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Cutting through Fog: Tacoma Fog Lights

Cutting through Fog: Tacoma Fog Lights

Fog lights are an often-overlooked item. They provide additional light to help with inclement weather, dusty conditions, and even clear-weather cornering. They are typically mounted as low on the vehicle as feasibly possible. This allows for the wide, short beam of the fog light to illuminate as much of the roadway as possible.

Shop Tacoma Fog Lights

If you're planning on tackling a nightly off-road trip in your Tacoma, having all the help you can get as far as lights go is vital. Fog lights serve to illuminate lower obstacles that you might otherwise miss with your farther reaching light bars. They also serve as an excellent back up if something should happen to your headlights.

Tacoma Fog Lights >

Tacoma Fog Light Location

1st Generation (1995.5-2004): The first generation of Tacomas were not available with fog lights from the factory. There are some modifications one can do to the lower front parking lights and corner lamps to make the parking lights stay on with the headlights, and the corner lamps to blink with the turn signals, rendering a “sort-of” fog light. This is definitely not the best option, as the bulbs that fit into the sockets of the parking lights are not very bright.

2nd Generation (2005-2014): On this generation of Tacoma, the fog lights are round, and located towards the bottom of the plastic lower front fascia.

3rd Generation (2015-Present): The present Tacoma has round fog lights that are located on either side of the plastic front bumper cover, near bumper height

Stock Fog Light Bulbs

As stated previously, the first-gen Tacomas were not manufactured with fog lights. From 2005 onward, things can get a little tricky. From 2005-2011, the fog lights were Toyota part# 90981AD002, standard halogen lamps designed to operate on 12 volts and puts out 45 watts.

In 2012, depending on the VIN sequence, the Tacoma utilized either Toyota part# 90981AD002, same as above, or Toyota part# 90981AD006, a halogen lamp with a 12 volt operating voltage and 55 watts of power.

The 2013 through 2016 models also came with Toyota part# 90981AD006, as described above.

The 2017-2018 Tacomas were again split by VIN sequence. The earlier models were built with Toyota part# 90981AD006, like the 2013-2016 trucks. The later sequence numbers were upgraded to Toyota part# 9098113090, an LED lamp that runs on 12 volts and produces 19 watts. That is indeed less wattage, but an LED is significantly brighter than a halogen bulb. All are twist-in type bulbs and are easy to change.

Benefits of LEDs & Why to Swap to LEDs

While more expensive than the average halogen bulbs, LED bulbs, or sealed LED replacement fog light assemblies, offer a myriad of advantages over their halogen counterparts. The first and most simple is that they’re brighter. An LED lamp can produce much more light than a halogen lamp. Next, an LED bulb uses much less power than a halogen.

The LED produces the same light output at a much lower draw of power. They free up more juice for the rest of your off-road accessories. Because LEDs use less power, and aren’t actually burning a filament, they will produce much less heat than halogen bulbs.

Another benefit is the color, or temperature, of the light produced. Basic halogen bulbs produce a light that is slightly yellow, or “warm.” LED bulbs produce a “cooler,” white light that is easier on human eyes. The final benefit? Longevity.

A halogen bulb has a lifespan of about 2 years. The LED bulb can last for 5 years or more. Because of the longer life of LED technology, the initial investment is offset by having to replace the halogen bulbs 2-3 times over the lifespan of one set of LED bulbs.

Installation Difficulty

The difficulty of installation varies greatly depending on what you’ve got to start with. Regardless of year or generation, the first few steps are the same. Start by removing the front tires. It’s not required, but it will make your whole day a lot easier. Next, remove both front plastic wheel liners. If so equipped, you should now be able to see the back side of the fog light assembly and bulb.

First generation Tacomas are definitely going to be the most difficult, as they were not equipped with fog lights from the factory. You’ll have to start by picking a set of self-contained LED pods and purchasing a wiring kit. Remember, no factory fog lights means no factory fog light switch, no factory fog light wiring, no factory fog light relay, etc. Next at hand is mounting location. Fog lights should be mounted as low to the ground as possible, and as far away from each other as possible.

Everyone will choose the mounting spot that looks best, but the recommended location will yield the best results.  Now you’ve got to drill holes and mount the pods to the truck. Then select a location inside the cab, drill a hole, and install a switch. Finally, everyone’s favorite, the wiring! You’ll need to run wiring between the switch inside the cab, the pods themselves, a relay that you’ll need to mount under the hood, the battery, and a chassis ground.

There are several possibilities on the 2nd and 3rd generation trucks. If your truck wasn’t optioned with fog lights from the factory, you’ve got the same fate ahead of you as the 1st gen guys. The good news is, after cutting out the holes where the factory lights would be mounted, you can purchase an application-specific LED pod mounting kit that fits perfectly in the factory location.

Then, you can select any LED pod of the appropriate size, and bolt it right into the mounting bracket. This allows for many more options, as well as make it easy to swap between pods. You’re still going to have to do some wiring, but most kits can be ordered with a plug and play style harness.

If your second gen came with factory fog lights, you’ve got four different options. First is an application-specific LED pod mounting kit, and pods of the appropriate size, as described above. The difference here is that you can order a wiring harness for your LEDs that will connect right into the factory harness. No wiring! 

Next is application-specific LED pods. You can buy a kit containing LED pods designed to fit directly into the factory location. They can also be accompanied by adapter harnesses to connect directly to the factory plug. 

The third option would be replacement LED bulbs, with external ballasts. The bulb portion of this setup twists and locks into the factory bulb opening. You must then find a clean, dry spot to mount the ballast pack. Connect 1 plug between the bulb and the ballast, and plug the ballast into the factory harness.

Done! The last, and easiest option is self-contained ballast replacement LED bulbs. These look very similar to the factory bulb layout but have a much larger base to house the ballast, electronics, and cooling devices. Take the old bulb out, twist the new one in. Connect the factory harness to the new bulb, and you’ve got better fog lights!

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro