Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Trunk Light Bulb

trunk light bulb

When LED light bulbs were invented, it was assumed they would replace all standard filament bulbs rather quickly. However, most of the cars, trucks, and SUVs driving down the roads of America still have standard light bulbs inside the trunk of their vehicles. This component often goes overlooked in regards to routine service and maintenance, but without it, trying to find items inside the truck, both in day and night, would be extremely difficult.

What is the truck light bulb?

Simply put, the trunk light bulb is the standard, small light bulb that is located on the top portion of your car's trunk. It comes on when the trunk hood or lid is opened and activated by a series of relay switches that supplies power to this component only when the trunk is open. Due to this fact, the trunk light bulb is one of those rare bulbs that can last for years, since it is rarely used. However, like any standard light bulb, it is susceptible to breaking or wearing out due to age or in some cases, due to bumps that can break the filament inside.

It's pretty easy to know when the trunk light bulb is damaged and needs to be replaced; however, there are a few common warning signs that might alert the driver of the vehicle that a potential issue with this component is approaching, so they can be proactive and have it replaced before it burns out.

Noted below are a few of the common warning signs that a problem with the trunk light bulb exists and should be replaced by a knowledgeable mechanic.

Light bulb is dimmer than normal

A standard light bulb is illuminated when electricity is sent through the light bulb. The electrical signal flows through the bulb and a series of electrical filaments light up as the power is circulated through the bulb. In some cases, these filaments might begin to wear out, which can cause the light bulb to burn much dimmer than it normally does. Although most car owners don't pay attention to the exact brightness of their trunk light bulb, this warning sign is pretty easy to notice. If you open your trunk and the light is burning dimmer than it usually does, take the proactive step to remove and replace the trunk light bulb or contact a local ASE certified mechanic who can complete this project for you.

Light bulb burns brighter than normal

On the opposite side of the equation, in some situations the light bulb will burn brighter than usual if it is starting to wear out. This is again due to the inconsistent flow of electricity inside the bulb when the filaments are brittle, damaged, or are beginning to break. Like the situation above, there are two things you can do:

  • First, replace the light bulb yourself, which is not too difficult depending on what type of vehicle you own and your comfort level removing a cover from the trunk lid.
  • Second, contact a mechanic to replace the light bulb for you. This might be a good idea if you have a newer vehicle where the trunk light bulb is contained inside the trunk lid and is difficult to access. An experienced mechanic will have the right tools available to complete this job.

The trunk light bulb is one of the most inexpensive auto parts to purchase, and one of the easiest to replace on most vehicles manufactured prior to 2000. If you have noticed that your trunk light bulb is burning dimmer or brighter than normal, or if the light bulb has burnt out, contact one of our professional mechanics who can replace your trunk light bulb for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

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,...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: How do I use the cargo hooks?

Your trunk space has cargo hooks on the floor, as well as on the sides. To use these cargo hooks, attach them to your cargo to help secure your luggage in place.

Q: I've heard the 04-06 front bumpers are interchagable and was wondering if the front end of a 06 convertible would fit my 06 sedan?

Hello. My search reveals that the bumpers appear to be the same between the sedan and convertible, though there are many components between the two chassis that are indeed different. In this case, however, the only real detail I find...

Q: How do I use the trunk opener cancellation system?

You can give your trunk added security by activating the trunk opener cancellation system. When this feature is turned on, the trunk can only be opened with a standard or mechanical key, and not with the entry function or wireless...