Checking and Changing an Exterior Light Bulb

Light bulbs have a limited life span and burn out occasionally. Inspecting the lighting system’s operation periodically, such as during oil changes, will help identify any light bulb issues. If none of the bulbs in a particular circuit is working, there may be a bigger electrical problem to resolve, requiring diagnosis. Many tail, brake, and signal light bulbs have more than one filament inside them. These bulbs normally have offset pins to ensure proper orientation of the electrical contacts in the socket.

Be sure to look carefully at the bulb you are replacing to make sure you do not try to force the bulb in the wrong way. Also, make sure you don’t replace a dual-filament bulb with a single-filament bulb since that can short both lighting circuits together, causing the lights to work very strangely. Some bulbs have a colored glass envelope that enables them to be used with a clear lens. If you replace a bulb of this type, make sure you replace it with one of the same color.

To check and change an exterior light bulb, follow the steps in Skill Drill 39-2:

1
Determine the method used to secure the lamp unit or lens cover and remove the cover or lamp unit to expose the bulb. If no screws are found on the lens cover, it may be necessary to remove the entire assembly to access the bulb or there may be access from behind.
2
If the bulb is pin mounted, gently grip the bulb and push it inward. Turn the bulb slightly counterclockwise and pull it out of the bulb holder. (Photo 1)
3
Inspect the bulb holder to make sure there is no corrosion. If there is, clean it with a bulb socket wire brush or emery cloth. (Photo 2)
4
Insert the new bulb into the bulb holder, depress it fully, turn it slightly clockwise and release it.
5
Make sure the bulb is secure, and test its operation by switching it on and off. Replace the cover or unit, and test it again. (Photo 3)
SKILL DRILL
39-2
Checking and Changing an Exterior Light Bulb
24118 CH32 SKDSD09 05
1
Remove the cover to expose the bulb. If the bulb is pin mounted, gently grip the bulb and push it inward. Turn the bulb slightly counterclockwise and remove it from the bulb holder.
24118 CH32 SKDSD09 05
2
Inspect the bulb holder to make sure there is no corrosion. If there is, clean it with a bulb socket wire brush or emery cloth.
24118 CH32 SKDSD09 05
3
Insert the new bulb into the bulb holder, depress it fully, turn it slightly clockwise, and release it. Test it by switching it on and off. Then replace the cover, and test it again.
 
SAFETY
The glass in a light bulb is thin, and if it breaks, it is extremely sharp. Since bayonet-style lights need to be pushed in to be released, and they can become corroded in place, and it may take a lot of force to push them in. Placed under such high pressure, the glass can break and severely cut the skin and even the tendons in fingers. If a bulb does not come out easily, stop, use a folded rag, and try to remove it again. If it shatters, the rag will help to protect your fingers.