shows it installed, with little plastic flanges on the socket holding it in place. These are indexed. You rotate the bulb clockwise, as you’re looking through the lens, to get the second picture. Then you can simply pull the socket out.
Replacing the Bulb
And the job is finally about done. Pull the old bulb out of the socket, put in the new one, and follow the directions in reverse to reinstall. Brake light replacement on these cars is not difficult, but as usual for car makers these days, getting past the trim panels is the main trick.