How to Change the Brake Light on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The brake light is in the upper bulb socket of the assembly. Turn the socket counterclockwise and pull it out of the back of the assembly. Pull the old bulb straight out of the socket. Try not to touch the new bulb with your bare hands. Use a tissue or a clean cloth to handle the bulb when you insert it in the socket. Put the socket back into the taillight assembly and turn it clockwise to lock it in place. Install the taillight assembly on the quarter panel and tighten the two bolts.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Brake Light on a Toyota RAV4

Brake Light Fuse

In your Rav4, there are three fuse panels. If both brake lights don't work, check the fuse 7.5A in slot No. 1 in the fuse panel under the driver-side end of the dashboard.

 How to Replace the Brake Light in an Acura TSX

Make sure the vehicle's engine is off and the light switch is in the "Off" position. Open the trunk.

Remove the light assembly cover located on the left or right side of the trunk -- depending on which brake light needs replacing -- by pulling on the outside edge.

Remove the socket containing the bulb by turning in a counterclockwise direction and pulling it straight out. Remove the bulb by pulling it straight out of the socket.

Press a new bulb into the socket. Return the socket to where it was removed from and turn in a clockwise direction until it is secure and locked.

Push the light assembly cover back in place. Close the trunk.

Items you will need

  • New light bulbs

 How to Replace Brake Lights on a Toyota Sienna

Open the tailgate of the Sienna to reveal the two 10-millimeter bolts on the inside edge of the taillight assembly.

Remove the two bolts using the ratchet and a socket wrench.

Go to the outside edge of the taillight assembly with the towel and small pry tool. Fold the towel to make it thicker and place it on the border of the taillight assembly against the quarter panel of the Sienna.

Gently place the pry tool into the crevice between the taillight assembly and the quarter panel using the towel as a protective buffer and pry outward. There are two guide pins holding the side of the taillight assembly (from underneath it) to the quarter panel that need to be released from their sockets. It will take equal parts of gentleness and tenacity to release the guide pins and not damage the taillight assembly or incur damage to the quarter panel.

Locate the brake light bulb cavity and turn counterclockwise to release the brake light socket. Remove the brake light from the socket and install the new one. Test the brake light before replacing the assembly.

Reinstall the headlight assembly by aligning the two guide pins first and pressing them back in place from the outside of the quarter panel.

Replace the two bolts, remove the tools and old bulb, and close the tailgate.

Items you will need

  • Replacement brake light bulb

  • Ratchet

  • 10-millimeter socket

  • Thick cloth or towel

  • Small-angled pry tool

 How to Replace Brake Lights on a Saturn

Determine which lights are burned out by asking a friend to hit the brakes while you stand behind the car.

Purchase the bulbs from an auto parts store or a large home and garden chain store. If you don't know what type of bulb to get, bring the burned out light bulb inside the store with you (see steps below to remove).

Open the trunk of the vehicle. You'll notice two Torx screws on the side of each tail light assembly. Use your A-T15 Torx screwdriver to un-screw the assembly on the side with the burned out bulb.

Slide the tail light assembly out toward the rear of the vehicle. Disconnect the proper connector for the brake light and pull out the spent bulb.

Insert the new bulb.

Slide the tail light assembly back into the car and replace the Torx screws.

Replace the bulb on the other side with the other new bulb in the pack you purchased, since it will probably burn out soon as well.

Items you will need

  • A-T15 Torx screwdriver

  • New bulbs

 How to Change a Brake Light on a Ford Focus

Turn the exterior lighting switch next to the steering wheel off. Open the Focus' trunk.

Remove the two plastic Phillips screws from the trunk compartment. There are two screws on each side, one set for each brake light case. Pull the access cover off. You'll now see the case's hardware.

Remove the two case nuts with a socket wrench. Grasp the exterior part of the brake light case and pull it away from the Focus' rear.

Turn the brake bulb counterclockwise to detach it. The brake bulb is the middle bulb in the Focus' brake light case.

Grasp the bulb softly and pull it away from its socket. Insert the replacement brake bulb into the socket. Push it down gently to install it. Insert the setup into its hole and twist it clockwise.

Set the brake light case in its mount. In the trunk compartment, reattach and tighten the two nuts. Push the cover back in its place and replace the two plastic Phillips screws.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Socket wrench

  • Replacement bulb 3057K

 How to Change the Brake Light on a BMW X5

Open the side panel in the cargo bay on the side with the burnt out bulb.

Remove the warning triangle and first aid kit.

Lift up and fold the insulation.

Turn the bulb socket to the left and pull it out.

Twist the used bulb to the left and pull it out of the socket.

Install new bulb by turning it to the right.

Reinstall the bulb socket.

Replace the insulation, warning triangle and first aid kit.

Replace the side panel.

Items you will need

  • Owner's manual

  • Replacement bulb

 How to Replace the Brake Light on a Toyota Scion

Park the Scion and turn the engine off. Remove the key from the ignition.

Open the trunk of the Scion. Locate the taillight corresponding with the brake light that needs to be replaced. Unplug the electrical connector from the top of the taillight.

Use a flat-head screwdriver and pry the two bottom brake light covers off. You will now have access to the brake lights.

Unplug the bottom electrical connector; press down on the release tab while pulling it out of the harness.

Turn the brake light bulb a quarter-turn counterclockwise. This will unlock the bulb from the socket. Remove the bulb from the taillight assembly and discard it.

Insert a replacement brake light bulb and rotate it clockwise until you hear it lock into place. Plug the bottom electrical connector back in, followed by the top connector. Repeat these steps for the opposite brake light bulb, if needed.

Items you will need

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Replacement brake light bulbs

 How to Change Brake Light in a C4 Corvette

Remove the license plate from the rear bumper using a Torx screwdriver. The tag will normally be attached with four Torx screws.

Put your arm through the license plate opening to the back side of the brake light you wish to remove. Twist the bulb holder counterclockwise and pull the bulb holder away from the brake light housing. Turn the bulb counterclockwise to release it from the bulb holder.

Use a small socket and ratchet to remove the four screws holding the brake light assembly to the rear bumper. Gently push the brake light assembly from inside the bumper and then pull it loose from outside of the car.

Place the new brake light assembly into the rear bumper assembly. Rotate the assembly until the writing on the taillight lens is at the bottom.

Reach through the bumper opening and install each of the four screws into the brake light assembly until they are hand tight. Use the ratchet to tighten each screw a half-turn.

Insert a new bulb into the bulb holder and turn the bulb clockwise, securing it to the bulb holder. Insert the bulb holder into the brake light assembly and turn a quarter-turn clockwise to secure it.

Replace the license tag to the original position and secure it with the four Torx screws.

Items you will need

  • Torx screwdriver

  • Small ratchet and metric sockets.

 How to Replace a Brake Light in a Mercury Villager

Park your Mercury Villager on a level space, place the transmission in park and turn off the ignition.

Lift up the tail gate to expose the mounting screws on the tail light lens.

Unscrew the screws holding on the tail light lens with your screwdriver. Once the screws have been unscrewed, carefully lift the lens off and away from the vehicle.

Grasp the exposed brake light bulb in your fingers and firmly pull it straight out. The spring clip holding it in will give way and release the bulb when you pull it out.

Push the new bulb back into place where the old bulb came from. There will be tabs on the bulb that will only allow it to be inserted one-way. Once pushed in and seated correctly, replace the tail light lens by screwing the mounting screws back in, and close the tail gate.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

 How Do I Replace the Brake Light on a Montero Sport?

Open the tailgate of your Montero Sport. Remove the two screws from the taillight assembly on the inside edge of the tailgate with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Pull the taillight assembly forward and out of the back of the truck. Insert a flat head screwdriver near each tab on the edge of the tail light lens. Pry the lens apart to access the bulbs. Pull the upper bulb out of the socket.

Push the replacement bulb into the upper socket. Press the tail light assembly back together until it locks. Insert the assembly into the rear of the truck and secure it with the two screws. Tighten the screws with the Phillips head screwdriver.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3 for the opposite light if needed. Close the tailgate and test the lights.

Items you will need

  • Phillips head screwdriver

 How to Change the Brake Lights on a Dodge Ram

Unhook the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. Begin by loosening the retaining bolt, using a wrench. Then pull the clamp off the terminal.

Unscrew the screws that secure the taillight lens to the tail light housing using a phillips screwdriver.

Pull the taillight lens away from the taillight housing with your hand.

Remove the brake light bulb (it will be the bulb behind the red lens), by pressing it in slightly an twisting it 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn. Then pull the bulb from the socket.

Insert a new bulb. Press it into the socket and rotate it 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn to seat the bulb.

Slide the ground cable clamp over the negative battery terminal, and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench.

Have an assistant working inside the cab press down on the brake pedal. Check to see that the new bulb is illuminated.

Lift the taillight lens into position on the taillight housing.

Screw in the screws that secure the taillight lens to the taillight housing.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Replace a Brake Light on a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire

Open the rear lift gate on your Crossfire and locate the access panel in the trim panel. Remove the access panel by carefully prying it off with a small screwdriver, and set it aside.

Locate the bulb socket inside the access hole. Grasp the socket and turn it counterclockwise until it unlocks from the taillight assembly. Pull the bulb out of the socket and discard it.

Insert a new 21/5W bulb into the socket, making sure it seats completely. Insert the bulb socket into the rear of the taillight assembly and turn it clockwise to lock it in place.

Replace the access cover on the trim panel. Push it in until it snaps in securely.

Items you will need

  • Small flat screwdriver

About the Author

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