How to Replace Reverse Light Bulbs

Updated March 23, 2017

The reverse light bulbs are an important part of a vehicle's lighting system. The reverse light not only allows you to see where you are backing the vehicle up, but also allows other drivers to see you. The wiring harness that connects to the reverse light bulb socket is designed to illuminate the bulb whenever the transmission is put into reverse. If the reverse light blows, you will need someone to help you replace it.

Open the trunk on the vehicle and locate the back of the brake light assembly housing. Pull any carpet out of the way so that you have direct access to the rear of the brake light assembly.

Remove any screws from the brake light assembly. Pull the whole brake light assembly out from the outside of the vehicle.

Locate the clear portion of the tail light lens. Then, locate the socket directly behind the clear portion of the tail light lens. This will be the socket that holds the reverse light bulb.

Remove the reverse light bulb socket by twisting the socket counterclockwise one quarter of a turn. Then, pull the socket straight out of the back of the assembly.

Pull the old reverse light bulb out of the socket and insert the new bulb into the socket.

Have your helper crank the engine and hold the brake pedal down. Then, have that person move the shift lever to the reverse position. Check the bulb to make sure that it is working. Then, put the shift lever back in park and shut the engine off.

Slide the socket with the new reverse light bulb back into the back of the assembly. Twist the socket clockwise one quart of a turn to lock the socket in place. Reverse the above steps for reinstalling the brake light assembly.


Keep in mind that the reverse light bulb is always directly behind the clear portion of the outside tail light assembly.


Wear protective gloves when removing glass bulbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Star-head screwdriver
  • New reverse light bulb
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About the Author

Grace Mclain has been writing professionally since 1998. Her articles have appeared on, and LIVESTRONG.COM, and she specializes in automotive and business topics. McIain has a professional writing certificate from JB Hunt in Little Rock, Ark.