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DIY Steps of How To Change Brake Light and Replacement By Garage Tools

A vehicle with a faulty brake light is not safe/roadworthy, especially when driving in traffic.

To avoid getting booked for safety/traffic offenses, you should learn how to change the brake light whenever it becomes faulty or acts up.

Every vehicle component has its unique function, irrespective of how minor or irrelevant it might appear.

In brake lights case, they should not be left unattended or unrepaired for a long time.

The brake light replacement process is not complex when straightforward descriptions or procedures are followed.

Not only that, the tools/materials that are necessary for the replacement/repair are not expensive or difficult to get or acquire.

how to change brake light

Common Steps of How To Change Brake Light And What You Need

Before we go through the replacement steps/procedures, there are some things that every vehicle owner should get familiar with about the task as a whole.

This information keeps you well-informed ahead of the replacement exercise, highlighting some of the expectations or things to look forward to and the provisions or arrangements that need to be in place.

Necessary Tools

  • Torx driver (T10, T15, or T20)
  • Safety gloves & glasses
  • Bulb grease
  • New brake light bulbs
  • Screwdriver (Phillips-Head and Slotted)
  • ¼ extension (three or six inches)
  • ¼ socket set
  • ¼ ratchet


The replacement process doesn’t take much time.

While the job can be concluded in little or no time, we always advise independent installers to take their time, ensuring that everything lines up greatly.

On average, the brake light replacement can be finalized in less than 30 minutes (at least ten minutes for each brake light bulb).


As stated earlier, replacing a faulty brake pad is a smooth/easy exercise anyone could do. On average, a quality brake light bulb costs about ten dollars ($10).

However, the price could run into tens of dollars, depending on the brand a vehicle owner decides to settle with.

For individuals who do not have time or seek to engage the service of a professional installer, the cost of hire could also vary.

On average, it could cost as low as $20 and as high as $100, depending on the vehicle in question.

how to change brake light

The Procedure of How To Change a Brake Light

Find Out The Type of Brake Light Bulbs That The Vehicle Uses

Various kinds of bulbs are designed for the brake light. Basically, the brake light bulbs are not one cap fits.

Adequate bulb selection and fitting are crucial to achieving the anticipated outcomes.

Before you consider the replacement bulbs to buy, ensure the information about the type and fitting is known (check the owner’s manual).

Get The Tools/Materials Intact Or in Place

We have listed the essential tools required for the job. Once these tools are collected or gotten, do not scatter them across the places.

Get them together at a spot to aid easy reach whenever the need for each of them comes up.

Determine The Ideal Way To Access The Brake Light

Depending on the vehicle you drive, getting across the brake lights could be either through the trunk or directly from outside.

The latter (from the outside) is the easiest way and is mainly associated with older vehicle designs.

Find out the category that your vehicle belongs to and get to work.

If passage to the brake light bulbs is through the trunk, it first has to be emptied, taking out some of the loads or accessories that might be stored in it.

Immediately it is load-free. The areas covered with carpet can be raised to a certain height to reveal the screws that hold the lens in place.

how to change brake light

Detach/Take The Screws Off

The screws can be taken off the lens using the screwdriver (Philips head).

Take them off carefully, and ensure they are stored in a particular spot or position that is safe enough to avoid displacing them.

Take Off The Lens

Once the screws are detached. It gives access to the safe removal/detachment of the lens.

Take off the lens carefully from the spot where it’s mounted or connected.

Take Out The Damaged Brake Light Bulb (S)

Before now, we expect that you must have familiarized yourself with the brake lights and know the bulb (s) to take out exactly.

Reach out to the damaged bulb and disconnect it from the socket.

Depending on the vehicle, the disconnection process could be through twisting or pulling.

Whatever way it is, ensure it is done gently/carefully.

Inspect The Socket

The replacement exercise gives adequate room and time for critical inspection.

It ensures other components that contribute to the proper functioning of the part/unit due for replacement are inspected to detect/determine if they are in good condition.

Do not just take out the damaged bulb and immediately get a new one fixed/inserted.

Before any replacement is executed, take time to check/inspect the socket to ensure there is nothing wrong with it. The socket should be free from corrosion/rust particles.

It must also be free from marks that may have resulted from the possible effect of burn or melting.

If any of the issues listed/mentioned above is present or detected, do not hesitate to take your vehicle to an expert for diagnosis and immediate repair.

Attach/Install The New Brake Light Bulb (S)

Once the socket’s condition is confirmed adequate, the next stage or step is to place the new bulb into the socket.

Finalize The Installation

Once the new bulb has been integrated successfully, ask someone, possibly one of your family members or friends, to confirm if it’s working as expected.

If everything seems okay, attach the lens back to its initial/usual position and tighten the screws accordingly.

how to change brake light

Tips To Make Your Brake Light Last Longer

a) If just one of the brake light bulbs happens to be faulty, the standard approach would be to get it replaced, leaving the other bulb unattended.

To prevent repeating the replacement process for the other bulb later in the future, which may happen sooner than envisaged. We advise that both bulbs be changed/replaced.

b) Ensure the bulb holds firmly inside the socket. If the bulb isn’t properly tightened, it could displace or disconnect, damaging it in the process.

c) There are several brands/designs of brake light bulbs to pick from.

When choosing the ideal bulb for your vehicle, ensure the purchase is from one of the top/most reliable brands.

d) If you live in a colder region, especially where there is an intense and high amount of moisture.

A weatherproof bulb should be the focus. Choose a design that is tested/trusted for withstanding moisture contact.

e) While coupling the lens or returning other components to their respective positions after the replacement.

Ensure they are adequately placed and tightened to prevent moisture from entering the brake light bulb’s compartment.

how to change brake light

Why & When is Brake Light Replacement Necessary


The brake lights communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road, especially the vehicle behind.

They come on whenever the brake pad is matched for efficient control.

This could be while trying to make a turn, bringing the vehicle to a halt, or creating sufficient room for the car ahead when driving in traffic.

During this time, the vehicle behind would stay informed, ensuring they can make necessary adjustments to their driving style, especially their speed, for improved clarity and safety.

When the brake lights are damaged and left unchanged. Driving in such a vehicle becomes a concern since it could result in an accident on the road.

If law enforcement gets hold of the event. The individual or driver responsible will end up getting a ticket and fined for negligence.


A replacement is necessary when the performance level is unacceptable.

The brake light bulb is placed/positioned at the back of the vehicle, which is beyond the driver’s reach.

how to change brake light

If the brake light doesn’t come up upon engaging the brake or possibly doesn’t illuminate efficiently from a safe distance from the vehicle.

A replacement should be considered as soon as possible.

You can also keep an eye on the brake warning light. It is another way to find out if the bulbs are due for a replacement.

Types of Brake Light Bulbs And How Long Do They Last

Brake lights are available in two major designs: halogen of LED.

Consult the owner’s handbook to know the type of bulb designed or built to work with your vehicle.

Halogen bulbs are built to offer about 1,000 hours of use. In terms of years, the life expectancy would be around five (5) years.

On the other hand, LED brake light bulbs are adequately equipped/engineered to keep working at a top level for as long as 50,000 hours or twelve (12) years.

Nevertheless, it is the job of the vehicle owner to ensure that life expectancy is achievable through adequate maintenance/care.

As we stated earlier, Brake light bulbs are available in various designs. Each brand has its unique features, most especially the construction material quality.

Choose a bulb built with the best quality at the price you are willing to pay.

Most importantly, consider the weather conditions in your region and choose a design that works best under such conditions.

Reviews of Brake Lights on The Market

IBrightstar-1157-3014 3030-54 3R – Best Brake Light Replacement

iBrightstar Newest 9-30V Super Bright Low Power 1157 2357 2057 7528 BAY15D LED Bulbs with Projector Replacement for Stop Tail Brake Lights, Brilliant Red
  • (Set of 2 Bulbs) 54SMD 3014 & 3SMD 3030 high Brightness chips per bulb, Working Voltage:9v-30v
  • Fits: 1157 BAY15D 1016 1034 1157 1157A 2057 2057A 2357 2357A 2357NA 2397 3496 7528 p21/5w etc. Easy installation, plug and play.
  • Application: Brake Lights, Tail Lights, Daytime Running Lights etc. Load resistor or flash relay might be needed to prevent the hyper flash when replacement for Turn Signal Lights.
  • Advantage: Exclusive design, 300% brighter than original halogen bulb, full Aluminum Housing with Projection lens for Maximum Light output and better heat distribution,built in Constant Current IC for Longer life span & Low Power Consumption.
  • Please double check owners manual or original bulb number to confirm before placing an order. Any other problem please feel free to contact us, we are always here to satisfy of you.

Highlighted Features

  • ‎LED brake light bulb
  • Aluminum housing with projection lens
  • 9v-30v working voltage
  • Color: Brilliant Red
  • 6 ounces in weight

Right from inside the box, the quality the IBrightstar-1157-3014 3030-54 3R offers is well pronounced, placing it ahead of the cheap designs out there.

The bulb is built from the best materials out there, improving its sturdiness/durability significantly.

Although the price is a bit higher than some other LED brake light bulbs you will find on Amazon, its quality makes it worth the amount paid to acquire it.


  • The light intensity is three times brighter than halogen
  • Doesn’t consume or use a large amount of power
  • The generated heat is distributed efficiently
  • Quality construction for maximum protection and longevity


  • A bit pricey compared to some other LED designs

Alla-STR-2835-7443-39R-Red – Best Replacement For Brake Light

Alla Lighting Upgraded T20 7440 7443 LED Strobe Brake Lights Bulbs, Red Flashing Stop Lamps, W21W 7440LL 7443LL Strobe LED Taillights Replacement for Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Vans
  • (Set of 2) Newly upgraded version, built-in USA-made smart IC driver for the best light performance and longer lifespan, 7443 Strobe led lights bulbs flash 3 times on-and-off and then keep solid light (Legal blinking times) to avoidthe rear-end collision for automotive cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs.
  • LED Chips: Each 7443 LED strobe bulb is equipped with 39 pieces high quality,high power and high performance 2835 led chips; 360° full angle illumination light ouput with projector lens.
  • Universal fits T20 wedge 7440 single filament and 7443 dual filament W3x16Q base, big difference between high and low intensity light output, replacing rear 7440 7443 brake stop light, back-up reverse lights, center high-mount stop ( 3rd brake ) lights lamps,etc. Extra load resistors maybe required to avoid the error code or blinking issue.
  • The length is about 2.09 inch. Cross reference number: 7440, 7441, 7443, 7443LL, W21/5W, 7443/26201, 78660, 78661, 17919, 7515, HIB7443WM, W21W, 7440/26200, 17632, 7504, 7440LL, 7443-SRCK, 7443-CK,etc.
  • One Year Warranty Compatible with both standard type and CK/SRCK type. Voltage: 12V - 24V, built-in stable current IC driver for longer lifespan.

Highlighted Features

  • LED bulbs (2 units in a pack)
  • 9v to 24v working voltage
  • 2000 Lumens
  • Color: Brilliant pure red
  • ‎1.13 ounces in weight

Alla-STR-2835-7443-39R-Red is designed to deliver more quality performance than halogen or regular bulbs.

For instance, it offers a brighter light, using a small voltage.

The difference in the light output is easily/clearly perceived at night and during the day.

This gives the vehicle behind an explicit knowledge of your intentions.


  • Not affected by moisture (waterproof)
  • It is designed to work with the standard socket & CK socket
  • Pocket-friendly


  • The customer relationship/interaction could be better
  • Quality could be improved for a better performance

AUXLIGHT-1157-57SMD-2R – Brake Light Replacement

AUXLIGHT 2057 1157 2357 7528 2057A 1157A 2357A LED Bulbs Brilliant Red, Ultra Bright 57-SMD LED Replacement for Brake/Tail Lights, Blinker Lights, Turn Signal/Parking or Running Lights (Pack of 2)
  • ▼▼▼IMPORTANT NOTICE: 1. It’s very normal that the hyper flashing occurs when LED bulbs are used for turn signal lights due to much lower power consumption of LED bulbs than halogens. 2. Please add 50W 6ohm load resistor to solve hyper flash/fast blinking/no flash/error message on dashboard if it occurs. 3. The bulbs Don’t built in resistor and package Doesn’t come with resistor!!!
  • ▼The Most High-Tech LED Brake/Tail Light Bulbs! Uniform Beam Pattern, High Power 54SMD 3014 & 3SMD 3030 Chipsets. BRIGHTEST LED BULBS. BEST BEAM PATTERN.
  • ▼The AUXLIGHT LED bulbs was made in the highest quality and most stable design, extra longer working hours. Best LED interior bulbs on the market.
  • ▼Standard 1157/2057 base, it almost the same size with halogen bulbs. Super bright LED interior light, +320% BRIGHTER THAN STOCK BULB. ONE Year Warranty. Full aluminum housing with projection lens for maximum light output and better heat distribution, built in constant current IC for longer life span & low power consumption.
  • ▼Fit in most 1157 2057 2357 7528 1016 1034 1034A 1034LL 1034NA 1035 1157A 1157ALL 1157LL 1157NA 1157ST 1178A 1196 198 2057A 2057ALL 2057LL 2057NA 2357A 2357ALL 2357LL 2357NA 2397 3496 7528L 94 BAY15D p21/5w etc socket. Can be used for brake/tail lights, turn signal/parking or daytime running Lights, blinker lights, side marker lights, DRL etc.

Highlighted Features

  • LED bulb (2 units)
  • Aluminum housing with projection lens
  • 9-30V working voltage
  • Brilliant red (color)
  • 16000 Lumens
  • 13 ounces in weight

The AUXLIGHT-1157-57SMD-2R is designed to fit great on compatible vehicles, offering a tangible difference in performance compared to traditional designs.

The brilliant red light color is bright enough to shine through any lens color, providing a noticeable and clean glow during the day and at night for adequate performance.

The heat distribution is highly efficient, improving performance and extending the bulbs and lens lifespan.


  • Excellent quality for stable performance
  • Long-lasting brake light bulbs (up to 50,000 hours)
  • Inexpensive design
  • Efficient heat distribution and exceptional light output


  • Available in one color only

The Common FAQs of How To Change Brake Light

how to change brake light

How Do I Detect a Failing/Damaged Brake Light Bulb?

Detecting if the bulb is bad, faulty, or inadequate isn’t a task that can be achieved independently.

It either you have it checked at every maintenance routine appointment or ask a friend or a member of the family to inspect/observe its performance while the brake pedal is pressed or engaged.

Where Can The Best Brake Light Bulbs Be Purchased?

Like other vehicle components, brake light bulbs can be purchased from Amazon (online store) and local auto shops around your area. Ensure

How Do I Find The Best Replacement Brake Bulbs?

The owner’s manual has all the details a vehicle owner might need to make the best replacement decision whenever necessary.

Alternatively, independent research and findings might be conducted.

This involves reading numerous reviews and making comparisons among the best designs within your budget.

How Often Should The Brake Light Be Inspected?

There is no fixed/specific timeframe for how frequent inspections should be conducted.

You can ask people around (friends and family) as many times as possible to check if the brake lights’ performance level is acceptable or adequate and act on the feedback provided.


The information provided so far goes beyond the steps/procedures on how to change a brake light.

Besides highlighting the process that supports efficient and successful replacement exercises.

We have also provided reasons why the brake lights should function at their best and the danger and consequences of driving a vehicle with failed brake lights.

Read through all the details, especially the symptoms, and act accordingly.

There is no excuse for leaving the brake light bulbs unchanged, considering how easy and affordable they are.

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