Easy Advice is an online writer from the U.K. with over six years of experience writing automotive DIY content.
When Your Tail-Light Stops Working
You may be the sort of practical person who regularly checks their lights before setting off on a journey. If you don't spend so much time checking your car, you may wonder why people are flashing their lights at you everywhere you travel. It might be that your daring driving style has upset them, but, occasionally, they will be flashing to let you know your lights are not working.
Changing a tail-light bulb is a simple, if slightly confusing task. Even for the non-mechanically minded, it is quite straightforward to do. Your first job is to switch your lights on and check round the car to see if any are not working. In this case, it is the tail-light.
Buy a New Bulb
You might think the first thing to do is to go and buy a new bulb. That is what I did. I went to my local car part shop and asked for a bulb for my Toyota Auris. A knowledgeable guy gave me a bulb and I paid for it. Now I am ready to do the job.
Find the Light Access Point
Remove all the garbage that you carry around in the boot. After half an hour of solid work you should have a clear space to work in. There are two access points—one either side—on the wall of the boot. Undo the fairly obvious clips and the cover can be removed.
The Tail-Light Puzzle
It is really difficult to see anything without climbing into the boot. In addition it is dark inside the hatch. And finally—even when you can see—nothing is obvious. Which bit goes where? What do you unscrew? Use a torch to have a look and familiarise yourself with the position of wires and retainers.
Lights in Close-Up
Using a camera is a good way to get a decent view of the assembly. You can point the camera to the exact place and the flashlight will illuminate the area. As you can see from the photo it is STILL hard to see what goes where.
What I discovered is that the red section and the grey section are separate—so you determine which one to remove depending on the bulb position. For the tail-light it is the grey section.
Removing the Assembly
It is virtually impossible to get a picture of this. The assembly is held in with a single plastic bendable clip to the right hand end. The bit furthest away from the red section. The only way to find this is to feel for it. Gently touch the bulb enclosure until you find the plastic retainer and bend it slightly. Bend it and pull the assembly out. Eventually, the whole grey section should release. Be careful not to damage or disturb any wires too much.
Note: There are NO screws to remove and no wires to take off. Simply click and pull out.
Check the Bulb
The bulbs are bayonet fitting. Undo as you would a normal house light bulb. At this point I compared the damaged bulb with the nice new one I had purchased. They were completely different!
The sensible thing to do is to remove the old bulb and take it with you when you buy the new one, That way you can make sure they are the same.
Back to the Shop
I bought a new set of bulbs from a different store. Comparing the old bulb helped a lot and it was a simple and cheap transaction. Now, I am going to fix that tail-light!
Fit the New Bulb
Put the correct bulb into its bayonet fitting. Fiddle around randomly attempting to get the whole unit back into where it came from. This is like putting a puzzle piece back into position. Be gentle and patient and it will eventually find the right place and ciick back in.
Replace the boot cover and go check the lights are working. Job done!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Emo on June 30, 2020:
Thanks a lot! Nice article. Regards
FoXTroTT on March 20, 2018:
Thanks a lot! Nice guide!
PKK on February 12, 2018:
Not to hover, but by reading the instruction manual in advance I switched the tail light bulb on my Auris in less than 5 minutes ...!
Sue on December 29, 2017:
Thank you, as you did we bought a bulb from the local car parts shop and they gave us the same one. Just read this and it has really helped and given us a laugh so thanks :-)
Andrej on March 11, 2017:
Thanks for this step by step instruction it Helped me a lot!
mac on November 17, 2016:
Thanks, this also goes for the 2009 auris, had a look in the handbook but that was written for an model with counter clockwise detachable bulb holders..
Carlo Schots on June 21, 2016:
for the 2011 Auris: locate the brake light bulb under the orange bulb pointing upwards. It has not a bayonet fitting but is of the plug-in type. Just turn the bulb holder counter clock wise and pull the holder+bulb out. It might be necessery to unclamp the wiring squeezer.
azza on February 06, 2016:
thanks! very helpfull