How to Replace a Tail, Brake or Reverse Light

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Melted contact wires are a common cause of burned out brake lights. Replace a brake light with the car maintenance tips in this free video on automotive repair from a professional auto mechanic.

Part of the Video Series: Automotive Troubleshooting
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Video Transcript

Dave Erb here from Dave's Ultimate Automotive in Austin, Texas and we're going to talk a little bit about replacing a turn signal bulb, or a brake light bulb, or any bulb in a vehicle. Today's construction's a lot like what you see here, you'll find that the lenses are kind of seamless. Used to be in the old days you'd have screws coming in from the outside of the lens, you just take those screws out and pull it out. Well today they're hidden, if you just open the hatch or trunk or whatever it might be on you'll find screws on the inner edge which you would then pull out. And then the outer edge is actually popped into the body by a couple of holders or clips, and sometimes they're tough and sometimes they're easy, sometimes you feel like you're about to break it but they just pop right out. You can see here, you've got three different wires and connectors. Most of these will just turn and pop out, of course you need to determine which bulb you're replacing whether it's the brake and running lights, the turn signal, or reverse light. You would just pull the appropriate one out. These particular type, instead of twisting and pulling like it used to be, actually just pull straight out. A couple things you need to look for is when you pull the bulb out you want to look down inside the connector and make sure it's not burned or melted. A real common problem with this type of connector is you get melted contacts or ones that get really hot and even though you replace it with a new bulb it still doesn't work. So you want to make sure that that connector looks good in there, you get your new bulb, it pops right back in place, it clips in. You slip it right back into the housing, rotates usually clockwise, clips in place, and then you just pop it right back in, put your screws back in. Lock it down and you're good to go!


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