Changing Turn Signal Lights on an Automobile

Cars are found on the roads in the millions today, and each car on the road has a number of safety mechanisms that are designed to keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe. Among these safety features is the turn signal. These little bulbs indicate to other drivers and pedestrians when a person is about to turn, and heeding the turn signal of another person can prevent an accident and the repercussions that come with it. Unfortunately, sometimes these important bulbs can malfunction, so with that in mind, the following offers a brief step-by-step process for changing turn signal light bulbs on an automobile.



Determine the Bulb Type

In order to replace a faulty turn signal bulb, you must first determine the bulb type. This can be done by simply looking it up on an automotive website such as AutoZone’s site. These sites allow users to enter the vehicle year, make and model, and then the exact type of part for the selected vehicle will appear. You will need to find the bulbs and purchase them before beginning to work.


Disconnect the Battery

Before beginning to work on installing the bulbs, it is advisable to disconnect your car’s battery. This step is always suggested when working on the electrical system of a vehicle. Ideally, it does not need to be done for a simple light change. However, for those people who prefer complete safety, you can disconnect the hot wire from the battery by simply loosening the retaining bolt and sliding the cable off the battery.


Locate the Screws in the Light Bezel

If you have not already disconnected the battery, pop the hood, trunk or hatch (depending on the type of vehicle and location of the turn signal bulbs that need changed). For the rear bulbs on most vehicles, you can access them with the trunk or hatch popped, and there will generally be two screws that need to be removed. Once they have been removed, you will likely see two clips holding the bezel in place. Simply pull on the light bezel to remove it, making sure to pull in a straight line as to not break the clips.


Remove the Bulb Holder

The turn signal bulbs can be accessed from the backside of the bezel. You should see wires that are connected to the bulbs that feed into the bezel. To remove these wires and the bulb holder, twist the holder counterclockwise and then pull free. It should come right out, and you should not have to force it.


Remove the Turn Signal Bulb

The turn signal bulb is located inside of the holder, and it should just pull free as you remove it. Inspect the bulb before discarding it and note whether there are any issues with the bulb such as burn marks. If there are, this may indicate a secondary issue that needs to be addressed.


Inspect the Bulb Holder and Bezel

You should also take this time to inspect the bulb holder and the bezel for any damage. If there are any signs of damage to wiring, the bezel or anything else, they should be addressed. If debris or moisture has somehow entered the bezel, clean it out. It might not be a bad idea to clean the bezel and fixtures in general as well.


Replace the Bulb and Bulb Holder

Once you have examined the bulb, the holder and the bezel, place the new bulb in the holder and place the holder back in the bezel. They should be returned to the bezel in the opposite order in which they were taken out. Make sure that they are secure, and then test the new bulb before replacing the light bezel.


Replace the Light Bezel

Next, slide the wiring for the light out of the way, and then insert the clips into their corresponding hole. Push the bezel back into place firmly but gently in order to avoid breaking the clips, and make sure that the light bezel is in the appropriate position. Replace the screws as well.


Repeat as Needed

For each turn signal bulb that needs to be changed, follow the above basic steps. You may encounter a slight difference with the front bulbs, but the process is essentially the same. In addition, always be careful when working around the engine, and be sure that the engine is cool.


Check All of the Turn Signals

After all of the turn signal bulbs have been replaced, check all of them to make sure that they work. Turn on the flashers or the signal for each side, and then walk around the car and verify that they are all working.

The above steps can help you to check and change the turn signal bulbs for most vehicles. It is an easy process that should not take much time to complete, as each bulb ideally can be changed in five minutes or less, and changing all four should take no more than a half hour. It does not take much technical skill to complete, and even the least mechanically-inclined person should be able to do it. Your turn signals are one of the most important safety features on your car, so if one of your bulbs goes out, be sure to follow the above process as soon as possible in order to safely and effectively replace the malfunctioning bulb.