How to Replace the Tail Light Assembly for a 2002 KIA Rio

Written by tim petruccio
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How to Replace the Tail Light Assembly for a 2002 KIA Rio
Moisture inside a tail light assembly can cause the bulbs to explode or shatter. (Light bulb image by Mart 61 from

Taillights that are broken or cracked can allow moisture to get into the electrical system. This moisture can cause problems with more than just the taillights. Replacing the tail light assembly in a 2002 Kia Rio is a fairly simple task. The process of replacing the tail light assembly should take no longer than one hour if you have never attempted this type of work before. All of the tools and materials needed for this job are available at an auto parts store.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • New tail light assembly
  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet with long socket set
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Tail light bulbs

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  1. 1

    Open the boot of the Rio.

  2. 2

    Pull the liner away from the inside of the boot on the side of the light that you are replacing. Use a flathead screwdriver to gently remove the plastic snap tabs that hold the liner in place.

  3. 3

    Remove the mounting fastener nuts that hold the tail light in place. These nuts may be plastic or metal. Use a 3/8-drive ratchet and long socket to remove the nuts.

  4. 4

    Remove the entire light assembly from the rear of the vehicle.

  5. 5

    Remove all of the tail light sockets from the assembly by rotating them counterclockwise. Replace any bulbs that may be damaged at this time.

  6. 6

    Install the tail light sockets into the new tail light assembly by turning them clockwise until they snap into place.

  7. 7

    Reinstall the tail light assembly and tighten the fasteners by hand.

  8. 8

    Reinstall the boot liner. Tamp the plastic holding tabs down with the handle end of the screwdriver if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Replacing all of the tail light bulbs during this process will eliminate the time you will spend doing it further down the road.
  • Replace taillights in pairs so as not to cause any electrical incongruities in the lighting system. Failure to adhere to this warning could cause early light bulb burn our or electrical shorts.

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