how to change a brake light: a step by step guide

Brake lights are an essential safety feature on any vehicle, and it’s important to keep them in good working order. Not only do they help prevent accidents, but they are also required by law.

Over time, brake lights can burn out or become damaged, which can compromise your safety on the road.

If one or both of your brake lights has burnt out, don’t worry – it’s a simple fix that you can do yourself with the right tools and knowledge.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to change a brake light on your own.

With these instructions, you can replace a brake light quickly and easily, ensuring that your vehicle is safe and legal to drive.


One unique aspect of changing a brake light is that the procedure can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. 

Some vehicles have easy-to-access brake light bulbs that can be replaced in just a few minutes, while others require you to remove a portion of the vehicle’s interior or even the entire tail light assembly to replace the brake light.

 It’s important to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or a reliable online resource to determine the specific steps you need to follow to change your brake light. 

Additionally, some newer vehicles use LED brake lights, which can be more complicated to replace and may require professional assistance.

Knowing the unique aspects of your particular vehicle’s brake light replacement process can save you time, frustration, and potentially costly mistakes.

Materials and Tools Needed to change a brake light:

Before we get started, you’ll need to gather a few materials and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

Replacement brake light bulb (make sure it’s the right type for your vehicle):

Screwdriver (usually a Phillips or flathead, depending on the type of screw used to hold the brake light cover in place)

Gloves (optional, but recommended)

Safety glasses (optional, but recommended)

Determine the Type of Brake Light Bulb:

The first step is to determine the type of brake light bulb you need. There are a few different types, including halogen, LED, and incandescent.

 Check your vehicle owner’s manual or do a quick online search to find out which type of bulb you need.

Accessing the Brake Light Bulb:

Once you know which type of bulb you need, you’ll need to access the brake light assembly. This is usually located at the back of the vehicle, near the rear window, or on the trunk lid.

 Depending on your vehicle, there may be a cover over the brake light assembly that needs to be removed. Use your screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the cover in place.

Removing the Old Bulb:

Once you’ve accessed the brake light assembly, you’ll need to remove the old bulb. This is usually as simple as gently pulling the bulb out of the socket.

 If the bulb is stuck, try wiggling it back and forth gently until it comes loose. Be careful not to break the bulb or the socket.

Installing the New Bulb:

With the old bulb removed, it’s time to install the new one. Take the new bulb and insert it into the socket. Make sure it’s properly aligned and fully seated in the socket.

 If the bulb has two prongs, make sure they line up with the corresponding slots in the socket.

Testing the Brake Light:

Before reassembling the brake light assembly, it’s a good idea to test the new bulb. Have someone stand outside the vehicle and press the brake pedal while you check to make sure the new bulb lights up. 

If it doesn’t, double-check that it’s installed correctly or try a different bulb.

Reassembling the Brake Light Assembly

Assuming the new bulb is working properly, it’s time to reassemble the brake light assembly. Put the cover back on, using the screws to secure it in place.

Make sure the cover is properly aligned and flush with the surrounding surface. If the cover isn’t flush, it may not seal properly and water could get inside.


Changing a brake light is a quick and easy task that you can do yourself. By following these steps, you’ll be able to replace a burnt-out brake light in no time.

Remember to always check your brake lights regularly to ensure they’re working properly – not only is it a safety issue, but it’s also required by law.

And also remember to always use caution and wear protective gloves when handling hot bulbs or electrical components, and be sure to test the new brake light before hitting the road.

With a little know-how and the right tools, you can keep your brake lights in working order and stay safe on the road.

With a few basic tools and some knowledge, you can keep your vehicle’s brake lights in good working order and help keep yourself and others safe on the road. 


Q: Why is it important to change a brake light when it burns out?

A: Brake lights are an essential safety feature on any vehicle, and they help prevent accidents by signaling to other drivers when you’re slowing down or coming to a stop. Additionally, it is required by law to have functional brake lights.

Q: What tools do I need to change a brake light? 

A: To change a brake light, you will typically need a screwdriver (usually a Phillips or flathead, depending on the type of screw used to hold the brake light cover in place), a replacement bulb (make sure it’s the right type for your vehicle), gloves (optional, but recommended), and safety glasses (optional, but recommended).

Q: What if the brake light still doesn’t work after replacing the bulb? 

A: If the brake light still doesn’t work after replacing the bulb, there may be a problem with the wiring or the socket. It’s best to consult a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue.

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