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Toyota Minute Mod: Brighter Toyota Reverse Lights

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Author: Joe Micciche - May, 2000

The Toyota rear light assembly: notice how the reverse (center) light is sunken into the housing.

The reverse, or backup, lights on Toyota pickups and 4Runners are scorned as being too dim. For in-town driving they are adequate, but they are about useless on the trail. I tried the halogen replacement reverse lights and found they offered no improvement over stock. This pet peeve, and lack of results, got me thinking of how to improve them.

The divider is unpainted and dulls the light.

The culprit causing the dim reverse light is neither the light itself, nor the housing nor the lens. Rather, there is a plastic "divider" that isolates the lights so that when one is on, it's not bleeding into the other lenses. Great thought for drivers behind you, but bad execution because this divider is an unpainted, dull gray-beige plastic piece. The remainder of the housing is finished from the factory with a reflective silver tone.

The painted divider is now as "luminescent" as the rest of the housing.

To solve this problem, I simply removed the tail light lens, then removed the divider. I picked up a small can of high-gloss silver paint and just painted this piece. I made sure to paint the entire part so as to help with all of the lights.

Let there be (a little more) light!

After allowing the spray paint to dry, I reinstalled the assembly and gave it a shot. While I don't have any professional meters to gauge this, there was a positive change in the amount of light. Short of wiring up rear auxiliary lights, this is a quick and cheap way to help out your night-time rear vision.

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