Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Turn Signal Bulb

hand removing 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.

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

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

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,...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: Headlights not working, ABS and brake lights illuminated - 1990 Dodge Dynasty

You have a failed ABS system for starters. There is a Recall (#96V099000) in place to repair this failure. Contact your dealer for repair arrangements. The headlight issue is likely the headlight relay, located up under your dash - access...

Q: Safety while jacking up the car

It depends on where you are jacking the car. If you are doing it on a perfectly flat surface, you jack it up and then put the jack stands on and let them down, it's fine. Don't jack it up...

Q: Hazard lights don't work

Hi, thanks for writing in. The hazard warning lights and turn signal lights utilize the same flasher unit, but with different wiring connections. It appears the hazard warning portion of the flasher unit (internals) has failed. I would recommend a...