How to Replace Headlight Bulbs in a 2003 Toyota Corolla

Updated February 21, 2017

The headlight unit of a 2003 Toyota Corolla is equipped with a headlight bulb. Over time, the bulb may burn out and will need to be replaced. It's important to replace a burnt out headlight bulb immediately to avoid a traffic violation. The headlight bulb also provides the driver, as well as other drivers on the road, with increased visibility. Replacement headlight bulbs can be purchased at local auto part stores and replacement only takes a few minutes.

Park the Corolla and allow it to sit for a half hour. Doing so allows components to cool down before beginning any maintenance on the vehicle.

Locate the burnt or damaged headlight bulb under the hood of the Toyota. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen and remove the screws that secure the headlight unit in place. Remove the plastic casing by pulling it off of the unit. This will reveal the actual light bulb.

Press down on the light bulb and rotate it to the left. This will engage the release mechanism, and the bulb will pop out of place. Remove the light bulb from the light socket and discard it in a safe place for recycling.

Install the replacement light bulb by placing it into the light socket and pushing down gently while rotating the bulb to the right. Insert the headlight cover back onto the unit and replace the screws. Tighten and secure the screws with the flathead screwdriver. Repeat these steps, if necessary, for the opposite light bulb. Close the bonnet of the Corolla.


Wear some rubber gloves when removing the old bulb or installing the replacement bulb, in order to avoid any cuts or leave any smudges on the new bulb.


Never touch the replacement light bulb with your bare hands. Oils from your hands will cause the light bulb to malfunction and possibly explode.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement light bulbs
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About the Author

Johnathan Cronk is a freelance writer and began writing at the age of 18. Throughout his career he has specialized in sports, how-to and advice articles. He has also written sales pitches in the corporate setting since 2001. He studied business at Hudson Valley Community College before transferring to the State University of New York, Albany.