How To Replace The Taillight On The Hatch Door

Broken taillights can get you a traffic ticket. If you find that the taillight is broken on the hatch door of your car, you'll want to get it replaced as soon as possible. Fortunately, this is a job that most car owners can do by themselves in less than an hour. If you notice the taillight on the hatch door is broken on your car, here is how you can replace it.

Remove Top and Side Panels

You need to remove the four panels on the inside of the hatch door to gain access to the nuts you need to remove to take the taillight off of the car. Lift the hatch up and grab the small panel at the top of the door. Pull on the panel to get it to release from the clips holding it in place while rolling the panel downward. Now pull out the two side panels. You want to grab the side panels up by the window and roll the panels outward to unclip them.

Remove Bottom Panel

The bottom panel is the largest panel and is a little harder to remove. You first want to pry the cover off of the strap on the door. The strap is there for you to use to pull the hatch door down when you want to close it. You can pry the cover off with a flathead screwdriver. There's a 10mm bolt under the cover holding the strap to the door. Remove the bolt with a socket and ratchet and take off the strap. There is also a small cover to gain access to the locking mechanism for the door that you have to remove. The cover pulls right off of the door.

Pull down on the bottom edge of the bottom panel to release it from its clips and then go around the perimeter of the panel to release it from the other clips. You need to push the panel up a little bit to get over a couple of plastic tabs on the bottom edge of the panel and then pull on it to remove it.

Remove Taillight

Disconnect the electrical cord going to the taillight. The cord is held together by a plastic clip. Squeeze in the tabs on the clip while you pull the connection apart. You will see four 10mm bolts holding the taillight to the hatch door. Remove the nuts to the bolts. The taillight will come right out. If the bulbs are still good, you should remove them by twisting counterclockwise on the light bulb fitting and then pulling the bulb out of the taillight.

Install New Taillight

Place the new bulbs into the new taillight and bolt the taillight to the hatch door. Reconnect the electrical cord and replace the panels. You should test the brakes and lights to make sure the bulbs light up in the taillight before you finish the job. 

If you don't know where to buy taillights or where to find the right taillight, contact a local auto parts store near you.