any tips for replacing third brake light (aka center stop light)? - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums


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1st Generation (2001-2007) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 1st generation Toyota Highlanders.

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Old 06-14-2009, 08:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy any tips for replacing third brake light (aka center stop light)?

We have a 2002 highlander limited v6 with the optional spoiler. The screws on the third brake light are so well aligned that you have to take off the spoiler to get to the screws. Once I got the screws off, it seems red cover is glued to the body. Other than carefully prying this off, is there any tips for replacing this elusive third brake light? I thought this was going to be a 5 minute job. Maybe someone with experience could share some helpful tips. Thanks in advanced.

Last edited by mr.f00; 06-14-2009 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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there's no other way to open that cover, just pry it carefully, it's not glued, it's just the build up over time causing it to stick.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks DaiFai. Sure seems like it is glued and not just build up of junk. I did un-seat the outer perimiter of the red cover but it still seems like it is stuck, glued or hooked onto something. I can see a metal housing underneath it (from looking at an angle) and it seems like that whole housing moves when I try to pry the cover off. I guess I'll try to keep prying it off.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm having the same problem on my 04. Need to change the bulb so I can get it inspected.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hello, Fellows!

I'd replaced 3rd stop signal from the inside of the car! Open the rear door, take off the upper strap of plastic and You can change the buld easily. No need to do anything with spoiler! The external red glass of the 3rd stop signal must be hermetic to avoid any water or dust to penetrate to it.

Sorry for bad english!
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Does anybody have the solution to replacing this high mounted stop light? Vehicle is a 2006 Highlander, no spoiler.
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Old 09-27-2009, 03:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here is the detailed instructions for a 2006 HL:

1. REMOVE BACK WINDOW PANEL TRIM UPPER
2. REMOVE CENTER STOP LIGHT SOCKET & WIRE
(a) Disconnect the connector, and remove the center stop light socket & wire.
3. REMOVE CENTER STOP LIGHT ASSEMBLY
(a) Remove the 2 screws.
(b) Disengage the 4 claws, and remove the center stop light assembly.
4. REMOVE CENTER STOP LIGHT GASKET
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You don't have to do all the steps in the above thread for my 2002 Highlander.

Just open the hatch, locate the middle plastic trim strip on top of the window behind the 3rd light, and gently pull it out from the clips holding it on. I pulled from the top. Be careful not to damage the metal clips or the plastic pieces behind the trim that go into the clips. There is a clip towards the left side and one towards the right.

Locate the bulb holder and twist it a quarter turn counter-clockwise and pull it out. Take out the old bulb, put in the new, reinsert the bulb and holder, twist clockwise.

Line up the clips with the plastic inserts inside the trim strip and push on. You may have to give it a couple of strategic whacks with the bottom of your fist to get everything to snap in tight.

Done!

This was not as easy as the dealer said!!!

Last edited by shib; 04-20-2010 at 06:45 PM. Reason: didn't specify model year
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Talking

If you're like me and you only need to replace the BULB inside the Center Stop Assembly, (2006 Hybrid - The place where I took it to get inspected told me they would have to take the spoiler off just to replace the bulb!), do the following:

The center trim on the top of the door comes off if you pull it straight out. "Shib" up above said pull gently. There are three metal clips holding the trim to the door and they're pretty stiff, so you have to put a little effort into it. I found I had to pull just hard enough to feel like I was gonna break the trim.

Once you have the plastic trim off, you will see where the wire connects. Squeeze the side of the connector to release it, then pull it straight out.

The bulb sits in a socket - turn the plastic socket COUNTERclockwise about half a turn to get it out and you'll be able to change the bulb.

Thanks to all you guys (and the Haynes manual!)

Last edited by Nehesi; 12-04-2010 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Seems that the 3rd brake light is commonly out in these Highlanders. Wife and I were driving around today and she told me that she sees so many highlanders with the 3rd brake light out. Sure enough we saw a few on the road and most of them too had no working 3rd brake lights. We get home and get out of the car and sure enough the light isn't working on our Highlander either and we just bought it 2 weeks ago and it even passed inspection.

So whats the consensus with these things? Are they replaced from the inside as would make sense to me and do they have LED replacements available somewhere so this doesn't happen again in the future?
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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LED replacement swould be nice. I know the hybrid Highlanders have LED taillights!! Maybe there 3rd brake light is LED as well in the hybrids!
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have an '07 HiHy and the center brake light has burned out 4 times in 70K miles over 4 1/2 years.

It is not an LED like the HiHy tail lights.... Am searching for an LED substitute.

I also see MANY Highlanders with the center brake light out... What's up Toyota???
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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^
I wonder if we couldn't just mod up a replacement from a place like ozmium.com (LED wholesaler)

Would require a bit of fab skills.

An easier alternative would be to see if we can switch / mod harness to accept an easily obtainable bright LED. Going to LED means it's not like we're going to blow any fuses or anything.

I'm going to look into it. (not promising anything fast here folks) But I also pried off my upper cover before realising you access from the inside

G
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Try:

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...sp=%2F1157.htm
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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And LED 3rd brake light mod would be great. A good fitting well made LED should last longer in a car application and would likely be brighter and more visible.
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