5th Gen Mods, Accessory Lights, Install, Lighting, Tail Lights

Blacked Out Tail Lights on 5th Gen 4Runner by Unique Style Racing

Updated 1/28/21 / Read Time: 4 mins

Blacked Out Tail Lights on 5th Gen 4Runner by Unique Style Racing

Blacked out tail lights (or, “Yay, no more chrome!”)

After I got rid of the chrome emblems on my 4Runner, I decided to continue that trend and ditch the stock, Altezza-style tail lights.

I considered a few options but eventually decided on a really nice set of backed out tail lights from Unique Style Racing (USR).

While I was at it, I also upgraded to resistor-free LED turn signal bulbs in the front and rear, along with brighter LED backup lights – all from USR (see related article here).

Items for this project

Trail4Runner.com readers save 10% on their entire purchase over $100 by using coupon code 4RUNNTRL

Tools required for installation

  • Ratchet
  • 4-6 inch socket extension
  • 10mm deep socket
  • Automobile trim removal tool (only one needed, but this is a nice set)

Details/compare and contrast

The blacked out 4Runner tail lights are made for Unique Style Racing (USR) by large, aftermarket parts manufacturer Depot.

They’re double boxed prior to shipment, and I think they could even withstand a delivery by Ace Ventura posing as a brown-uniformed delivery driver.

When I compared the blacked-out USR tail lights to my original Toyota tail lights, I was impressed with the quality, and way they seemed to mirror the stock tail lights (minus the chrome!). They include all required wiring, new gaskets, and are a quick/easy upgrade for all 2010-2019 4Runners.

Original Toyota 4Runner tail lights

Unique Style Racing blacked out 4Runner tail lights

Unique Style Racing blacked out 4Runner tail lights on the left, Original Toyota 4Runner tail lights on the right

Removing the stock tail lights

  • Use a trim removal tool to open the tail light access panel in the left and right rear corners of the vehicle. There is a small indention near the bottom, towards the front of the vehicle, which the tool can be inserted into. Once one side of the panel is opened, swing to towards the tailgate to remove it.

  • Using the ratchet, extension, and 10mm deep socket, remove the nuts at the top and bottom of the tail light assembly. IMPORTANT: Be careful not to drop the nuts when removing them, as they’ll be very difficult to recover.

  • Unplug the tail light assembly from the vehicle by depressing the “tab” in the large center plug, and pulling straight back.

  • Open the rear hatch to remove the tail light housings. Insert fingers between the top of the tail light assembly and the body, then pull straight back. It will take a fair amount of force to pop the tail lights from the vehicle. IMPORTANT: Only pull straight back. Pulling at any angle may break the tail light assembly at its mounting points.

Views of the tail light assembly popped loose, the “pins” toward the outside that plug into the body, and a horseshoe shaped attachment point towards the front that goes over a mount on the body.

  • Remove the paper backing from the new gasket to expose the adhesive, and adhere it to the back of the tail light assembly.

  • Carefully re-insert the tail light assembly back into the body. Pay attention to the horseshoe shaped attachment point towards the front that goes over a mount on the body, as well as the other attachment points that are highlighted in the photo below.

  • Using the ratchet, extension, and 10mm deep socket, reinstall the nuts at the top and bottom of the tail light assembly. IMPORTANT: Be careful not to drop the nuts when installing them, as they’ll be very difficult to recover.
  • Plug the main wiring harness into the center outlet on the taillight assembly.
  • Reinstall the taillight access panel by inserting the end closest to the hatch first, and pivoting/snapping it shut.

  • Repeat the above steps on the other side of the vehicle, and enjoy your awesome new tail lights!

Additional photos 

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February 2, 2021 4:45 am

I purchased a set of these tail lights and I am impressed with the quality. They come double boxed from the manufacturer, DEPO. I am also impressed with how easy the install is, literally plug and play. Removing the OEM tail-lights was no easy task, they are REALLY in tight. They look stock, and honestly… Toyota should have abandoned the “Altezza” look many years ago. Here’s where I run into issues though, and this is a big one… this company, Unique Style Racing, has hideous customer service. They failed to send one of the items I ordered (and obviously paid… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by SportlineJD
Eric Roach
Eric Roach
July 31, 2020 9:38 am

Hello, great write ups. Wondering if these are sequential turn signals, and if so, any interference with side mirrors or fronts? Planning on adding sequential side marker to mirrors. Thank you.

May 26, 2020 6:14 am

How are these holding up? Any issues with condensation? Any issues with hyperflash? There is a disclaimer on the website that states that if you have other LEDs installed, there may be an issue. I have LED highs/lows and LasFit LED turn signals w/CANBUS front and rear. Think I will have an issue?

May 20, 2020 8:18 am

Will these fit a 2012 limited?

LA Nicholson
LA Nicholson
April 15, 2020 2:16 pm

Did the black out tail lights seed/stick into the 2 vertical attachment points like the OEM does?

April 8, 2020 9:29 am

Is there any other options to black out the chrome on the taillights? Like a film or anything?

March 27, 2020 7:07 pm

Just wanted to say thanks for the tip! Installed these and looking great.

March 8, 2020 5:14 pm

the “4RUNNTRL” coupon code seems to be expired? Any updates on this?

Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed
July 31, 2019 10:32 am

Is there a new coupon code?

May 13, 2019 7:26 pm

One other that i know of,,, hidconcepts has a nice set & headlights too. Bit pricey though.

Michael Burke
Michael Burke
May 13, 2019 5:33 pm

I went to buy, but out of stock. 🙁 Looked a bit, but don’t see any other sellers. IS USR only one doing this?

May 20, 2019 5:40 pm
Reply to  Michael Burke

USR has a fresh batch of tail lights,,, just ordered a set tonight!

May 7, 2019 3:23 pm

I plan on getting a set when they are back in stock. Maybe USR will come out with some replacement headlight housings as well.

May 7, 2019 3:13 pm

Consider yourself lucky if you have a non-LE then! I’m about to spend $400 😠 to replace the stupid thick rocker panels with the OEM trail/TRD rocker panels. And then finally I have my choice of steps/sliders…

May 7, 2019 3:01 pm

Looks good. Great write up.

I can’t get over the overall price of the mod though. Almost 300 bones, yeesh.

April 25, 2019 12:46 am

I just installed a set of these in my 2016 TRD Pro. The stock tail lights always bothered me. Too much ridiculous chrome. Anyway, these fit perfectly, was a super quick/easy install, and looks 100% better. My T4R is metallic gray and fully blacked out. These look awesome with that combination.

Now what to do with factory lights…maybe try tint with spray and see how it comes out.

April 16, 2019 3:46 pm

Wow, the before and after looks better than I expected. I already love the taillights from 2014 (?) on, but the extra bit of black adds some needed contrast and looks much better.

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