How to Replace a Taillight in Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Like the Volkswagen car most cars are designed to allow you to replace a burnt-out light bulb without difficulty. Replacing a taillight can be done at home, so you don't have to pay a mechanic to do it for you. Check your Volkswagen car external lights twice a year to make sure you're not driving without a burnt-out bulb, which can cost you a traffic ticket if you're pulled over by a police officer.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace a Taillight in a Chevy Express Van

Open the Express van's rear doors to grant access to the nuts holding the taillight in place. Remove the two nuts on the inside of the taillight assembly with a wrench or ratchet wrench.

Pull the taillight assembly straight back. Make sure to clear the studs that hold it in place.

Slide the taillight assembly slightly upward. This will release the lower clip and grant access to the three nuts located on the taillight assembly.

Remove the three nuts on the taillight assembly with a wrench or ratchet wrench and remove the taillight assembly from the vehicle completely.

Remove the bulb socket by squeezing the tabs on the sides of the socket and turning the socket in a counterclockwise direction.

Remove the bulb from the socket by turning counterclockwise and pulling straight out.

Attach a new bulb in the same place you removed the old bulb by inserting the bulb straight into the socket and turning clockwise.

Reattach the bulb socket by squeezing the tabs on the sides of the socket and turning the socket in a clockwise direction.

Repeat steps 5 through 8 for as many bulbs as need replacing in the taillight assembly.

Reattach the taillight assembly to the vehicle and securely reattach the three nuts taken off the taillight assembly, using a wrench.

Slide the taillight assembly slightly downward. This will reset the lower clip.

Push the taillight straight forward into the recess. Make sure the studs line up correctly and are in their original placement with the taillight.

Reattach the two nuts on the inside of the taillight assembly securely with a wrench or ratchet wrench.

Items you will need

  • Wrench or ratchet wrench

  • Bulb number 3157

 How to Replace the Taillights in a Mitsubishi Galant

Turn off the engine and set the parking brake. Open the trunk and ensure you have clear access to the area directly behind the broken taillight.

Locate the access panel on the Galant, directly behind the taillight assembly, and pull the carpet cover away. Unsnap the clip on the plastic casing and tilt the cover down.

Twist the bulb assembly counterclockwise and pull it out of the assembly. Push the bulb in gently and turn it counter-clockwise until free.

Take care not to touch the glass of the new bulb with bare fingers. Cover the bulb with a tissue or paper towel and insert it into the harness, twisting clockwise until the bulb is secure.

Insert the bulb harness into the taillight assembly on the Mitsubishi Galant and turn it to the right until it snaps into place. Test the taillight and brakes before closing the plastic cover and setting the carpet cover back in place.

Items you will need

  • Standard 2357NA automotive bulb

 How to Change a Taillight on a KIA Sedona

Open the rear hatch of your Kia Sedona. Remove the two screws securing the light assembly with a Phillips screwdriver. The screws will be just inside the rear hatch area, one screw on the top of the assembly and one screw on the bottom.

Pull the light assembly forward out of the vehicle. Identify and disconnect the wiring harness for the bulb you need to change.

Remove the bulb from the taillight assembly. Insert the new bulb and connect the wiring harness. Insert the taillight assembly into the mounting point and secure it with the two screws.

Repeat the process on the opposite side if necessary then test the lights to be sure they are fully functional.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

 How to Replace the Taillights in a Mazda 6

Turn off the car's engine, activate the parking brake and take the keys out of the ignition before starting.

Open the trunk by using the driver's side trunk release latch or by manually unlocking it.

Locate the plastic trunk trim retainers. Pull out on their center knobs to remove them from the trim, and then peel back the trim to expose the taillight bulb sockets.

Twist the bulb socket quarter-turn counter-clockwise to remove it from the taillight assembly. Then, pull the broken bulb straight out of the socket and dispose of it immediately.

Insert the replacement bulb directly into the empty socket, and then twist the socket back into the taillight assembly.

Test the new light to make sure it's working. If everything checks out, replace the trunk lining, press the plastic fasteners into their holes and close the trunk.

Items you will need

  • 7443 replacement taillight bulb

 How to Replace the Taillights in a Dodge Durango

Open your Durango's rear liftgate and look for the back of the taillight housing assembly.

Remove the two fasteners from the taillight housing assembly using a flathead screwdriver or a dull knife. Twist the assembly away from the inside of the vehicle to remove it from its notch.

Unlock and remove the electrical connector from the back of the light.

Unscrew the bulb strip from the back of the light. Put the screws in a container so you don't have trouble finding them when you put the assembly back together.

Pull the defective bulbs straight out of their sockets.

Replace the bulbs, refasten the bulb strip and reconnect the electrical wiring to the light.

Press the taillight assembly back into position and secure it once more with the fasteners.

Items you will need

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Replacement taillight bulb

 How to Replace the Taillights in a Saturn VUE

Check your owner's manual and the current taillights you have to see what you must replace them with.

Turn your vehicle off before you begin working with the taillights to avoid injury. Open the trunk and secure it up so that it will not fall on you while you work.

Use a screwdriver and remove the fasteners holding your taillights in place. You may need to move some carpeting out of the way to expose them, but they will be on the inside of the trunk in the same spot as each taillight.

Remove the bulb first using a towel or anything else to avoid being burned. Loosen the taillight assembly and pull it off. This may take some twisting; keep your hand on the outside of the taillight so that it does not fall while you remove it.

Push the new taillights into place and then replace the bulb. Tighten the seals on the inside of the trunk and try to move the taillights to be sure they are securely in place. Shut the trunk and you're ready for the road again.

Items you will need

  • New taillights

  • Screwdriver

 How to Replace a Taillight on a 2003 Jetta

Instructions

Bring your owner's manual to an auto store and tell them you need a new taillight. They'll take the model number from the owner's manual and find the right model light for you. Save the receipt of the new light in case it doesn't work.

Remove the ignition key from the ignition to make sure the car is turned off.

Open the trunk and remove the carpet covering the trim cover, which is screwed on over the taillights.

Unscrew the trim cover and put the screws in a safe place so they don't roll away.

Turn the taillight counterclockwise to remove it from the housing connectors. Your fingers will get dirty from grease so keep some paper towels handy.

Place the new light in the housing assembly by turning it clockwise. Turn the car on and check whether the light works.

If the light works, screw the trim cover back into a tight position and replace the carpet.

Items you will need

  • Volkswagen Owner's Manual

  • Replacement bulb

  • Phillips head screwdriver

 How to Replace the Taillights in a VW Beetle

Set the parking brake and remove the keys from the ignition to ensure the power to the lights is off. Open the hatch and remove the circular, carpeted cover.

Unscrew the large black cover and remove the cap. Look for a small gap in the fender and slip a flat head screwdriver in to release the clip holding the assembly in place. Pull on the plastic, not the wires, until the harness comes free.

Turn the bulb counter-clockwise until the bulb is free. Cover the new 2357NA taillight bulb with tissue, taking care not to touch the glass with bare skin.

Put the new bulb into the socket and turn clockwise until it snaps into place. Place the keys into the ignition and test the bulb.

Push the bulb into the taillight assembly until you hear it snap. Replace the black cap by screwing it back on and set the carpeted cover back.

Items you will need

  • Standard 2357NA automotive bulb

  • Flat head screwdriver

  • Tissue or paper towel

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.