How to Replace a Turn Signal Bulb

Fixing a burned-out turn signal bulb is a safety concern as well as a monetary one. When a turn signal bulb gets burned out, it's important to replace it as quickly as possible. If you drive with a burned-out turn signal bulb, you are at risk for a possible ticket and heavy fines.

You can easily change a blown out turn signal bulb using basic tools and by following some easy steps.

Part 1 of 3: Find the burned-out turn signal bulb

Materials Needed

Step 1: Prepare to test the turn signals. Park your vehicle and set the emergency brake.

turn signal flashing

Step 2: Switch on the turn signals. Turn the ignition to the accessory position and turn on the turn signals one side at a time.

Walk around the vehicle to determine which turn signal has failed.

Step 3: Switch off the turn signals. Turn the turn signals and ignition off.

Part 2 of 3: Replace the front turn signal bulb (if applicable)

If you determine that one of your front turn signals is burnt out, the next step is to replace it.

You can find detailed instructions on front turn signal bulb removal for your car’s specific make and model in either your owner’s manual or the factory repair manual.

Materials Needed

The following steps will work for most modern cars.

Step 1: Prepare to remove the old turn signal bulb. Open the hood and go to the turn signal that you have to replace. Ensure that you know which bulb to remove.

removing an electrical connector

Step 2: Remove the electrical connector. Remove the electrical connector by pushing down on the locking tab and sliding it back.

turning bulb

Step 3: Remove the old bulb. Turn the bulb socket counterclockwise.

removing front turn signal bulb and socket

Depending on the design, either pull the turn signal bulb straight out or press the bulb in while turning it counterclockwise.

removing a turn signal housing

  • Note: On some vehicles, it is necessary to unfasten the retaining screws, then remove the turn signal housing from the front of the vehicle to access the turn signal bulb.

side view of a bulb showing alignment pins

Step 4: Insert the new bulb. If the bulb has alignment pins on the base, make sure they line up with the complementary slots in the socket.

Step 5: Reassemble the turn signal. Put everything back together in the reverse order of disassembly. Turn on your car and then test the new turn signal bulb to see if it is working.

Part 3 of 3: Replace the rear turn signal bulb (if applicable)

person removing a rear turn signal bulb

Detailed instructions on rear turn signal bulb removal can be found in either your owner’s manual or the factory repair manual.

Materials Needed

The following steps work on most modern cars:

Step 1: Switch on the turn signals. Switch on the turn signals again to ensure you know which bulb to remove.

Step 2: Switch off the turn signals. Turn the turn signals off and switch off the ignition.

removal of retaining screws

Step 3: Remove the retaining screws. Open the trunk or hatch. Locate the tail light lens retaining screws or wingnuts and remove them.

removing the electrical connector

Step 4: Remove the electrical connector. Remove the electrical connector by pushing down on the locking tab and sliding it back.

removing the rear tail light assembly

Step 5: Remove the tail light lens. Carefully pull the tail light lens straight out and away from the vehicle.

unscrewing bulb from socket

Step 6: Remove the bulb. Depending on the design of the bulb, either pull the turn signal bulb straight out or press the bulb in while turning it counterclockwise to remove it.

side view of a bulb showing the alignment pins

Step 7: Insert the new bulb. If the bulb has alignment pins on the base, make sure they line up with the complementary slots in the socket.

Step 8: Reassemble the turn signal. Put everything back together in the reverse order of disassembly.

pulling back the interior trim to access the bulb retainer

  • Note: On some vehicles, it is necessary to remove the rear interior trim panel to access the bulb retaining fasteners. To do this, remove the nuts or other retainers from the rear trim, then remove the trim.

Although this sounds easy in theory, some bulbs can be difficult to replace. If you face any difficulty in changing a turn signal bulb, the team at YourMechanic offers expert turn signal bulb replacement.


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Recent Turn Signal Bulb Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(161)

Rating Summary
155
4
0
1
1
155
4
0
1
1

Kenneth

20 years of experience
653 reviews
Kenneth
20 years of experience
BMW 330i - Turn Signal Bulb Replacement (Front) - Playa Del Rey, California
A fantastic experience. Kenneth is a consummate professional. He arrived on time, explained everything that he did, and expertly performed each service. He finished the work in less time than was quoted and noticed another issue with the vehicle but told me that only the gasket would need to be replaced, and that people might try to up-sell the entire assembly, which would be unnecessary. Needless to say, I am going to have Kenneth do the job and hopefully work with him on all future automobile repairs. Thanks again, Kenneth!
BMW 228i - Turn Signal Bulb Replacement (Front) - Los Angeles, California
Kenneth is a fantastic mechanic. Professional and dedicated, Kenneth showed up on time and ready to go for our appointment this weekend, even though it was pouring rain. He threw on a poncho and went to work replacing a blown light bulb on my car as though it was any other day.

Behrak

9 years of experience
193 reviews
Behrak
9 years of experience
Dodge Grand Caravan - Turn Signal Bulb Replacement (Front) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
he was polite and also he did a great job in installing the fog light bulbs and the drivers side turn signal in my van.

Stacy

24 years of experience
305 reviews
Stacy
24 years of experience
Cadillac SRX - Turn Signal Bulb Replacement (Front) - Jonesboro, Georgia
Arrived on time. Very nice and polite young man. Did a outstanding job. He was neat and cleaned up very well. Thank you so much !!!!

Marvin

6 years of experience
71 reviews
Marvin
6 years of experience
Ford Mustang - Turn Signal Bulb Replacement (Rear) - Las Vegas, Nevada
He did an excellent job of getting the system to work. I have a question regarding the handling of the light bulbs, I thought you were supposed to touch the glass?

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