How Do I Change My Tail Light Bulbs?

Changing a tail light bulb

Replacing your car’s tail light bulbs is a simple and straightforward procedure. The rear light bulbs are usually housed in a single unit 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 tail 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 tail light bulbs

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

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


Change tail light bulbs as soon as they blow

How to change your tail light bulb

Here's an example of how to replace your rear bulbs. Find the full step-by-step task for your model

A very brief summary of the task:

  1. Open the boot and locate the tail light 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 tail light bulb. Remove the bulb, usually by twisting anticlockwise
  4. Install the new bulb. Try to avoid touching it with your skin. Reinstall the housing

Tail light bulbs: why you should change them

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 tail light 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 to change your tail light bulbs

Only basic tools are required for this job.

  • Flat screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Paper towel/gloves

Parts you may need

  • Tail light bulbs


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

How much does a new tail light bulb cost?

Tail light bulb £1-£3
Garage fee savings £50-£100

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