Center mount brake light bulb replacement procedure for a 1999 Lexus RX300
1. Open the rear hatch/door that contains the center mount brake light.
2. Locate the trim piece that is directly behind the center mount brake light. This would be the horizontal trim piece at the top of the hatch.
3. The trim piece is attached to the door via 4 clips. Grab the trim piece with both hands, getting your fingers and thumb behind the top and bottom of the trim piece, and give it a good pull straight towards you. Trust me you will not break anything if you pull it straight out. Mine came off on the first pull but I have fairly strong hands and fingers. The clip on the far left (drivers side) attaches differently than the other 3 so you might have to move the trim piece towards the glass AFTER the other 3 clips are loose.
4. Once you have the trim piece off, the back of the brake light fixture is visible. Just turn the bulb holder until it will pull out. Then remove burnt out bulb and replace with a new one ($1.99 at your local auto parts store). Once the new bulb is in, insert the bulb holder back into the fixture and turn it until it locks. Have someone hit the brake pedal to make sure it lights.
5. Now you have to replace the trim piece. I have found that this task is very easy if you remove the metal clips from the door and attach them to the trim piece instead of trying to line everything up with the clips in the door. Use needle nose pliers to remove the clips from the door being carefull not to scratch any painted metal. You may have to squeeze them a little to get them out. Once out, place them on the plastic tabs on the trim piece. The tabs line up with the clip holes in the door. As you now can see, the left clip is different. It hooks over the door rather that going into a hole in the door. When all four clips are installed on the trim piece, you are ready to put it back on. Start by hooking the left clip on the door and line up the other 3 clips with their respective holes in the door. Once everything is lined up, give the trim piece a good pop with your hand directly over where the clips are. 4 pops and your done. Test the brake light again just in case something came loose.
Written by Davidb 1999 Lexus RX300 AWD