What to do when your rear bulbs blow

Rear Light Cluster Replacement

Changing your car’s rear light bulbs is a simple and straightforward procedure. The bulbs are usually housed in a single enclosure that’s easy to access from inside the boot, but some models require trim to be removed before you can reach the bulbs. Haynes has full step-by-step information on how to do this.

Most rear light bulbs covered here are filled with halogen gas, and are readily available from dealers and car accessory stores. However, some rear lights use LED elements and these usually have to be replaced in their entirety. Again, Haynes will tell you if that’s the case and how to go about doing it.

This task requires no experience and only basic tools. It’ll take you a few minutes, depending on your model.

When to change your rear light cluster bulb

“You risk being pulled over by the police and face a possible fine”

Having a fully functioning set of rear bulbs is important if you want to avoid someone careening into the back of you, so you should replace rear light bulbs as soon as they fail.

You also risk being pulled over by the police and face a possible fine, although you’ll usually be given a few days to replace the bulb (and prove you’ve done it) before facing further action.

All cars are slightly different, so if it is time to change your rear light bulbs, find your car for specific instructions.


You should replace tail light bulbs as soon as they blow

How to change your rear light bulb

Here's an example of how it's done. Find the full step-by-step task for your model

A very brief summary of the task:

  1. Open the boot and locate the bulb storage compartment. Open it
  2. Locate the bulb holder assembly. You may need to undo clips or screws to remove it
  3. Remove the assembly and locate the blown bulb. Remove the bulb, usually by twisting counterclockwise
  4. Install the new bulb. Try to avoid touching it your skin. Reinstall the housing

Why you should change your rear light bulb

If you don’t make the rear of your car visible at night you risk being hit by a following car. The same applies to the brake lights at any time of the day - if you have to stamp on the brakes to avoid something in the road, brake lights give the car behind some warning that you’re stopping. So it’s absolutely imperative that you change the rear bulb(s) as soon as possible, considering how cheap they are to buy and how little time it’ll take you to do the job.

Tools you will need

Only basic tools are required for this job.

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Paper towel/gloves

Parts you may need

  • Bulbs


Make sure you have the correct fitting/wattage. Consult your car’s handbook

How much does a new rear light bulb cost?

Bulb $2-£6
Garage fee savings $80-$160

Every car is different, so before you view the full instructions, find yours…