Tail light of a car

Many auto repair jobs are best left to the mechanics, but there are some you can handle on your own, even if you’re a complete novice. Replacing a turn signal is just such a job. You can save a little money and a little time by replacing burnt out turn signal bulbs yourself. The only part you need is the replacement bulb, and you can have it done quicker than you can drive to the mechanic and back.

How to Access the turn Signal Bulb

Newer model cars provide access to the turn signal bulb without having to remove the light housing. For a font turn signal, access to the turn signal is found at the back of the headlight. When you open the hood of your car, you can usually see the socket of the turn signal bulb sticking out the back of the headlight. Sometimes your battery is in the way a little bit, but you can move it out of the way and you’re ready to go. For a rear turn signal, the back of the tail lights can be accessed from the trunk. You may need to move the trunk liner aside in a car, or remove an interior panel over the light in an SUV or truck.

Older cars require you to remove the turn signal light housing in order to get to the turn signal bulb. This is a totally separate light from the headlight. You can unscrew the light cover from the outside, which will give you access to the bulb. This is the process for both front and rear turn signals.

Removing the Old Bulb

When removing the bulb from a newer car, you simply unplug the light socket from the back of the light housing. You usually need to twist the socket to the left a little before it will pull out. Simply unscrew the bulb from the socket, put in the new one, and twist the socket back in.

On older cars, removing the light cover leaves the bulb exposed. Gently squeeze the bulb, and push it in as you turn it to your left, then pull it out. Screw the new bulb in, replace the light housing, and you’re all done!

If You Break the Bulb

Sometimes older turn signal bulbs are a little brittle, and it’s not uncommon for them to break as you’re pulling them out. If the turn signal bulb breaks while it’s still in the socket, it’s going to leave the metal barrel behind. You’ll need to remove this by getting a hold of the edge with a pair of needle nose pliers. Twist the barrel out, make sure there’s no broken glass in the socket, and screw your new bulb in.