How to Replace a Tail Light

Broken Taillight

   Broken Taillight? We've compiled all the information you need to get back on the road in no time!

Difficulty: Easy   

Duration: 1 hour  

How Often:  Perform As Needed

Tools Necessary for Install:

If you've ever stepped foot in a car, you should be familiar with tail lights... You know, Those little lights that are the only indication that the Minivan that just cut you off has decided to decrease their speed by 20mph. These helpful, little beams of red light serve as a medium of communication for you and the drivers around you. Imagine how many accidents would occur every day, if we didn't have taillights. Unfortunately, like many parts of your vehicle, you may eventually need to replace your taillights. 

Taillights work on a relay. This means that they light up when you turn on your vehicle. They are usually wired to the same switch that turns on the headlights. Therefore, you need not worry about turning on the tail lights separately.

Taillights become burned out over time and in some instances, taillights can get damaged in an accident. If your tail lights do not illuminate or are damaged, it is crucial to get them replaced or fixed. No one wants to get pulled over by a police officer and inconvenienced over something as simple as a broken taillight. Fortunately, You can do this yourself with some simple tools and the right replacement bulb.

Before you remove your old, damaged bulb, ensure you take all necessary safety precautions:

  • Ensure the vehicle engine is turned off.
  • Wear a good pair of nitrile gloves to prevent the oils and sweat from getting on your new bulb. Exposure to oils can cause the new bulbs to burn out prematurely.


1. Opening your vehicle's trunk

To open the vehicle trunk, pull the trunk release button or lever from inside the vehicle. Refer to the vehicle's owner's manual if you are unable to locate the button or lever. In some vehicles, you may need to pull up on the tailgate as you pull up on the handle, to open your trunk.


2. Moving the Fabric Liner or Panel From Behind the Taillight

Once your trunk is open, check for a fabric liner or plastic panel that covers the backside of the tail light. Pull the fabric back or remove the panel using your hands to reveal the backside of the tail light. It is advisable not to completely remove the fabric since, in some cases, it may not be possible to re-attach the fabric. Some plastic panels will have to be removed completely. These plastic panels often include small brackets to reattach your panel once you've finished.  


3. Removing the light assembly

If your vehicle does not have a fabric liner or panel, check for any bolts or screws on the side of the tail light. Using a screwdriver or a wrench, carefully remove the bolts. Then, slide out the light assembly slowly taking care not to disconnect or damage any of the wires attached to it. Be sure, to keep the fasteners in a safe place so that you can replace them later.


4. Removing the old bulb

Once you've removed the tail light assembly, Locate the light socket with connected wires. Hold the socket that has the damaged bulb, rotate it to the left, and pull it out. Ensure caution at this stage and do not stretch or pull the wires connected to the sockets.

Now, hold the bulb carefully, depress it a little, into the socket, and release your bulb. This makes it easy for the bulb to slide out of the light socket. In some vehicles, you may have to unscrew the bulb to remove them from the socket.


5. Choosing the right Taillight Assembly 

Choose the same type of bulb in regards to size and wattage as the bulbs you intend on replacing. If in doubt, check your car owner’s manual for details. Otherwise, you can ensure you are buying the right bulb by employing, the Tasca Parts VIN matching system before checking out. 

Once you have the new bulb, line up the terminals at the end of the new bulb with the plugin socket. Insert the new bulb into the socket and make sure it is fitted properly.


Click Here To Shop Taillight Assembly Kits!


6. Putting the socket and fabric liner back

After placing the new bulb in the socket, from the rear, insert the socket back into the tail light assembly. Turn it to the right till it is placed securely. You can check the security of your bulb by gently shaking the socket to check if it has been set firmly 

Then, place the fabric liner or the plastic panel back into place. If the panel has brackets to secure it, line it with its connections and push the panel to fit into place.


7. Reattaching the lamp assembly

If you pulled out the entire assembly when removing the bulb, slide it back into its place from where you had removed it. Tighten them using the screws or bolts. Ensure you replace all fasteners tightly so that the new tail light is not damaged when the vehicle moves.


8. Closing the trunk and checking the new light

Finally, check if everything’s been installed properly and close the vehicle’s trunk. Start the vehicle and test if the new light is working to your satisfaction.

If you find the bulb is not working even after you've installed it correctly, it could be indicative of a blown fuse or an electrical problem. In this instance, you should be sure to reach out to your local auto mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Taillights are an important safety feature for your vehicle. Taillights are crucial during bad weather such as rain and snow, allowing drivers behind you to see your vehicle and act accordingly. If you notice your tail light has burned out, get them replaced immediately. In some countries and/or states, you could be pulled over and fined for having non-working or damaged tail lights.

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The Advice, How-to guides, and maintenance information featured on is presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs. The presented guides on this site should be used at your own risk. assumes no responsibility for any physical injury that may occur to you or your vehicle while working on your vehicle. The information on this site is accurate and true to the best of Tascapart’s Knowledge, however, it is entirely possible that there may be omitted information or errors. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual or a licensed professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. You may also refer to your owner’s manual for specific diagnostic, repair, and tool information for your particular vehicle.