How to Replace Older Track Lights


If you have a narrow room in your home, you may consider installing track lighting. Running track lighting across the smallest walls in your room provides an illusion of a larger room. If you currently have track lighting in your home, you can replace or update the fixture. Replacing older track lighting does not require you to have an electrician license. Before you removing your old track lighting, it’s imperative to ensure you do not have power running to the light, as this could cause injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Voltage detector
  • Track lighting kit
  • Twist on wire connectors
  • Wire stripping pliers
  • Long nose pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Drill and bits
  • Screws
  • Hollow wall anchors
  • Screwdriver

Remove Old Fixture

  • Disconnect the power at the main circuit box of your home by flipping appropriate breaker to the ceiling outlet to the off position.

  • Remove the track mounting plate by removing the screws with your screwdriver. Remove the wire nuts by unscrewing them by hand. Test the wires with your voltage tester to ensure the power is off. To test the wire, place the prong of the voltage tester against a wire end. Notice if the voltage tester reads any activity. If it does the power is not off, and you need to check the breaker box. If necessary, you may need to turn on the main power supply to your home at the breaker box.

  • Remove the track adapter and mounting plate from the ceiling. Unscrew the mounting plate with your screwdriver and remove it. This exposes the track adapter. The track adapter contains a black, white and green wire attached to the electrical wires in your home. Untwist the wires to remove them.

  • Remove the track light by removing the screws located in the track with your screwdriver. The track will come loose from the ceiling.

Install New Fixture

  • Attach the wires from the new track adapter to the existing wires in your home. Connect like colored wires—black to black, white to white and the green wire to the brown screw located on the bottom of the track mounting plate. Secure wires with wire nuts by twisting them over the wire ends.

  • Tuck the wires and wire nuts up into the ceiling box. Attach the tracks mounting plate to the ceiling studs where your old track mounting plate was installed by screwing it in place. Leave the track adapter exposed.

  • Temporarily attach the first track to the mounting plate with screws and your screwdriver. This holds the first track in place while you mark the predrilled holes in the track light with a pencil. Mark the predrilled holes with a pencil on the ceiling.

  • Remove the track from the ceiling by unscrewing it with your screwdriver. Drill the screw holes you marked in step 3, with your drill and drill bit. Fasten the track to your ceiling with screws and your screwdriver or hollow wall anchors if you do not have ceiling joists available.

  • Insert the track adapter wired from your ceiling into the track and rotate to lock it into the track. Attach the cover over the connector and ceiling box by screwing a screw on each side of the connector cover. Attach the lights by inserting and rotating them in the track until they lock in place. Install the bulbs and restore your power at your main breaker box. Turn on the track lighting to verify it works properly.

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