Toyota Tacoma Lighting

Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting Information

Third Generation - 2016-Present

2016-2018 Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting

The Third Generation of Toyota Tacoma models covers the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, 2017 Toyota Tacoma, and 2018 Toyota Tacoma, and this new generation came with some aggressive redesigns to the looks over the Second Generation models. One of the best changes that Toyota made with the newer models was that they equipped them all with Projector-style Low Beam headlamps.

A Reflector-type housing (or non-projector) bounces light out and scatters it on the road, and while this will light things up for you there are definitely better ways of illuminating your nighttime drive. A Projector-style housing uses a different configuration of lenses and projectors inside the headlamp and produces a more tightly-controlled beam pattern. This gives a sharper focus to the light and a clean cutoff where the light pattern ends, so you are less likely to be annoying other drivers on the road. Because of this tighter focus to the light being projected, a Projector-style housing is a better candidate for doing any sort of lighting upgrade from stock halogen bulbs, because you will get more controlled results.

Now that know exactly why a Projector headamp is such a great feature, let's talk about the headlight bulbs that the newer Tacomas use. For starters, your Low Beam headlights use an H11 halogen bulb, and you can see some technical specs on these below:

  • IEC Base type: PGJ19-2
  • Base type: Right Angle Prefocus, H11
  • Filaments: CC-8
  • H11 bulb length: 6.7cm
  • H11 bulb width: 1.08cm
  • Volts: 13.2
  • Amps: 4.17
  • Watts: 55W

H11s are commonly used for Low Beam headlights (and sometimes for Fog Lights as well - more on those later!), and stock halogens give out about 1200 lumens of light output, although they will have that yellow-ish stock bulb colour. If you are looking to upgrade the Low Beams on your 2016 or 2017 Tacoma, then we have a few different options you can look for better colour and increased ouput:

  • H11 Xtreme HID Kit - the 4300K bulbs (especially the rebased Philips 4300K bulb option - these put out 3200 lumens per bulb!) are the best choice if you are looking for bright, white lights. They give that OEM-HID look you see on many vehicles these days (Ex: BMW, Mercedes, etc)
  • H11 Xtreme LED Headlight Kit - with a stable lumen output (after running for over half an hour) of around 1750, these are about a 50% upgrade over the output from your stock halogens, and they come with a crisp white 5500-5700K colour for enhanced visibility

High Beams:

Now that your regular driving headlights are taken care of, let's look at your High Beam bulbs. The newer Tacomas use an H9 halogen bulb for their High Beams, and these are already very bright as far as the limits of halogen technology go. You can see a few technical details of the H9 bulb here:

  • IEC Base type: PGJ19-5
  • Volts: 12V
  • Watts: 65W

We do not normally recommend going with HIDs for High Beam applications, because all HID lighting has a brief warmup period when turned on. This is more noticeable from a cold start of the vehicle, but will always be present. If you use your High Beams like most people do - for quick flashes of light from time to time - then the lights will still be warming up when you need them, so they are not really ideal here. However, if your driving habits include running your High Beams for extended periods of time - for example if you live in rural or mountainous areas, or do a lot of off-roading where you really need the extra light - then these might be a good fit for you. Since HIDs are not always the best choice here, we can also recommend going with an LED Kit, as it will fire up much more quickly for day-to-day usage. That being said, because H9 halogens are so powerful to start with, the majority of the benefit you will see by going to an LED Kit will be in the longevity of the technology and having the whiter colour to the light.

  • H9 Xtreme HID Kit - brightest output and many colour selections to choose from - but stick to 4300K or 5000K for the brightest, whitest lights
  • H9 Xtreme LED Headlight Kit - crisp, bright white 5500-5700K lighting and an incredibly long lifespan (20000-50000 hours of use)

Fog Lights:

No discussion of your Tacoma's Forward Lighting would be complete without touching on your Fog Lights. These use different bulbs depending on the model type of your Tacoma:

  • TRD Models: H11 Fog Light Bulbs
  • Non-TRD Models: H16 Fog Light Bulbs

H11 and H16 bulbs are very similar to each other: they have basically the same bases and locking tabs, so the real difference is that an H11 halogen runs at 55W while the H16 halogen is only 19W, so there is a big difference in their overall output. You can see a few technical details of the H16 halogen bulb below:

  • H16 IEC Base type: PGJ19-3
  • Volts: 12V
  • Amps: 1.58
  • Watts: 19

What this means for you is that whether you are dealing with an H11 or H16 Fog Light housing, you have many of the same options for lighting upgrades.

While you can install an H11 HID Kit in the Fog Lights for a 2016, 2017, or 2018 TRD model Tacoma, we do not normally recommend this as the housings are smaller, so the drastic light output increase will give you a lot of glare. LEDs tend to make better choices for Fog Light upgrades, but you can see your options below:

  • H11 Xtreme HID Kit - overall this is the brightest option, but watch out for glare from the smaller housing
  • H11 Xtreme LED Fog Light Kit - the brightest LED option, 5500-5700K, 1750 lumens (stable value after the lights have been running for about an hour, but they will be brighter when first fired up)
  • H11 Xtreme LED CMB - least bright option, but available in 5000K and 6000K for colour-matching, 800 lumens - these are more intended for Cosmetic use, rather than as a Functional Upgrade
  • H11 White 6000K Philips Fog Lights or H11 Yellow 2700K Philips LED Fog Lights - the light output for these is comparable to an H11 halogen (around 1200 lumens), but the colour can be a bit nicer and you will be using long-lasting LED technology instead of stock halogens

You do not, however, want to to put HIDs in an H16 Fog Light housing, because although our HIDs all run at 35W (much lower than the wattage for halogen Headlight bulbs), that is still quite a bit more wattage, power draw, and most importantly Heat, than the housing is designed for. You will likely run into heat-related damage in the long-term (if not the short-term) - trust us, melting your housings is no fun and will be an expensive repair job. That being said, you have a few LED options for H16 Fog Lights:

If you want to see other bulb fitments for Rear and Interior/Courtesy lighting as well, you can check out our vehicle lighting guides for the Third Generation Tacomas. These guides are broken down more specifically by sub-model, so you will need to look at the listings for 'Tacoma' and/or 'Tacoma Base' to see bulb fitments common to all models:

Second Generation: 2005-2015

2012-2015 Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting

In the second half of the Second Generation, the Tacomas used H4 bulbs for their headlights. The H4 is a dual-filament halogen bulb that allows a single bulb to run both Low and High Beam functions by activating one of two separate filaments, which each have different positions and levels of light output. You can see a few details about H4 Halogen bulbs below:

  • IEC Base type: P43t
  • Base type: Axial Prefocus, H4
  • Filaments: C-8/C-8
  • H4 bulb length: 9.2cm (3.62")
  • H4 bulb width: 1.65cm (0.65")
  • Volts: 12/12
  • Amps: 5/4.58
  • Watts: 60/55

If you are looking for an upgrade for the headlights on your 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015 Tacoma, you can go with a Bi-Xenon HID Kit or an LED Kit to get better results than you do with the stock halogens. A Bi-Xenon HID kit uses a single glass capsule to produce the light, so there is no difference in the amount of illumination that you get between Low and High Beam modes. The difference comes from the two different patterns of light that are produced when the solenoid (mechanized switch) in the base physically moves the bulb in and out. This allows the light to reflect differently inside the housing and produce the two different headlight beam functions. An H4 LED bulb, by comparison, is a bit more simple - it has two sets of diodes, which light up based on signals from the vehicle to produce Low or High Beams (or both, if your vehicle can have Low and High active at the same time).

We would recommend any of the following conversion kits to get more out of your 2012-2015 Tacoma's headlights:

Fog Lights:

The 2012-2015 Tacomas also have Fog Lights that use H11 bulbs, so you have the same sorts of options for upgrading these that you do for the Fog Lights on the Third Generation TRD models. We recommend going with some LEDs, like one of the following options:

2005-2011 Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting

In the first half of their Second Generation of production, the Toyota Tacomas used the now-standard H4 halogen bulbs for the Low/High Beam headlights and H10 halogen bulbs for their Fog Lights. We recommend going with an H4 Xtreme LED Headlight Kit for your best upgrade on the headlights, but you can also look at H4 Bi-Xenon Xtreme HID Kits for the brightest option overall.

Check out the 2005 Toyota Tacoma H4 Philips Ultinon Led Review and other great customer reviews in our Reviews section of the site. We also have a review of the H4 Philips LEDs in another Toyota vehicle - it won't be exactly the same, but you can get another look at how these lights perform in this 2016 Toyota Tundra H4 Philips LED Review.

Fog Lights:

The 2005-2011 Tacomas used the same H10 bulb for their Fog Lights that they introduced in 2004. H10s are a 45W halogen bulb, so you can go with a 35W H10 HID Kit here if you want, but we would recommend LEDs for less overall glare in the smaller housing.

  • H10 Xtreme HID Kit - these are the brightest option, but can produce lots of glare in a smaller, non-projector housing
  • H10 Xtreme LED CMB - available in 5000K (White) and 6000K (White/Blue) for colour-matching - you get less light output with the CMBs, but these are just a plug and play bulb as opposed to a whole conversion kit

Looking for some more details about the bulbs you need for a Second Generation Tacoma? See our vehicle lighting guides:

First Generation: 1995-2004

1998-2004 Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting

From 1998 to 2004, the Tacoma only offered H4 halogen headlights. The dual-filament H4 halogen bulb runs both Low and High Beam functions in a headlight assembly, so if you want to upgrade you need an option that will do both for you:

  • H4 Bi-Xenon HID Kits - the brightest option, with several colour temperatures to choose from
  • H4 Xtreme LED Headlight Kits - brighter than stock but not as bright as HIDs, these LEDs are rated for 5500-5700K (crisp white light)
  • In 2004, the Tacomas also started coming equipped with the H10 Halogen Fog Lights they would use until 2011. You can either go with H10 Xtreme LED CMBs for a quick and easy LED colour-matching solution, or you could convert to an H10 Xtreme HID Kit if you want much more power and are not as concerned with the glare they will produce in the smaller housing.

    1995-1997 Toyota Tacoma Forward Lighting

    First introduced in 1995 to replace the Toyota Hilux pickup truck, the Tacoma was designed with a focus on ride quality, handling, comfort and safety, rather than ruggedness and payload capacity, as it was intended to be used as a personal vehicle, instead of for commercial/agricultural purposes. First Generation Tacomas cover the years from 1995 through 2004 and had few lighting changes during that time, mostly surrounding the headlights.

    The earliest model Tacomas only had Sealed Beam headlamp enclosures: with these you cannot just swap out a lightbulb - you need to find a replacement for the whole assembly. Xenon Depot carries the JW Speaker 8900 Evolution LED Units to upgrade these lighting applications. These are DOT-Approved and Street-Legal Low/High Beam LED lighting units, designed as a replacement for any 5" x 7" lighting enclosure.

    In 1997, the Tacomas were produced with two different headlight options: the Sealed Beam headlamps that had been used for the first few years of production and H4 Low/High Beam halogen lights.

    The H4s were the same bulbs used by the Tacomas up until 2015, so the same types of upgrades are available: H4 HID Kits and H4 LED Headlight Kits (recommended).

    For a full listing of bulbs for First Generation Tacomas, check out our vehicle lighting guides: