How to Change Brake Light Bulbs

Written by gregory crews
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How to Change Brake Light Bulbs
Always check your lights regularly to ensure they are working correctly. (rückleuchte image by diogenes from

Checking your brake lights is simple to do even if you do not have someone nearby to press the brake pedal while you stand at the back of your vehicle to observe. You can find a reflective surface to use that will show you the back of the vehicle. Watch the reflection every time you press your foot on the brake pedal. This will allow you to determine which brake light is burnt out. Then, on most cars, replacing the bulb itself will take only minutes to install and test.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Replacement brake light bulb

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  1. 1

    Determine exactly which bulb in the tail light assembly is the brake light bulb by asking a friend to tap the brakes while you watch the taillights, or by watching the tail light cluster in a reflective surface while tapping the brake pedal with all the taillights on. Make a mental note of which bulb is the brake light bulb.

  2. 2

    Open the boot to access the tail light assembly. Locate the back of the brake light assembly. Some vehicles will require you to fold back some of the carpet to get a better view of the light assemblies.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the brake light socket counterclockwise from the back of the vehicle with your fingers. Pull straight out to release it from the back of the brake light lens.

  4. 4

    Pull the bulb out of the socket with your fingers. Pull it straight up to free it from the socket.

  5. 5

    Insert the new bulb in to the socket. Push it down until it stops.

  6. 6

    Screw the brake light in to the back of the tail light assembly in the back of the vehicle. Pull the carpet back over the light sockets. Some models will have screws to hold the carpet in place.

  7. 7

    Start the car to test the light. Have a friend step on the brake pedal so you can observe if the brake lights are coming on.

Tips and warnings

  • Consult your owner's manual for the correct bulb part number. The automotive parts store also has a catalogue on hand to help you pinpoint all the bulbs required for your vehicle.
  • These instructions aren't inclusive. Many cars, particularly older ones, might have drastically different procedures for replacing brake lights. These instructions are suitable for a broad variety of makes of contemporary automobiles.

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