How to Replace a Brake or Tail Light Yourself

How to Replace a Brake or Tail Light Yourself
March 21, 2024
How to Replace a Brake or Tail Light Yourself

Keeping your car's lights functioning properly is crucial for safe driving. A burned-out brake light or tail light can compromise your visibility and lead to safety hazards. But replacing a tail light or brake light doesn't necessarily require a trip to the mechanic. With a little DIY know-how and the right tools, you can tackle this task yourself and save some money! Here at, we want to empower you to maintain your car. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of replacing a tail light or brake light, step-by-step.

Tools and Parts You'll Need: (Before You Begin)

Before diving in, gather the necessary tools and parts:

  • Replacement bulb(s): Purchase new brake light or tail light bulbs compatible with your car's specific model. You can easily find the correct bulbs by searching with your car's year, make, and model.
  • Socket wrench or screwdriver: The type of tool needed depends on your car's taillight assembly.
  • Phillips head screwdriver (optional): Some taillight assemblies might require a Phillips head screwdriver for additional screws.
  • Flashlight (optional): Extra illumination can be helpful, especially if you're working in low light conditions.
  • Shop rags: You might need a rag to clean the new bulb or wipe away any dirt around the taillight assembly.
  • Safety glasses (optional): Wearing safety glasses can protect your eyes from falling debris while working under the car.

How to Replace a Tail Light or Brake Light

The following steps provide a general guideline for replacing a tail light or brake light. The specific procedure might vary slightly depending on your car's make and model. It's always recommended to consult your car's owner's manual for detailed instructions specific to your vehicle.

  • Park Safely: Park your car on a level surface and engage the parking brake. Turn off the engine and turn on your hazard lights for additional safety.
  • Identify the Faulty Light: Turn on your headlights and locate the burned-out bulb. The brake light illuminates when you press the brake pedal, while the tail light remains lit whenever your headlights are on.
  • Access the Tail Light Assembly: Open the trunk and locate the access panel for the taillight assembly. This panel might be secured with screws or clips. Consult your owner's manual for specific instructions on how to access the taillight assembly in your car.
  • Disconnect the Electrical Connector: Locate the electrical connector attached to the back of the taillight assembly. Carefully unplug the connector.
  • Remove the Bulb: Depending on your car's design, the bulb might be held in place by a twist-and-lock mechanism or a socket secured with a screw. Gently twist the bulb holder or remove the securing screw to access the bulb.
  • Replace the Bulb: Handle the new bulb by the base to avoid touching the glass part. Gently remove the old bulb and insert the new bulb into the socket, aligning it properly. Twist the bulb holder back into place or secure it with the screw, if applicable.
  • Reassemble and Test: Reconnect the electrical connector to the taillight assembly. Close the access panel in the trunk and ensure it's securely fastened. Turn on your headlights and brake lights to verify that the new bulb is functioning correctly.
  • Repeat if Necessary: If you're replacing both the brake light and tail light bulb, repeat steps 4-7 for the other side.

Additional Tips: 

  • Take Pictures: If you're unsure about the disassembly process, take pictures with your phone before removing anything. This can serve as a helpful reference when reassembling the taillight assembly.
  • Double-Check Connections: Ensure all electrical connectors are securely plugged in before closing the access panel.
  • Leftover Parts? If you have any leftover parts after completing the replacement, double-check the instructions or consult your car's manual to ensure you didn't miss a step.

PartsHawk Can Help You Shine Bright! 

Replacing a tail light or brake light bulb is a relatively simple task that can save you time and money compared to taking your car to a mechanic. With a little DIY spirit and the right tools and parts, you can ensure your car's lights are functioning properly and contribute to safer driving. can be your partner in this endeavor! We offer a wide variety of replacement tail light and brake light bulbs for all car makes and models. Simply search our online catalog by your car's year, make, and model to find the exact bulbs you need. We also have a vast selection of tools and accessories to assist you with car maintenance projects.

So, the next time you encounter a burned-out brake light or tail light, don't hesitate to tackle the replacement yourself! has everything you need to get the job done and keep your car shining bright. Browse our selection of replacement bulbs today and empower yourself with a little DIY car care!

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