It’s honestly crazy how much a simple bulb upgrade on most vehicles, especially older ones, will improve your night driving vision. One of the first upgrades on the EEXP, based on an ’01 Dodge Ram 2500, was a PIAA halogen bulb upgrade, and it is one of the top two most useful upgrades I did on that vehicle. It was also by far one of the most inexpensive!

My Dad’s ’07 Tacoma has some pretty basic stock headlights, which don’t put out much light. I get to drive this vehicle quite a bit, and I can tell you that the headlights were okay around town, but horrible out in the country side or on longer road trips. The answer, which provided a massive usable light improvement, was the simple plug and play PIAA Platinum LED (H4) replacement bulbs. These LED units install in the factory headlight assembly and plug directly into the OEM bulb wiring harness. No modifications of any kind are required.

Find out which replacement bulbs you need for your vehicle: PIAA Bulb Application Guide

I will say however, the really basic instructions included with the bulbs aren’t very helpful. You can infer a few helpful hints on how the product is designed, but otherwise you’re kind of on your own. Luckily replacing a headlight bulb isn’t rocket science, so can be relatively easily accomplished by anyone.

2007 Toyota Tacoma

PIAA Platinum LED Bulb Install

You’ll Need: Ratchet with 10mm Socket, Shop Light/Headlamp/Flashlight, Zip Ties

STEP 1: Move Things Out Of Your Way

The first thing you need to do for an easy install is move the battery and windshield washer fluid reservoir, as they are both mounted very close to the back of the headlight assembly.

The battery is located on the drivers side, and just needs to be rotated a bit out of the way. To do this you can leave all wires connected and just remove the battery hold down clamp. Use the 10mm socket and loosen both top bolts. You can then remove the hold down clamp and rotate the battery out of your way, while still leaving it supported on the battery tray.

The windshield washer fluid reservoir is located on the passenger side of the engine bay. In order to move it out of the way  the two bolts at the top need to be removed, both 10mm, and the sensor plug at the bottom popped off. The reservoir can then be lifted out of the way, while still attached to the fluid line. It rests pretty well atop the air intake, which opens up a ton of room to access the back of the headlight assembly.

STEP 2: Remove The Stock Bulbs

To take the bulbs out, you just unplug the wiring connector and tug off the rubber seal. The bulb is then just held in with a metal retaining clip. Push in and up on the upper metal arm of the retaining clip and it will come loose. Simply pull the old bulb out of the housing.

STEP 3: Prep The NEW LED Bulbs

There is a little prep required on the PIAA LED bulbs before installing. Unplug the inline connector and then unscrew the heat sink off the back of the bulb. This will allow you to slide the OEM rubber seal onto the bulb. Screw the heat sink back on, once the rubber seal is in place, and plug the inline connector back together.

STEP 4: Install the NEW LED Bulbs

Now that the LED Bulb is ready for install you can align it with the headlamp and install it using the metal retaining clip to hold it in place. The retaining clip, especially the lower part, is the most finicky tough part to deal with on the entire install, mostly because the of the bulky rubber seal on the bulb. Once the retaining clip is locked into place you can push the rubber seal back into the assembly.

STEP 5: Plug It In

Now that the bulb is installed you just need to plug it in. The connections are the same as the original bulb and it plugs right into the original wiring harness. The small inline box on the LED bulb needs to find a new secure home, just so it doesn’t dangle, rattle and bang around. We found that zip tieing it to the front clip, next to the headlight assembly, was a tidy and convenient spot.

STEP 6: Tidy Up

Now you just need to relocate the washer fluid reservoir, plug the sensor connector back in and bolt it back down with the two upper bolts. The battery is easily rotated back into its original position on the battery tray and strapped back down with the battery clamp.

STEP 7: Adventure!

Now that you have quality lighting for those night time driving excursions it’s time to hit the road less traveled and keep living a life of adventure.

For sure not as easy as “plug and play” might imply, but for sure worth the extra effort. The color and range of the light is much improved, and should last the life of the truck.

If you’ll be off road, and want even more lighting, I’d suggest considering the PIAA RF Series LED Light Bars. I have two 10″ hybrid beam bars on the front of the EEXP, which have served me well on so many of my remote adventures.

PS: This is just the way my Dad and I figured out how to do it on the fly. It might be even easier to remove the heat sink off the bulb and install the bulb with the metal retaining clip, then install the rubber seal and heat sink while the bulb is installed in the headlight assembly. Hindsight is usually 20/20 😉

(Disclaimer: PIAA is a build partner for Exploring Elements vehicles, and has supplied these lighting solutions for review consideration.)

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