My 2002 Toyota Corolla got backed into by a snowplow a few month's back:

enter image description here

  • The headlight/bulb still works (amazingly); however
  • The lens/plastic covering over it is busted; and
  • The entire headlight unit is no longer fastened to the car, which is why I need duct tape to hold it in place. If I remove the duct tape, the entire unit falls out, and dangles by the electric wire going to the bulb.

I'm looking to:

  • Replace the lens covering the bulb; and
  • Re-attach/fastern the headlight unit back to the car, so I can remove the duct tape

My similarly-related questions:

  • Any special tools/techniques I need to replace the lens cover?
  • Any special tools/techniques I need to re-attach the unit to the car?


I tore out the duct tape so you can see what it looks like when the headlight is allowed to dangle out. No signs of any damage to the underlying sub-structure, but I can't figure out how the headlight ever "snapped into" or fastened itself to the sub-structure/car body.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Did the main headlight get affected as well? Do you know if the sub-structure has been affected (what the light attaches to)? Also, much better question! This one is way on topic :D Mar 20, 2015 at 12:52
  • Thanks @Paulster2 (+1) - I will circle back tonight after I get home
    – smeeb
    Mar 20, 2015 at 14:06
  • Thanks @Paulster2, to answer your questions: (1) no the main headlight was not affected (it is perfectly functional and is fastened/secured to the car body). And (2) no it doesn't appear that any damage was done to the sub-structure that the light unit attaches to, but then again, I don't really know what I'm talking about! Any thoughts? I'm happy to up-load different pictures/angles if it helps!
    – smeeb
    Mar 20, 2015 at 15:37
  • Check out this video. I've got it to run at 6:00 in, but you may want to watch the entire thing. It looks as though a bracket may have been destroyed which is actually what mounts the side marker. Mar 20, 2015 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


These days you do not bother with replacing the lens cover because it's a sealed unit. Just buy a whole new assembly from your favorite web parts supplier (eg. Amazon, Rockauto, eBay), local auto parts, or a Toyota dealer ($$$). Look for "Parking/Turn Signal Lamp Assembly" or similar for the make and year of your car.

The genuine Toyota part will be significantly more expensive but usually higher quality (you don't have to buy these from a dealer, there are OEM suppliers out there, including Amazon, that can be cheaper). With that said, unless I really care about the car I usually buy the cheaper aftermarket versions.

As for the metal/frame damage. Usually once you have the new assembly in hand it will be obvious why the old one was falling out. Most likely the plastic mounting tabs on the old assembly are simply broken but could be metal/frame damage that will need to be bent/beaten back in to place. Hopefully you didn't lose any screws. Dealer or hardware store can provide fasteners. You can always disassemble the one on the other side if you're not sure how it's suppose to be attached.

Depending on the vehicle you may have to remove the front bumper cover and other plastic pieces on the front of the car to enable you to properly fit and mount the new unit or take the old one off. Although sometimes you get lucky and everything is accessible without disassembling too much stuff. If it looks complicated I recommend a service manual/book to explain the proper procedure (available for purchase or if you search the web the PDF's are usually out there).

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