How to Change a Turn Signal Bulb

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What You'll Need
Turn signal bulb
Philips head screwdriver or socket wrench set
Clean rags
Wire brush
LED flashlight

When a turn signal bulb goes out it can cost a couple hundred dollars to take to a garage to have it fixed. Fixing a burned out turn signal bulb is as much a safety concern as it is a monetary one. It can also cost you some heavy fines and a ticket as well as possible points against your license. Changing a blown out turn signal bulb is not that difficult to do with simple tools if you follow these steps.

Step 1 - Access the Bulb

Getting to the turn signal bulb is usually the most difficult part of this project. There are two ways to access it: through the trunk and through the tail light cover. Always look at the exterior of the car first to save yourself added work and a headache. Look for either screws or bolts holding the cover in place. If none are visible, then look inside the trunk to find them. And, if it is a front turn signal bulb, the access may be under the hood of the car. Remove the plastic cover by turning the screws or bolts to the left. If the turn signal bulb is accessed from inside the trunk or under the hood, then you will encounter a plastic cover. Twist the tab or knob on the cover and then remove the cover.

Step 2 - Remove the Bulb

Once you have access to the turn signal bulb it is easy to remove it. Gently grip the bulb with a rag and push it in and turn it to the left. This is a sort of quick release system. You then simply have to pull the bulb forward to remove it. Some later model cars use bulbs that are a press in and pull out by hand.

Step 3 - Clean

Inspect the socket where you took the bulb from. Look for any signs of corrosion, dirt or general imperfections. Any of these things can cause an improper contact which will render the turn signal bulb useless. Use a wire brush and rigorously scrub the area. This will remove any rust or debris inside the socket.

Step 4 - Replace the Turn Signal Bulb

Not all bulbs are created equal and they vary from car model to model. Take the old bulb to your local auto parts store and have them select the correct bulb for your car. Push the new bulb into the socket and turn it to the right to tighten it, or just press in if the newer style. Before you replace the cover you should always test the bulb. Turn the car on and test the signal by pressing the brake pedal and by turning on the hazard lights as well as the corresponding turn signal. If all seems fine you can replace the plastic cover (if accessed from inside the trunk or under the hood) or the turn signal cover. Tighten all of the screws or bolts that you had removed previously.