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Old 10-14-2006, 04:06 PM   #1
dmc
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2000 SL2
Default How to replace tail lights on S-series

This how-to covers replacement of brake lights, rear turn signals, and reverse lights on the S-series. I did this on a 3rd gen SL2, but the instructions are probably applicable to most models and years.

You will need the following:

* A T-15 Torx screwdriver

This is a quick operation. I was able to do it in five minutes in a parking lot.

First, find out which light(s) are burned out. The easiest way is to have a helper hit the brakes/turn signal/reverse while you stand behind the car. If you can't find a helper, you can just park so your car's rear-end faces the side of a shiny car, and you should be able to see which lights are coming on in the rear view mirror.

Next, go to the auto parts store and get the proper bulbs. I used Sylvania Long Life bulbs. Don't bother with OEM bulbs, they're needlessly expensive. You can also pick up special grease to coat the bulb socket if you like (it's sold in a little packet at the counter of most auto parts stores).

Pop your trunk, and you'll see two Torx screws on the side of the tail light assembly. Use your T-15 screwdriver on these.

The tail light assembly should easily slide out at this point. You'll see four connectors: a wiring harness, reverse light, turn signal, and brake light. Disconnect the proper connector, and you'll see the burned-out bulb. Give it a yank, and it will pop right out.

Coat the new bulb's base with dielectric grease (optional), and insert the new bulb. It will go in with a satisfying snap.

Slide the tail light assembly into the body of the car, and screw the two Torx screws back in.

You probably got a 2-pack of bulbs, so go ahead and replace the same bulb on the other side of the car! It will most likely burn out soon anyway.

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Old 10-15-2006, 05:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

You just reminded me of something on my "To Do" list. One bulb was replaced when I bought new tires. Years ago I was pulled over when a bulb had burned out on my Sentra brake lights. Just to hard to monitor unless you have a helper.

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Old 10-15-2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

I use a SKY umbrella that I got from the Detroit Auto Show to press the brake pedal while I'm in back of my Saturn checking the bulbs. wedge it between the drivers seat and the door sill. lamp bulb replacement instructions are in the Saturn Owner's Handbook.

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Old 10-17-2006, 05:22 PM   #4
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Happy Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

Typically we turn a vehicle's bulb connector 1/6 of a turn to remove and reinstall it. Sometimes we have to press a tab while turning it for removal. Also sometimes the connectors are "keyed" meaning the notches are not equally sized and not equally spaced, so look at the connector before reinstalling so you don't force it and perhaps break something along the way.

Some bulbs slide in and out, others need to be turned slightly before pulling out or pushing in. Again, some bulbs are "keyed" and not completely symmetrical, so look at the base of the bulb before reinstalling so you don't force it...

Dielectric grease is a good idea. It helps to seal out moisture and prevent rust, it helps dissipate heat, and it helps the bulbs come out easily the next time they need to be replaced.

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Old 01-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

I opened my trunk and I cannot locate the two Torx screws on the side of the tail light assembly.

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Old 01-10-2010, 12:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

I opened my trunk and I could not locate the Torx screws that are on the side of the tail light assembly. Are they hidden behind any type of covering?

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Old 01-10-2010, 10:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to replace tail lights on S-series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar011 View Post
I opened my trunk and I could not locate the Torx screws that are on the side of the tail light assembly. Are they hidden behind any type of covering?
No, not hidden. Just had to replace my brake light bulb for the 4th time. Mine torx screws are black in color, so you may need good light to see them. They are pretty flush, so they do not stick out a lot. They are on the edge of the assemble that faces the trunk. Once removed the assembly pivots out. Just make sure to hook in back in/line it up so it is secure. I did not do that all the time.

I ordered some LED bulbs on Ebay since mine keep going out. I believe the key is the grease they talked about. Put some on the bottom of the bulb. I believe that has been one of my problems. Too much heat. Once reason I am going to LED bulbs. Could be other problems though (hope not).

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