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Be seen from behind - taillight INSTALLATION

How to Replace a Tail Light Bulb

An important part of your vehicle’s lighting system, your taillights ensures that other drivers can see you from behind. Whether you are driving at night or making a left-hand turn in the middle of the day, properly working taillights are essential for your safety on the road.

Taillights serve several key functions: illuminating when driving at night, lighting up when you hit the brake pedal, blinking when you activate the left or right turn signal, and coming on when you put your vehicle in reverse. If one of your taillights is burned out, you run the risk of a rear-end accident.

When you discover that one of your taillights has burned out, take immediate action. Armed with a high-quality Champion light bulb and the instructions in this installation guide, you’ll be ready to take on this basic repair job.

Choose a Champion premium light bulb or a Champion LED light bulb to get the job done right. Champion premium exterior light bulbs deliver twice the life of standard bulbs while Champion LED bulbs are designed to burn brighter and whiter than standard bulbs. You can count on Champion to light the way.

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Step-by-Step Instructions

Step One

Start by determining how to access the taillight bulb on your vehicle. On some vehicles, you reach the taillight housing from the outside while on other cars and SUVs you need to go through the trunk to get to the taillight bulb.

If you are having trouble figuring out how to reach the taillight bulb, consult your owner’s manual.

Step Two

Now that you know how to reach the taillight bulb, you’ll be able to determine what tools you need. You’ll likely need either a flathead or Phillips screwdriver. Grab whatever tools you need and remove the screws holding the taillight housing in place. If your vehicle provides easy access to the taillight housing, you might not need tools. Just snap off the fabric covering to expose the bulb in its socket.

Step Three

Once you have the housing removed, determine which bulb(s) you need to replace. Locate the bulb holder that holds the light bulb you need to replace. To unseat it, unscrew it by turning it a quarter turn or so to pull it out.

Step Four

Remove the bulb by carefully pulling it out of the socket. Most pull straight out, but some may require a quarter turn to remove it. Depending on your vehicle’s setup, there may be some additional screws to remove. Be gentle when doing this so you don’t risk breaking the bulb.

Step Five

Before installing the new bulb, clean out the socket to ensure that there is no dirt and debris. Insert the bulb into the open socket in the same manner that you removed it. You may want to wear gloves to protect the bulb from damage.

Reverse the process you used to remove the old bulb. Put the taillight housing back in place, screwing in any screws that you removed. Replace any additional parts that you had to remove to gain access to the taillight bulb.

Step Six

Start up your vehicle to ensure that the taillight is working properly. 

Learn more about quality lighting products, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.


  • Park your car on a flat surface where you can safely work.
  • Turn your car off and set the parking brake.
  • Consider changing your taillights in pairs to promote even wear. For example, if the left turn signal bulb is burned out, also change the right turn signal.
  • Make sure you have the correct Champion light bulb for your vehicle. Consult your owner's manual to get the correct part number or find your car part here. You can also use the reference catalog at the auto parts store to get the correct part number.


  • 15 Minutes


  • Depending on how the taillight housing is fastened, you might need a flat head screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver or no tools at all.
  • Gloves

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