Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Brake Light Bulb

brake light bulb

When brake light bulbs burn out, it is seriously inconvenient. It is always a good idea to have somebody check your brake lights, and most of the time there isn't that extra somebody to help you out. The easiest way to check your brake lights without an extra leg laying around would be to set a brick or something heavy enough on the brake pedal to trigger the brake lights to come on. If the brake light is slow to come on, is dimmer than usual, or the Brake Warning Light comes on, then your brake light bulb may be failing.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing a brake light bulb

Materials Needed

easy access to brake light socket

Step 1: Easy access bulb replacement. Some manufacturers have made it easier to replace bulbs in cars and SUV’s by allowing access through the inside of the vehicle.

If your vehicle has this type you can skip steps 2 through 4. If you have easy access, you may need to easily open the flap or panel over the inside of the brake light lens. By accessing the inside of the brake light lens you will see the brake light bulb socket.

mounting bolt covers being removed withe a screwdriver

Step 2: Locate the mounting bolts. When locating the mounting bolts on your lens assembly, many are obvious but some are covered by cosmetic covers that easily pop off.

removing the mounting bolts with ratchet

Step 3: Remove the mounting bolts. Once you have found the mounting bolts, remove and set the bolts aside.

removing the tail light lens

Step 4: Remove the tail light lens. Most tail light assemblies come right off.

If it gives some resistance, pay attention to the direction the tail light lens is installed and pull straight out.

Step 5: Locate the burnt bulb. Once the tail light assembly is removed, locate the brake light bulb socket.

If you are unsure which socket is for the brake light, either have somebody depress the brake pedal or turn on your hazards.

removing the burnt brake light bulb

Step 6: Removing the brake light bulb. The bulb socket has a release tab; turn counterclockwise to remove.

To remove the brake light bulb make sure the lights are off and the bulb is cool to the touch. Pull the brake light bulb out of the socket.

Step 7: Identifying the correct light bulb. After the brake light bulb is removed, take a look at the numbers on the bulb and match them to the new bulb.

applying dielectric grease to brake light socket

Step 8: Apply dielectric grease. Apply dielectric grease to the brake light bulb socket.

A pea sized amount is enough to apply to the socket.

installing the new brake light bulb

Step 9: Install the bulb. Take the new bulb and install it into the brake light socket.

turning the light socket clockwise to lock

Step 10: Mount brake light socket. Mount the brake light socket, match the tabs on the socket and the tail light lens, and, once inserted, turn clockwise to lock.

testing the brake light bulb before mounting

Step 11: Test the brake light function. Before mounting the brake light lense, test the brake light function.

Step 12: Install the tail light. Line up the tail light and slide into position; line up the mounting holes, and start the mounting bolts.

Step 13: Tighten the mounting bolts. Mounting bolts are tightened hand tight.

Brake light bulb are very important for the driver, passengers, and surrounding traffic. Making sure your headlights, running lights, brake lights, hazards, and turn signals are operating is a safety essential. If replacing a brake light bulb is something you would rather leave to a professional, have one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians perform the replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...


Related questions

Q: How can I fix my front right turn signal?

A fast flashing turn signal indicator, is a sign that you have a turn signal bulb not functioning. In your case, I would double check the right front bulb to ensure it is a good bulb, and that the connector...

Q: Backup light comes on when brake i depress

First, make sure the reverse lights are not just simply always on, which might signify a fault with the neutral safety switch. If indeed, illumination is only occurring with brake light illumination, check to be sure that you have the...

Q: HID headlight flickers

If your vehicle has HID headlights, they will also have a part that is connected to the bulb called a ballast. The ballast controls the temperature at which the HID bulb burns. If the ballast is malfunctioning, this can cause...