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Replacing All Climate Control Dash Lights: 2003 Toyota 4Runner


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Climate Control Light Bulbs in the 4th Gen Toyota 4Runner

Pretty much every 4th generation Toyota 4Runner owner will find themselves with climate control bulbs that go out. The replacement is incredibly easy yet I hear many people putting this off (including myself). The reason for me was mainly because I found it would take a bit of time for me to get the right part numbers before doing the bulb replacements.

After some research, I put together some diagrams showing what part numbers would be needed depending on whether you have the SR5/Sport or Limited model, as well as what bulbs power what on the center dash. You may choose to replace the bulbs whole (bulb with bulb holder) or you might want to save some money by wiring up bulbs to the existing bulb holders. I’ve shown both methods below as well as the products you’ll need whichever way you choose to proceed with.

Climate Control Bulb Part Numbers

The SR5 and Sport models on the 4th generation Toyota 4Runner have the same climate control settings (pictured below). The Limited model has dual climate control, so the center temperature control dial will look different. The two variations will utilize different number of bulbs as well as different part numbers.

The front view of the climate control settings show which part numbers and bulbs light up which part of the front face.

The back view of the climate control console shows the location of the bulbs that correspond to the respective bulb and part number.

Bulbs can usually be found on Amazon if you want it quick, but they can usually be found for a tad cheaper on Ebay if you’re willing to wait a little longer for shipping. I also see a few listings with a whole set of bulbs so you don’t have to purchase them individually. However, since your mileage my vary depending on what model 4Runner you have, it’s best to use the bill of material on the photos above and make your purchase accordingly.

Part #90010-09015: Amazon / Ebay
Part #90010-09016: Amazon / Ebay
Part #90010-09017: Amazon / Ebay
Part #90010-09018: Amazon / Ebay
Part #90010-09019: Amazon / Ebay

Which Bulbs to Buy and Which Bulbs to Wire

The price can add up quickly if you’re purchasing more than one bulb. Each bulb is quite expensive (about $6-$7 per bulb), so purchasing a whole set of bulbs for your climate control unit can cost $50-$60.

A cheaper alternative is to purchase individual bulbs with wire terminal leads. This is essentially the bulb with wire leads connected, without the bulb holder portion. These units cost about 75 cents each; you just need to wire it into the existing bulb holder. Therefore, you’re saving about $5-$6 per bulb by going this route. Either one of these options below from Amazon works for this application:

CEC Industries 7219 Bulbs, 12 V, 0.72 W, Wire Terminal Base, T-1 shape (Box of 10)
Memotronics 7219 Bulbs, 12 V, 0.72 W, Wire Terminal Base, T-1 Shape (Box of 10)

In my experience, the only bulbs that is difficult to wire up are the #90010-09017 (the bulbs that light up the LCD Panel). This bulb incorporates a metal contact system along with the wire bulb. Without specialty tools, it is virtually impossible to disassemble and re-assemble this bulb assembly without damaging the unit. As you can see below, my attempt at replacing only the bulb portion on the #90010-09017 proved futile.


 

I recommend on these particular 90010-09017 bulbs to simply replace them completely. It may cost more to buy the bulb, but there are only two of these specific type of bulbs on the 4Runner’s climate control. If you’re only dealing with the climate control LCD panel that needs to be fixed, you can find that post here.

The rest of the bulbs can be replaced easily without the obstacle of the additional metallic contacts. Therefore, it is easy to disassemble and reassemble the bulb assembly in order to install the new bulbs with wire terminal leads.


 

Summary
90010-09017 bulbs: replace with complete replacements
All other bulbs: wire up with new bulbs with wire terminal base

How to Replace Climate Control Bulbs

First, make sure the vehicle is off. Remove the tray right below the climate control settings. This will expose a Phillips head screw that will need to be removed.

The whole climate control unit can now be pulled off with your bare hands. Start by gripping the bottom part of the climate control piece and pull straight out towards you. This should pop the bottom two tabs out. You may then proceed to pull the whole unit by getting your fingers behind the unit. Once you pull the whole unit out, you will see how it is held in place. There are four tabs that secure the climate control unit.

After the unit pops off, there is still an electrical connector behind it that is still connected. Disconnect this connector and the unit should be disengaged from the rest of the car.

 

With access to the back of the unit, you’ll have access to all of the bulbs that may need to be replaced.

Using a flat head screwdriver, insert the flat tip into the back of the bulb holder and turn a quarter-turn counter-clockwise to release it from the unit. You might need to turn the unit upside down afterwards and give it a few light whacks for the bulb to pop out.

 

Take the new bulbs and insert into the opening, making sure that you line up the tabs of the bulb holder and the unit.

Take the flat head screwdriver again, press down on the bulb into the flat slot, and then screw the bulb clockwise a quarter-turn to lock it in place. The flat slot should line up with the line on the housing when it is tightened and secure.

How to Wire Climate Control Bulbs

If you purchase complete replacements, then it is as simple as remove the existing bulb, install the new bulb, and you’re done. If you opt to save some money by purchasing the bulbs with terminal leads and wiring up the bulbs instead, then you need to take a few more steps.

Take the existing bulb out, and use a thin flat head screwdriver (a knife or blade will probably work too) to insert between the wiring and bulb holder. Then pull or twist the tool so that the lead pulls loose.

   

You’ll be able to see how the existing wire is wrapped around the bulb holder once you remove it. After the leads are loose, the bulb itself along with the terminal leads is free and you should be able to pull the bulb out freely.

   

Make sure to remove the small bulb cover from the existing bulb and transfer it over to the new bulb.

 

Then insert the new bulb with bulb cover into the bulb holder, ensuring that the leads go through the two holes inside of the bulb holder.

 

Then, spread the leads apart so that they line up with slots as shown. You can pretty much move these leads by hand, and then use a small/thin flat head screwdriver to press the wire against the bulb holder to ensure it fits as tight as possible.

The two wire leads can then be wrapped around the slots as shown below. You’ll quickly notice that the leads wrap around the bulb holder mainly to provide electrical contact on the bulb side of the holder and to hold it in place. Therefore, it’s not imperative to get this perfect, but it’s best practice to get this wrapped tight enough to be secure.

 
 

Some bulbs might require you to trim the leads to fit, but even if they are a little long, it will still do its job. Just use your best judgement; if you find that the leads seem abnormally long after wrapping it around the bulb holder once, then you can trim them to fit.

Replacing the climate control dash light bulbs are very easy. Even wiring new bulbs is easy too and will save you a ton of money. I replaced the two LCD screen panel bulbs with complete bulb replacements and re-wired all new lights on the remaining bulbs all during my 30 minute lunch from work.

I tried to make it very easy on this post to show what parts do what and what parts would be needed to do this job whether you choose to replace the whole bulb and holder or wire them up yourself. Hope this was useful to you if you’re in need to replacing the interior climate control bulbs.


For reference, I’ve also provided the official Toyota diagram of the climate control panel with associated part numbers below.

Scott enjoys fixing and improving cars, motorcycles, and his home in his spare time. He does his best to transcribe his journey as he navigates across unknown territory, finds himself in peculiar predicaments, and figures out how things work in the process.

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