DIY: How to replace the headlights on your Toyota FJ Cruiser

Cars are more than just vehicles. It’s no longer just a tool to get from point A to B. People love cars so much nowadays that they’ve become extensions of their owner’s personalities.

When someone owns a sports car, they are often seen as go-getters and like to live life on the edge. People who want luxury cars have exquisite taste and love the finer things in life. The SUV is the perfect fit for adventure seekers because it can take them anywhere and bring all the stuff they need for their weekend getaways.

And if you own a Toyota FJ Cruiser, you chose this vehicle because of its rugged style and contemporary looks. 

It’s the perfect vehicle you can take to the urban jungle or go offroading when your schedule permits. Because you’re the adventurous type, you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, especially when customizing your ride.

One of the first things that come when you want to impart your personality on the FJ Cruiser would be the headlights.

Why bother replacing the OEM headlights?

A car’s headlights are often referred to as the eyes of every vehicle. Replacing your OEM headlights with custom or aftermarket parts would give it an instant facelift that transforms your SUV from ordinary to mesmerizing.

The perfect part of making this plan work is the DNA Projector headlight with sequential LED turn signals. Having this pair of headlights installed on your vehicle would set you apart from everyone else. 

They come in pairs and fit perfectly for 2007 – 2013 FJ Cruiser models.

Now that we have what we need let’s get ready for the next step – the installation process.

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, let’s run a quick recap of what will be covered in the DIY tutorial.

What we will cover in this DIY Tutorial

  1. Tools you need for the job
  2. Headlight removal
  3. Headlight installation
  4. Reassemble the removed parts

The tools that will help you with this task

  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
  • Trim remover tool
  • Test light

Headlight removal

1. Open the hood.

Opening the hood will give you unrestricted access to the parts that will be removed and replaced.

2. Remove the fasteners (2 pop clips and 2 10mm bolts) on the front grill.

After opening the hood is to remove the front grill. You can do this by freeing the pop clip with a slotted screwdriver. The clips are 2 pieces and can separate. After removing the pop clips, remove the 2 10mm bolts next with a socket wrench. 

Once you’ve removed the fasteners, use the slotted screwdriver to free the clips from the grill’s body. Lift the tabs gently to loosen the upper portion of the front grill and use the trim remover tool to release the 3 clips on the lower part of the grill. When the grill is free from any attachment, you can remove it gently and put it aside.

3. Remove the trim panels sitting below the left headlight.

Place your fingers near the 3 clips holding it in place and pull slowly to remove the trim panels. This will expose the 3, 10mm bolts holding the headlight in place.

4. Remove the 3, 10mm bolts holding the left headlight in place

Remove the bolt on the lower-inner portion of the headlight by using a Phillips head screwdriver because of its awkward angle. Once this piece is removed, use the socket wrench for the other 2 bolts fastening the headlights. Using the socket wrench reduces the risk of stripping the bolt.

5. Free the clip behind the headlight 

Use a slotted screwdriver to free the clip behind the headlight. Once done, lift the tab up to loosen the headlight and pull the headlight straight to your chest to release it.

6. Unplug the harness from the light bulbs

You can only remove the headlight entirely once the bulbs are free.

7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 for the other side 

Once you’ve removed the left headlight assembly, repeat the steps to remove the other headlight.

Headlight installation

The headlight installation is divided into 3 parts. This step covers assembling the new headlight, finding out which wire powers the parking light, and finally, installing the new headlight. 

Assembling the new headlight

  1. Remove the 3 nuts from the old headlight
  2. Assemble the new headlight 

Do this by fastening the nuts (by hand) removed from the old headlight. Do not use any power tool to tighten as it can damage the housing.

Once the new headlight has been assembled, we can remove some parts from the old headlight and use them (socket, headlight bulb, and gasket) on the new one. 

Avoid damaging the bulb by not touching it with your hand when handling it. 

  1. Install the plug taken from the old headlight into the OEM socket.

The headlight bulb and gasket are also reused. We can take away these things from the old headlight and use them on the new one.

Once the new headlights have been assembled, it’s time to check the electrical wiring to ensure that the new headlight will work properly.

Determining which wire powers the parking light

  1. Turn on the parking light
  2. Remove the socket on the parking light
  3. Use the test light to determine which part of the socket is providing power

Insert the test light probe on each of the sockets, and once the test light lightens up, you’ve found the wire providing power for the turn signals.

4. Turn on the headlights, signal lights, and hazard function to test if the new headlight is connected and working correctly.

Do this before securely installing the headlight so you can easily make adjustments when something’s not working right.

Installing the headlight

  1. Fasten the bolts to secure the headlight in place

Once everything’s working fine, it’s time to secure the headlight in place.

Reassemble the removed parts

  1. Install the trim panels sitting below the headlights

After securing the headlight in place, reinstall the trim panels to slowly work your way up to restore the vehicle.

  1. Reinstall the front grill

Once the trim panels have been installed, reinstall the front grill.


Replacing the headlights on your FJ Cruiser is not that hard. You just need to set aside the time and commitment to complete this DIY project. Make it easy on yourself and ensure that you have the necessary hand tools to get this done correctly. 
If you loved this article and thinking of upgrading or customizing your ride even further, you might want to check more FJ Cruiser headlights or FJ Cruiser parts at our store. Happy looking!

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