How hard is it to replace a bulb in a taillight?

Mechanic Replaceing Headlight Bulb


What do I need to know about changing a vehicle’s lightbulb?


If one of your taillights has gone bad, you want to get it replaced as soon as possible, both for safety reasons AND because you don’t want to get pulled over. Sometimes the most complicated part about the replacement is the identification of the exact bulb that has burned out. You typically have three on both sides. You will probably need to have your engine on to ensure that you are able to check all the bulbs. Here are the next three steps:

  • As soon as you know which bulb it is, turn the engine off. Check your owner’s manual for instructions about gaining access to the bulb. Vehicles vary. Some allow access from the outside (you will see screws), and others require access through the trunk, by removing a panel. Some vehicles require that you remove the entire taillight housing component and unplug it from the electric cord.
  • Some bulbs require that you twist gently to the left while you pull it back. Others require that you pull the bulb straight out from the base. Again, be sure to consult your manual.
  • Before replacing the bulb, use a rag or brush to remove any corrosion. When you replace a “twisting” bulb, make sure tabs are lined up, then push and turn.

Bottom line: Sometimes the replacement of a bulb in your taillight is more complicated than it would first appear. If you encounter difficulties, bring your car to Lake Arbor Auto! Our technicians can talk to you about the various qualities of some bulbs and other subtleties of this common problem.