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DIY Guide to Replacing a Tail Light

DIY Guide To Replacing A Tail Light

Taking care of small car repairs is a superb way to save money. If you order the parts online, you can save some serious money on relatively minor repairs that don’t require extensive technical expertise.

One such task is replacing faulty or broken tail lights. Regardless of whether you just want to replace a defunct bulb or need to replace the whole tail light assembly, undertaking such a job yourself is a good idea.

To begin the task, you will first need to ensure you have the right tools for the job. The first thing you need is replacement tail lights or tail light bulbs. If you are buying tail lights online, make sure you are doing business with an experienced and trusted seller.

Besides the light itself, all you will need is a phillips head screwdriver, a socket wrench, and some WD 40 to loosen some of those stubborn nuts and bolts.

Once you have all the tools you need, you can proceed with the following steps:

Disconnect The Battery

To disconnect the battery of your car, pop the hood and locate the negative (-) terminal on the battery. Then, simply disconnect the negative terminal. You may need to use the socket wrench to loosen the bolt holding the wire in place.

Find The Backside Of The Tail Light

Many cars have a dedicated panel that gives easy access to the tail light assembly. If your car has one, you will find it in the trunk. If your car does not have an access panel, you can find access to them from somewhere in the trunk. In some cars, you may need to remove the spare tire for this.

Remove The Rear Panel And Unscrew The Old Light

Once you have a clear view and easy access of the tail light, remove the back panel. This is also a good time to replace any faulty bulbs. Just make sure you wear gloves while handling the replacement bulbs and skin oils can shorten the life of the bulbs.

Next, use the screwdriver to unscrew the tail light assembly. In cars that don’t have an access panel, chances are that these screws have been subject to natural elements like water and heat and may need a tinch of WD-40 to loosen up.

Once you have unscrewed all the screws holding the light in place, it should slide out with ease.

Install The New Light

Now all that is left is to reattach the rear panel to the new tail light and screw it in place. Once you do that, go back and reconnect the battery of the car.

Next, switch on the lights and see if your new tail light is working fine. If not, you may need to recheck if all the wires are properly connected to the new tail light. Don’t forget to disconnect the battery before you do that.


Replacing a tail light on a car is one of the simplest repair jobs you can undertake. If not only helps you save money, it also gives you the experience you need to be able to undertake more complex projects on your car.

With that said, it is still advisable to get your car checked from a professional mechanic at regular intervals.

What was the last DIY project you did on your car? Did you enjoy it? Share your experience with us in the comment section.

If you have any questions about any of the steps explained in this article, feel free to drop those questions in the comments.

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