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Es300 2002 Tailight Bulb Replacement

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Thought I would post a few photos of how relatively simple it is to R&R the tailight bulbs on a 2002 ES300.

First, go to the local autozone and pickup a pair of 12v 2825 bulbs, and if you don't have one you'll need a 10mm deep well 1/4" drive socket or a 10mm box-end wrench or equiv, along with a pair (yes 2) small (~1/8" wide at the tip) flat-head screw drivers or the equivalent narrow tool for removing body panel fasteners. The "standard" US auto body panel fastener removal tool is too wide for the work required in the trunk of the Lexus due to the recessed area in which each of the fastners sit. :cries: (see red horse-shoe outlines in photos).

All the photos are here...

Photos on how-to R/R Tailight on ES-300

Now that you have the tools and the parts, open the trunk all the way to access the two 10mm nuts exposed on the left or right side of the trunk lid. Pick a side to start, but you should probably replace the bulbs in both, since you will have to buy them in pairs anyway.

Locate the two black plastic body panel grommets nearest the tailight (see red-squares in photos). These are the two grommets to be removed to gain access to the 3rd 10mm nut (in addition to the 2 on the side) that is holding the tailight assembly in place on the trunk lid.

Using the two, small flat-head screw drivers or a narrow body panel fastener removal tool, slip the drivers or the tool between the pan head of the plastic body panel grommet and the semi-flexible panel. Rock the handle of the tool(s) up/down in unison to slowly loosen and remove both of the plastic body panel fasteners from there location. When you have both removed you can slowly bend down the body panel (careful not to crease it!) fare enough to reach the metal 10mm nut with a box-end wrench or socket.

Once you have the inside nut off, remove the 2 10mm nuts near the edge of the trunk lid. These are plastic coated so be careful to make sure your wrench fits correctly before turning because they are easily damaged.

Now you can remove the tailight assy from the car by pulling it straight away from the back of the trunk. It may resist if the screws are in a bind, but it will come out. You need to reach the gray/white tailight bulb holder. (Also, be careful with the screws on the tailight assy since they can scratch your paint!) Locate the grey/white bulb holder and unscrew it about 1/4 turn counter clockwise to release the bulb holder from the assy.

Next, using gloves, grab the clear bulb between thumb and forefinger and remove pull straight up from the bulb holder. Toss the spent bulb into the trash and replace it with one of your fresh, new 2825 bulbs by pushing it straight down into the slot.

Place the bulb and bulb holder back into the tailight assy from whence it came and turn it clockwise until it locks into place.

Align the assy back into its recess in the trunk lid and refasten the nuts.

NOTE: when replacing the plastic body panel fasteners you may simply press them into place with your thumb or use a light rubber tipped body hammer to do the trick...just make sure they are properly aligned with the body panel and the hole before wailing on it with the hammer!

And YES you SHOULD do both sides while you're at it. :chairshot:

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