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Light Bulb Replacement For Gear Shift Area


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#1 sr1207

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 04:22 PM

The light bulb that lights up the gear shift area on my '97 corolla went out. A friend of mine who is a mechanic changed it for me. What a job! He had to remove alot of the plastic housing that covers the gear shifter. The dealer wanted like $85 to do this. My friend charged $35. My point for writing this is why does Toyota make this job so difficult? There must be an easier way. Perhaps it is easier on newer models.

#2 Brendon

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 05:01 PM

Its not that its hard to get to things behind the plastic, just time consuming. When I disabled my daytime running lights, Vamp's website made it sound so simple, but I had to remove alot of plastic, nuts, bolts, covers, and then sit upside down just to get to a little wire box underneath the driver's side airbag. In all, it took me about an hour to cut a simple, 1 mm thick wire. You think its hard to do stuff on these Corollas, you should see what its like getting behind paneling on my Lexus. Personally, I have found the Corolla very "user friendly" to the newbie/wannabe mechanics out there like me. One word of advise, do not lose your screws. You have no idea how many nuts, bolts, or screws I have misplaced/lost, then had to go into the basement for a replacement one.

My rule of thumb, NEVER GO TO DEALERS! They are liars, scumbags, and the filth of humanity. The longer a job takes, the more a dealer likes to exponentially inflat their fee. If a oil job takes 1 hour and $30, a light bulb change takes 2 hours and $80 and a spoiler mounting takes 3 hours and $200. They like to inflat problems beyond what they actually are. About 2 years ago I first got my car and didn't know a thing about automobiles. Because of that, they robbed me like the sucker I was. The power steering fluid needed to be flushed. They charged me $140 and took 2 hours. Today, I could do it myself in about 30 minutes for around $15.

Most people are afraid to even touch anything behind a console or underneath the hood. They are afraid, I like was, that they will mess up their $10,000 machine. Because of this, dealers and other scumbag mechanics like to pray on that weakness. It wasn't until about a year ago that I broke my fear and began looking behind all those panels and seeing how the car works. It wasn't until then that I stopped slaving for the dealerships.

#3 Bikeman982

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 07:24 PM

Dealers get an hourly rate (like $95-$100) for any work they do. Sometimes there is a minimum.
It is always cheaper to do a job yourself (unless you break something in the process, or do the job wrong).
I have taken out the center console and it is not too difficult. I think it gets harder on the newer models.
It is good to learn to do repairs yourself. I recommend purchasing repair manual(s).

#4 Brendon

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 08:41 PM

You're right. The current gen is almost as difficult as a Lexus to remove panelling. You can just feel in the doors and overall structure are built much more solid than the older ones. My 8th gen is very similar to the 7th gen, so its much easier to get around the plastic. The new Corolla has a lot of extra supporting on the inside to hold everything together. This can be good if you want a stronger-built interior, but also annoying if you prefer to do things yourself (like me).

I really think dealers inflat prices and their hourly rates the longer the job is (or they claim it is). Those prices I listed above are not made up. Wellesley Toyota (my local dealer) charges $30 for an oil change. On my last servicing, they were going to charge me something like $70-80 to replace the 2 lightbulbs behind my airconditioning display. To mount my spoiler, they estimated it at 3 hours and almost $200. I still get oil changes with them because its cheap and I don't like doing it (dirty job), but that's about it. I laugh at them when they make these outrageous estimates and I tell them "I'll come back in next time and get it done" (a lie, I usually just do it myself that night if I have the parts).

#5 ycr99

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 08:48 PM

Brendon has the same gen. Corolla as me! :D and an LE too!! My gear console light is still out...my dad wants to DIY, but I have to go home to Ohio first.
(Currently residing in Wixom, MI).

My dad too got directions on how to remove the plating and stuff from the gear box and was dismayed by all the work that would be involved. He is convinced there is as was said earlier, "an easier way".

I'd like to DIY, but can't currently living in an apartment complex, against the rules...plus, you're talking to the person that gave herself a flat trying to check her tire pressure....(some people weren't meant to DIY their cars)....

#6 Brendon

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 07:31 PM

Brendon has the same gen. Corolla as me! :D and an LE too!! My gear console light is still out...my dad wants to DIY, but I have to go home to Ohio first.
(Currently residing in Wixom, MI).

Our 2 cars are actually very close. Mine was built in July 98', while yours was built in Nov 98'. I think the cutoff between 98-99 models was around Sept 98 from the production lines. Since they are built up in Canada, it takes them about a month to ship it down here in the U.S. so the 99' models were probably coming in around October 98.

#7 Bikeman982

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 12:49 AM

Brendon has the same gen. Corolla as me! :D and an LE too!! My gear console light is still out...my dad wants to DIY, but I have to go home to Ohio first.
(Currently residing in Wixom, MI).

Our 2 cars are actually very close. Mine was built in July 98', while yours was built in Nov 98'. I think the cutoff between 98-99 models was around Sept 98 from the production lines. Since they are built up in Canada, it takes them about a month to ship it down here in the U.S. so the 99' models were probably coming in around October 98.

I think they are both considered 8th generation Corollas.