VW Beetle: Tail Light Bulb Replacement

April 26 , 2006 161 comments

I love the web! You can find anything!

I got a bit frustrated when my VW Beetle manual said bring to the car to the dealership to have a bulb replaced so that’s how this all started.

I found this: “How to replace your tail light bulb.”
I retyped it because it was in all caps, so it was hard to read. What a great post and added some additional tips! Thanks angelhdz!

Things you will need

  • Gloves or a towel
  • butter knife or a flat screwdriver
  • new tail light bulb (7528 Sylvania)
  • patience

Optional

If you want to further your knowledge on your VW beetle. I bought this book to help guide me along. It has some tips and its a nice reference to have.

Tip#1:

Use gloves, so you do not touch the tail light bulb. Plus its easier to grip the tail light bulb. The grease/oil from your hands, even if you just washed, it will make the bulb burn out faster.

photo of tail light of a beetle photo of the tail light bulb

Let's get started

Remove the cover (it's round) from the inside of your trunk.

Use a butter knife or flat screwdriver to leverage it out. There is a notch on one side so you can slip the butterknife/flat head screwdriver in to pop it out.

When you take that part off, there will be a black knob that needs to be unscrewed totally to release the back light casing.

photo of black knob to twist and remove photo of tail light

Next

Along the rear fenders where the lights are, there are two gaps. The inside gap (nearest hatch back door), is a release tab/clip on the light inside between the gaps.

Insert a butter knife or something slim and pull out the casing (don't be afraid, and it take a little force to pull it out).

And then....

After you pull out the casing, you'll find two light switches (one is for the turn signal, and the other is for your brake light).

photo of tail light wires

Turn the light switch counter clockwise (assuming it's hanging upside down) and remove.

Switch it out

Switch the tail light bulb with new one (Advance Auto Parts: $4.17)

There are little dots on the bottom of the bulb that need to be in the right place. You will notice that one is higher than the other. They need to be in the right slot otherwise you will be cursing yourself when it doesn't rotate.

photo of the inside casing of the tail light

Put it in reverse

Replace everything back as you uninstalled it.

Tip#2:

It is recommended to replace all the tail light bulbs, that way you don't have to do it again later when they go out. It'll save you lots of time... which we never have enough of and you have the extra bulb just sitting there waiting.

Additional Posts about VW Beetle Lights

If you are looking for how to change out your VW Beetle Third Brake Light or replacing your VW Beetle Headlight. Please don't ask me about any additional VW Beetle fix it questions. I only post what I have done. It keeps me out of trouble. I am not a mechanic. Thank you!

Like the tip?

Leave a tip :)

gravatar

Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 01.36 am

Mike Schichtel

Thank You Thank you, I like you was so frustrated when it stated to go to your dealer to replace a bulb.  I searched and searched for someone that could guide me like you did and amazingly I replaced it (using your precise directions) in about 30 seconds, where as if I would have taken it to the dealer it would have been at least 30 Bucks.  Thank you so much for sharing.
Mike

gravatar

Tue Jul 11, 2006 at 01.59 am

Cindy

Glad I could help! This is exactly why I created this. I hate paying for something I can do myself. :)

gravatar

Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 06.01 pm

jami hicks

THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I KNEW IT WON’T BE THAT HARD BUT YOU MADE IT THAT MUCH EASIER AND YES IT WAS EVEN DONE BY A GIRL!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!

gravatar

Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 08.42 pm

LeeAnn

Thank you for posting this! I’m going to try it tonight and hopefully I’ll be able to put it all back together. You are a rock star!

gravatar

Sat Jul 22, 2006 at 02.42 am

Bradley

Thank you very much for sharing such a hidden little fix. Seems VW doesnt want you to know how to replace your own bulbs. I dont think thats very nice. My girlfriend is from Thailand and she took the beattle to a mechanic and he charged her 60 dollars to replace the front head light, doesnt that seem a little eccessive, I think so.
Again, I want to express my appreciation for sharing the bulb replacment information

Sincerley,  Bradley,  Olympia, WA

gravatar

Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 12.58 am

Micheline Goulart

Thank you sooooooo much! It only took about 2 minutes to do it with your instructions, it was incredibly helpful!

gravatar

Thu Aug 10, 2006 at 08.59 pm

Cori

I can’t seem to locate the “release tab/clip on the light inside between the gaps”.  What does it look like?  I actually can’t seem to find anything in between the gaps.  Any suggestions?  My fiance looked too, and he can’t find it either.  :( I thought this would be easy after figuring out how to change the headlight…
Thanks.

gravatar

Thu Aug 10, 2006 at 10.06 pm

Cindy

I realized I never put the full size link to flickr for the replacement. Hope that helps.

gravatar

Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 12.30 am

angela

thank you soo much ... your instructions were very clear..!! and it took with in 10 mins to change both lights!! thankz again

gravatar

Sat Sep 2, 2006 at 07.39 pm

Andrew J Brignoli

I too was upset to see “Bring it to your VW Dealer” in the owners manual of my 2005 Bug.  Looked in vain for a maintenance manual.  Couldn’t find one that referenced anything past a 2000 Bug.

Your instructions were right on the mark.  It took me literally 5 minutes to change the bulb following your instructions.

Thanks.

gravatar

Sun Sep 3, 2006 at 10.33 pm

Elise

Your entry saved my sanity! I just moved to Philadelphia to start law school and came back home for the weekend to relax before classes started. While I was home, I had my car serviced for 85,000 miles. Anyway, this afternoon I was about to get on 95 to head back north and got pulled over. Needless to say I had a freak out because I hate cops and was also on edge about going to law school. After getting a repair order and driving back to my parents’ to collect myself, I went and bought the bulbs to see if I could figure out how to fix it myself. Then a friend of mine googled and found your blog entry. Thanks, I did it in about 5 minutes and impressed my whole neighborhood. GO LADYBUGS!

gravatar

Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 07.01 pm

tami stewart

thanks! I was so surprised when my first attmept went like, “hey , now what? Where’s the bulb?” haha.
Now I am confident I can do this myself~off to Kragens for my new bulbs!

gravatar

Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 09.55 pm

bill watson

Another happy tail light changer! Thanks so much for this info and your pictures - you were an indispensable help! And we will enjoy the $50 savings!

gravatar

Sat Oct 21, 2006 at 05.36 pm

Brad

Worked for me, too. Thanks for the tip! Aren’t Beetles supposed to be user friendly?

gravatar

Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 12.50 am

Peggi

You saved my night!  I’m going to a party tonight and was afraid to get pulled over for my brake light - now I am worry-free. Thank you so much!

gravatar

Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 11.41 pm

tideliar

...and another happy camper. You’re the #1 google hit for this! Thanks for saving me money & more grey hair.

gravatar

Mon Nov 6, 2006 at 01.27 am

lydia

Thanks so much for your help! You saved me 35 dollars

gravatar

Sat Nov 11, 2006 at 05.49 pm

wayne

thanks so much for this info. I’ve been paying to have my brake lights replaced since I’ve purchased my beetle only because the book said it was best. this job took me 10 minutes after reading your how to do it from your site.
thanks so much,
wayne

gravatar

Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 05.23 am

Ken Kelly

I love my 2002 bug, but hate the rip-off prices for service at the VW dealer.

I figure you just saved me $50 with your simple 1-2-3 steps on rear bulb replacement.  It was a piece of cake! 
Many thanks,
Ken Kelly

gravatar

Fri Nov 17, 2006 at 04.42 am

Darryl

Thanks for providing the information about the trick that gets the tail light lens cover off the car. I figured something else was holding the tail light assembly to the car but could not figure out what is was on my own.  Thanks for mentioning the clip at the joint of the body panels.  Every time I work on something simple on that 2000 VW beetle, I break something else because the manual tells you nothing about simple maintenance.  Seems that there is a conspiracy at Volkswagen to continually keep its hands on my wallet.

gravatar

Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 01.56 am

Ducky

Thanks a million!  I am another person that successfuly replaced their brake lights thanks to your tips.

Maybe add a note to the section where you unscrew the knob to be sure not to drop the knob.  I dropped the knob and it took me like 5 mins to try to find it inside the trough of the car. 

Now I can spend the money I saved on dinner with the GF!

gravatar

Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01.11 am

richard bray

Your website has been very helpful.
My brother purchased a VW Beetle convertible in 2006.  Recently the taillight went out.  After numerous attempts and calls to the VW dealer he ask me to go on the net.  Thank you.  The only difference on his is that the round disk to be removed in the trunk is a three inch grill work.

gravatar

Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 04.51 am

Cindy

Thanks for posting that tip. I’m sure someone will find that useful.

gravatar

Fri Dec 1, 2006 at 08.55 am

10VWBobby

Hi Cindi,

You did a great job of explaining the
process. It is becoming harder and harder to access all vehicles for minor maintenance. (What a surprise).
In addition to their hourly rate you get to pay 3 prices for the replace-
ment bulb they install for you! The
owner’s manual doesn’t even list the
specifications for the bulbs used in
the vehicle. Thanks again, Bobby

gravatar

Sun Dec 3, 2006 at 10.58 pm

Chela

Hey thanks so MuCh!>..
But I tried changing the light bulb
and my lights just dont seem to work.
I followed all the instructions…
Any tips?...
Might it be a fuse?..

gravatar

Tue Dec 5, 2006 at 06.09 pm

Cindy

Chela.. I haven’t run into changing a fuse yet. Sorry.

gravatar

Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 08.48 pm

Jeff Norris

Thanks Cindy
I knew that was how I wanted to access the tail light, but I was frustrated by VW’s oweners manuel. I was worried about breaking something that was going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace if I just yanked and pried. Completed the mission in 2 minutes after reading your how-to.
Thanks again
Jeff

gravatar

Thu Dec 14, 2006 at 11.43 pm

Antonio Pachamoro

Thank you very much . My dealership wanted to charge me for 1h labor + parts ( About $ 115.00 ). Now if you could tip me how to change my window regulators ( They only last 3 years , I’ve gotten’em changed each side twice ), they only cost $ 25.00 , but labor is $250.00 + ; there should be a recall on them .....and on the window switches .

gravatar

Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 04.05 am

Cindy Li

Antonio,
I looked it up in the book (that is listed on the optional section of the page) and it has directions on how to remove the door “57-14"and refers to the “window regulators” on section 57-18.
It has pictures of where its located and the directions is to fastened to assembly carrier from the back with bolt.

gravatar

Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 01.05 am

Gary

Thanks, Cindy, for the great info.  We just cracked the tail light cover on our 2002 Beetle.  Any suggestions how to replace that and where to get a new lens cover?  Thanks.

gravatar

Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 03.11 am

Cindy

Use the same steps to undo the light. The lens cover is called a “taillight housing”.
I’m not sure how to remove it from the rest of the backing. I haven’t taken apart that on my car. I’ve only been posting things that I’ve had to do. My best guess is to get a screwdriver and start unscrewing the screws on the back of the taillight.For a replacement:your best bet to get a new part would be the VW parts department. Since its a special part and not a generic part. That’s the price of getting a VW beetle unfortunately.Good luck!

gravatar

Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04.54 am

Mark

I am willing to walk for a mile if I don’t have to pay to park.  You know I wanted this info!
Thanks

gravatar

Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 07.03 pm

Lindsey

Thank you! You saved me $65 that the dealership wanted to charge me! I have a 2005 Beetle and I think I have just about replaced every single light or blinker on that damn car.  I must have a lemon beetle with all the headlight, taillight, blinker lights that I have had to replace!!  Once again thank you!!!

gravatar

Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 12.51 am

Lonnie Bedell

Add another to the thankful chorus. Thanks a million!

Lonnie

gravatar

Fri Jan 26, 2007 at 01.38 am

Brian Warren

Cindy,

You are a sweetheart!  Thank you for posting this information.  Your information was so helpful.

gravatar

Thu Feb 1, 2007 at 08.16 pm

Shawn

I am going to try this on my wife’s 2005 this evening.  The only step I don’t fully understand is “The inside gap (nearest hatch back door), is a release tab/clip on the light inside between the gaps.

Insert a butter knife or something slim and pull out the casing (don’t be afraid, and it take a little force to pull it out).”  Does this mean to simply insert and pry out, or do I need to slide the knife around the light?

gravatar

Thu Feb 1, 2007 at 08.29 pm

Shawn

Sorry, one more thing.  I just realized that the tail light works.  However, once the break peddle is pressed neither the tail light nor the break light work.  Is the tail light buld different from the break light bulb?

gravatar

Thu Feb 1, 2007 at 09.36 pm

Cindy

It is to pop it out.

gravatar

Wed Feb 14, 2007 at 02.27 am

jen

any ideas for a front blinker??? :)

gravatar

Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 02.15 pm

Shawn

OK, the bulb replacement went fine, but I’ve since discovered a “new” problem.  When the headlights are on the break light doesn’t work, and when the headlights are off, it its much dimmer than the other break light.  Does anyone know a solution to this problem, or what might be causing it?

gravatar

Mon Mar 12, 2007 at 08.24 am

maria

I need help with replacing a headlight bulb in my daughter’s 2002 vw beetle, do you have any suggestions??

gravatar

Mon Mar 12, 2007 at 08.35 am

Cindy

Try the other post for headlight replacement

gravatar

Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 01.17 am

Steven

Thanks so much for the posting, I too was relieved that changint the tail light was something I could handle myself. I was becoming frustrated trying to figure it out on my own. Thank you for the helpful information!

gravatar

Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 01.16 pm

Cortney

If only I had found this sight 24 hours ago!  As I write this, my beetle is at a repair shop(the third one I called - the first two wouldn’t do it!) awaiting a new bulb…and costing my at least $40!

gravatar

Mon Mar 26, 2007 at 09.19 pm

Lori

we just replaced the front headlight and now the blinkers arent working.  I cant find a flasher anywhere and the fuses are fine.  Does anyone know a cheap fix because VW dealer is too much!  2001 VW bettle.  Thanks

gravatar

Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 07.46 pm

Tracy

THANK YOU!!! I can’t believe how easy you made this for me! The instructions were so great, including the photos. I would have given up for fear of breaking something and ending up at the dealer with more than just a burnt out bulb!

gravatar

Wed Mar 28, 2007 at 10.53 pm

Mavis

Awesome! Thanks so much. I went to Schucks last night, bought the bulbs and got home before reading that stupid clause in the manual. My boyfriend tried to persuade me just to take it in. But… today I came across this page and I can’t wait to go home and try this tonight! Girl Power!

gravatar

Thu Apr 5, 2007 at 12.53 pm

Shellee

will the volswagen service manual help with a 2003 new beetle too??? Also i was wondering if these instructions were for changing a brake light too???? Is a brake light the smae as a tail light?

gravatar

Thu Apr 5, 2007 at 03.17 pm

Cindy

Sheliee, you will have to check it out on Amazon’s listing. As far as the brake light (the one on the trunk) Third Brake Light

gravatar

Fri Apr 6, 2007 at 05.23 am

Shawn P

One comment to the Beetle taillight change chain stated

“Thu Feb 1, 2007 at 03.29 pm
Shawn
  I just realized that the tail light works.  However, once the break peddle is pressed neither the tail light nor the break light work.  Is the tail light buld different from the break light bulb?

I am having this exact problem.  How can I get in touch with the previous posting individual in the thread to see how this was resolved?

gravatar

Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 02.25 pm

Shawn

Shawn P - My problem turned out to be the socket the bulb plugs into.  Once it was replaced, everything worked fine.  Hope this helps

gravatar

Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 04.14 pm

Lorelei Rivera

I cant seem to find the release switch/clip. What does it look like?

gravatar

Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 04.12 pm

Jim

I had some trouble finding the release tab/clip, but managed to find it after a little struggle.  It is literally under the seam of the two joining sheets.  The shape of that area can be misleading.  On the upper side of the seam, there is an indentation where your butterknife will naturally gravitate into - path of least resistence.  But that is the misleading part.  The clip resides right below that indentation - you have to work the knife against lip protruding from the fender to unlatch it.

gravatar

Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 11.46 pm

Erin

i also had this problem….but it ended up just being a fuse…so check that too if replacing the light bulb doesn’t work :)

gravatar

Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 09.32 pm

Billy

THANKS! 

Like everyone else, I found your link looking for a better answer than “take it to VW”.

gravatar

Sun Apr 29, 2007 at 07.39 pm

Louis-Marie Decoste

Thanks a million. I was going crazy trying to change my headlight bulb. The dealertold me it would take half an hour. I decided not to leave it with him. Your site was a real blessing.
LM

gravatar

Fri May 4, 2007 at 02.58 am

Bob

I am so glad that before I called the dealer I Googled for VW beetle brake light repair and found your sight. The instructions you provided were simple and right on. The idea to change all the bulbs made sense to me so at the parts store I inquired about both the brake light bulb (which also acts as a 2 in one as the tail light bulb-Sylvania 7528)and the turn signal bulb. The only additional comments I would make is that the turn signal bulb turned out to be a different bulb-Sylvania 7506 LL (P21W). One clue that the two bulbs are different is that the Tabs you mention are aligned differently on each of the two bulbs. Thanks for all the work you went through to post your great instructions and photos too.

gravatar

Sat May 5, 2007 at 10.04 pm

phthomas

Excellent article. Slightly different on a ‘99, but helpful nonetheless. There are no indentations around the lenses on this model.

gravatar

Sun May 6, 2007 at 10.28 pm

Jeff

Thank you! I was about to try and force the housing out. I’d found the rear screw and figured it had to be the release, but would have never know about the release tab outside without your site (good thing I Googled it first). Shame on VW for making this relatively simple task into something I have to discover how to do on the web.

gravatar

Fri May 11, 2007 at 10.15 am

Spadge

Hi Cindy

Thanks for your brilliant info - I work as an auto-electrician but had never had to change one of these before so your site saved me much embarrassment! Cost the happy owner £5 & she went off with your url on the back of my business card. Thanks again, Chris

gravatar

Sun May 13, 2007 at 01.12 am

Karl

Hi Cindy. Thanks for the write-up! I’m still having problems locating the release clip. Do you think you could make a note on your flickr photo showing exactly where it is? All I see is an ominous-looking, impenetrable seam…

gravatar

Thu May 17, 2007 at 02.04 pm

JR

Cindy, you are so kick ass for sharing this information.  This saved me 70 bucks.  I wish I could buy you a beer!  Thank you so much for sharing this info and the pictures made it even better!  GREAT JOB

gravatar

Sun May 20, 2007 at 01.56 pm

Kris

Hey Cindy!
Thanks!  I have used your site for help with headlights (damn it was difficult, but would have been IMPOSSIBLE without your help) that each went out within a week of each other, and now the tail lights.  I am going to take your always sage advice and do both brake lights at the rear of the vehicle at the same time.  Thank you very much.  Seems you have earned a pretty good hunk of karma with this!  xoxoxoxo Kris

gravatar

Sun May 27, 2007 at 02.36 am

VICTOR

CINDI,MY SISTER’S CAR IS STUCK IN PARK AND IT HAPPENED WHEN I SWITCH BUSTED TAIL LIGHT BULB.

gravatar

Mon May 28, 2007 at 08.58 pm

Cindy

Victor, there was a recall on the brake light switch. Brake   switch. Plus there was a recall on the Volkswagens. Call your service department.

gravatar

Fri Jun 22, 2007 at 01.50 pm

Debbie Barker

Thanks for the tips - wish I had seen these sooner - I have taken my Beetle in so many times for this!  Has anyone had issues with their signal lights?  I have taken my Beetle in about 5 times for the driver’s side blinkers (fast blink).  Finally, VW managed to fix this after I refused to believe that the bulb was burnt out again!  Now it is happening on the passenger side.  They replaced the bulb, still fast blinking when I picked it up.  The mechanic came out and played with it, got it working.  Low and behold, it’s fast blinking again - arrrggggh!

gravatar

Sun Jul 8, 2007 at 03.59 pm

Nicholas

Got to love your the info need more people like you that are willing to help orthers out.
Nick

gravatar

Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 05.35 pm

Donald

Never owned a foreign car so your instructions were great!  thanks for sharing the information.

gravatar

Fri Jul 20, 2007 at 10.43 pm

Robert Zaleski

my sisters bug is such a pain to work on, thank you for helping me fix the not so simple things.

gravatar

Sun Jul 22, 2007 at 01.41 am

Bob

With regard to tail light, I have read the entire discussion to date, (and after 50 years working on my own cars), the clip location still is not clear. Are you saying that it is accessed from the outside of the car, under the rubber gasket/tail light lens, near the the seam in the body panels?

My first VW, and am slowly learning to “speak VW”

Thanks,

Bob

gravatar

Thu Jul 26, 2007 at 06.33 pm

Laslo

Shawn P - My problem turned out to be the socket the bulb plugs into.  Once it was replaced, everything worked fine.  Hope this helps

and me

gravatar

Thu Jul 26, 2007 at 06.56 pm

Anna

Thank you! I too was frustrated when I found in the good ol’ manual to take it to the dealer! With your help, I just got done replacing my bulb… I was scared I would brake the entire light, but I didn’t… and now I’m ready to replace the other when needed! Please continue giving this much needed info…

gravatar

Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 08.12 pm

Shirley

Thanks for the information on the tail light replacement bulb instructions.

gravatar

Sun Jul 29, 2007 at 10.06 pm

Alma

Replaced the brake light in my 2002 Beetle and used the Sylvania bulb #7528. Instructions were fine except when I attempted to replace the blinker bulb in the same fixture I discovered the 7528 bulb does not fit the blinker.  Has different bayonette pins. 7528’s only replace the brake lights in my VW.

 

gravatar

Fri Aug 17, 2007 at 10.12 am

Gary Myers

Hi, struggled for a bit but once found out where the two holes (gaps) you speak of it was done in seconds. Its not entirely clear where gaps are in your instructions but when looking into the rear of the boot, on either side where the wings join are 3 large screws, if you remove the screw where the panels overlap, then slide a plastic ruler (what i used) inside the gap nearer the number plate it will release the clip.

gravatar

Tue Sep 11, 2007 at 11.56 pm

Bev

After looking at your directions, I instantly was able to replace both of my brake light bulbs by myself with only a flat head screw driver.  I have had to replace all the bulbs on the front of the car, just a little advice if it is extremely hard to do or is difficult to figure out then you are going at it all work, simplicity is the key, after I stopped trying so hard and over thinking, I was able to finish the job, thanks for all your help!

gravatar

Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12.12 am

BEV

I broke my window button, any suggestions on how to tackle this job?  I can’t roll my passenger side window down without leaning over the seat to hit the switch?  I love my bug and can’t handle the broken switch, I feel like it has a boo boo and needs attention? Please advise?
By the way thanks again for the “lamens terms directions”.

gravatar

Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 12.45 am

Cindy

Bev, Sorry I’ve never done that before so I can’t help.

gravatar

Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 12.43 am

Mickey

I think what some are asking; “How do I KNOW where to slide the butter knife.” 
From the outside there are no obvious indentations to put the knife in.  When you look at the light on the car you will see a seam in the fender next to the light, towards the trunk.  Slide the knife in between the light and the rubber gasket right at the seam.  I slide it between and after a wiggle, the knife pushed down the metal tab holding the window in. (there are two actually, one below this one). -On the very other side of the light there are stationary clips.  Once one is out the other clip will come out too with a little more wiggling.  I hope this helps.

Mickey

gravatar

Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 10.42 pm

patti

I think it’s important to note that the release tab/clip is accessed from the OUTSIDE of the car. The butter knife, or a very thin screwdriver, should be inserted gently at the body seam nearest to the center of the car. After locating the seam, it takes less than two minutes to switch out the bulb(s). Thanks for your help; you saved us a long trip to the VW dealership in addition to saving us $$!

gravatar

Mon Oct 1, 2007 at 02.44 am

Charles West

I have tried to get the little door in the console that has the 12 volt socket in it to stay closed.  It stopped locking closed and I haven’t got a clue.

This is the socket located on the rear of the console.

gravatar

Mon Oct 8, 2007 at 12.02 am

Julie

On Thu Feb 1, 2007 at 03.29 pm
Shawn wrote:

Sorry, one more thing.  I just realized that the tail light works.  However, once the break peddle is pressed neither the tail light nor the break light work.  Is the tail light buld different from the break light bulb?

Shawn,
Dunno if you’ll get this, and it’s long past February, but here goes:

What you are describing is exactly what my lights were doing prior to my replacing the brake light bulb. It appeared fine (both elements intact) when I removed it, however, replacing it with a brand new bulb as directed, fixed the whole problem. Be sure you’re replacing the brake lamp, and not the turn signal lamp. Hope this helps… you or anyone else.

gravatar

Tue Oct 9, 2007 at 03.29 am

Bob Griffith

Nicely done!  One hates to force (and break) stuff.  I was amazed that the several hundred page owner’s manual set didn’t cover this.

gravatar

Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 03.33 am

Sally

Cindy,
Thank you. Our story is much the same as many that preceed us. We would never have known how to accomplish this without your instructions. Shame on VW.
Sally

gravatar

Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 12.29 am

Jennifer

Thank you soooo much for posting this info. I wish I had something like this when I tackled the tedious task of replacing my headlight bulb. These instructions saved me a ton of time and frustration! You rock!

gravatar

Wed Oct 24, 2007 at 07.13 pm

jay

Hi everyone, im here in the u.s. visiting a friend who has a 99 bug and had to replace her stop tail light bulb for her and found your site.back home in the u.k a manual is available which shows you everything you need to know about keeping your bug well loved and cared for. its by a company called haynes and can be found at the following link..http://www.haynes.co.uk just follow the car maintenance section until you come to vw then just pick beetle. you can even buy it on-line. good luck bug lovers and btw i love your country. jay.p a visiting bulb changer !

gravatar

Sun Oct 28, 2007 at 04.21 am

Ken

The directions did the trick.  Looking at all of the comments I can only imagine how much money you have saved us all.

gravatar

Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 05.00 pm

Steve B

I have the same problem as Debbie Barker.  I’ve brought my 2005 Beetle in about 5 times for a fast blinking blinker.  They repari it and within a few weeks its out again.

Anyone have a solution?

gravatar

Tue Oct 30, 2007 at 02.10 am

Andrea

Hi Cindy:

I write from La Paz, Bolivia, South America. Yesterday I got to work on changing my Beetle’s tail light using your instructions for changing the light bulb, the result…perfect!!! Thank you for spreading the word!
Andy

gravatar

Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09.15 am

LS450SUZ

I AM TRYING TO CHANGE ALL MY LIGHT BULBS ON MY 2000 VW BETTLE TO LED AND BLUE LIGHTS I GOT FRONT LOW AND HIGH BEAMS ALREADY AND REAR ONES ALSO BUT I ORDER SOME FORM EBAY FOR LIC- PLATE -SIDE MARKERS UNDER OUTSIDE MIRRORS AND INSIDE DOOR PANEL WELL THIER NOT THE RIGHT SIZE AND I THINK THE ONES ON THE LIC PLATE R SHAPE DIFFRENT THAN THE ONES THEY SEND ME DO U KNOW WHAT THE NUMBER TO THOSE R

gravatar

Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09.45 pm

David

To Steve B.- Usually the blinker is fast due to burned out bulb (changes the resistance in the circuit and is designed to alert you to burned out bulb). You need to see if a turn light is burned out and if so replace it. If it burns out again you need to find out why. Like the instructions say- use a clean cloth to handle bulbs- do not use bare hands. Could be water getting to bulb causing it to burn out prematurely and then the blinker runs double time.

gravatar

Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09.59 pm

Doug

Thanks Cindy, you have done a great service to all of us Beetle owners. I am sure ther service departments at the local VW dealers arent to happy but what a rip off for something that is so easy. Thanks again

gravatar

Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 11.02 pm

Cindy

LS450SUZ,
I haven’t had any experience with them. I’ve posted only directions that I have done.

gravatar

Sun Dec 2, 2007 at 04.42 am

raidersdiehard

Cindy, thank you for creating this DIY. I had to change my wife’s passenger side brake light on her ‘02 Beetle and w/ the help of this site and another it was a breeze. The reason I needed another site was because the description and lack of photo of where to insert the butterknife to release the tab was a little frustrating. The tab is of course under the rubber molding (from the outside of the car) right about where the seam of the bumper and the rest of the car are. Make sure that your inserting the knife closest to the seam by the license plate in both left and right instances.

gravatar

Mon Dec 31, 2007 at 07.36 pm

scott

thank you, very good instructions,took about 5 min. total.

gravatar

Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 10.12 pm

Sri

great ! thanks

gravatar

Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 06.46 pm

Rebecca

Hey, thanks for the info.  Do you or anyone else know if the procedure is the same for a blinker.  My left turn blinker is going so rapid, but it still works.  Thanks…

gravatar

Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 12.35 am

GUY INFIELD

I REPLACED MY HEAD LIGHT TODAY.  THE WEGB SAID PUSH IN LIGHTLY ON THE LEVER AND FORCE UP TO RELEASE TJHE HEAD LIGHT ASSEMBLY.  I DID IT IT BROKE OFF IN MY HAND.  THE ASSEMBLY IS 250.00 DOLLARS - IT APPEARS TO ME THAT THE LEVER FUNCTION IS A PART ON IT’S OWN,.

CAN IT BE ORDERED OR THE BUNGEY CORD HOLDING IT IN WILL HAVE TO STAY.

THANK YOU,
GUY

gravatar

Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02.57 am

Antoniio Lopez

Cindy can you please help on how change a head bulb on 2006 VW beetle

gravatar

Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03.20 am

Freeman

You make my day!

gravatar

Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 12.40 am

Eric

Great stuff - happy to donate for info like this!!!

gravatar

Tue May 20, 2008 at 07.08 pm

thom m

Thank you! It worked perfectly and saved me the hassle and $$$. The best advice was to apply a bit of force to the housing. I really didn’t think it was going to come out. After that the whole procedure took about four minutes! Thanks!!!!

gravatar

Mon May 26, 2008 at 09.26 pm

adam

Wow, that was easier than I expected.  To think I drove around with only one brake light for a whole month.  Thank You!

gravatar

Wed May 28, 2008 at 03.03 pm

Sharonr1

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
I was supposed to take my daughter to take her driver’s test this afternoon and the bulb went out on the way to work.  The dealer couldn’t fit me in until this afternoon, but since I found your site and easy instructions, I was able to get it replaced.  One bulb $2.11 at O’Reillys.  I needed to find a flashlight because the 05 convertible had no light inside.

Now we just have to hope she passes. :)

gravatar

Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 07.13 pm

Sheena

You are amazing. I’m a girl who likes to do it herself and this was a lifesaver. Thank you so much!

gravatar

Sat Jun 21, 2008 at 02.40 am

Sam

These are some great articles! I work part time at Advance Auto Parts and had a customer come in needing a bulb. I sold her the bulb and proceeded to try and put it in. I gave up after a few minutes because I didn’t want to break anything. If I had seen this site earlier, I could have had it done in a few minutes. I just wanted to add that you should always put a little dielectric grease (also sold as “bulb” grease) in the socket when you change a bulb. It keeps the moisture and contaminants out, so the bulb will last longer. Great site and thanks! BTW, it’s Advance Auto Parts, not Advanced. Just a little pet-peeve of mine.

gravatar

Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 06.08 pm

Gary R

Thanks so much - it worked just as you said.  I have to drive 40 miles to the nearest vw dealer and then pay the $98 an hour service fees, so you did real good.

gravatar

Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 06.28 pm

Nancy Burks

I really have a question. A friend of mine accidently broke off a key in my 2003 Volkswagen Beetle and I have been trying to find a way to get it out without having to have it towed to the dealership. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks

gravatar

Fri Jul 11, 2008 at 02.43 pm

glen everhart

great help. it worked just like you explained.  I spent two bucks on the standard Sylvania 1157 bulbs and it took 5 min to replace on my daughters 2002 Beetle.

gravatar

Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 05.35 pm

Tammy

Thank you sooooooooo Much, I hate spending money when its so easy to do yourself…..with a little guidence of course! Thanks a million!

gravatar

Thu Jul 17, 2008 at 07.56 pm

Jillian

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! This guide was SO easy to follow and only took me about 10 minutes to do both lights! This was the only thing holding me back from passing my safety inspection and I was not about to pay someone 30-60 bucks for that!! :-D

gravatar

Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03.33 am

Yadira

You have save me so much money and time.  As a mother I’m usually always on the run thanks to uyou I was able to do it in less than 10 minuts.

gravatar

Fri Aug 1, 2008 at 10.56 pm

Mike

Thank you…while the problem was not my bulbs, it was the break light switch…i changed it my self for $3.89. Next project…my headlights. I have been driving with high beams for 8 months!

gravatar

Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 05.30 pm

jenifer G

I can not locate the release tab/clip on the light inside between the gaps.

gravatar

Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 03.50 pm

Gary E

Cindy you are an angel, thank you!

gravatar

Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03.47 pm

Joe

Wow.  I just changed my tail light and it works!  I couldn’t have done it without all of you.  Finding the clip is the trick.  You stand outside the car looking at the tail light assembly.  I was looking in the trunk, wheel well, under the car etc.  Work a knife under the outside of the rubber gasket that surrounds the light assembly right at the metal seam in the body metal.  If you look real closely in between the gasket and the car body you will see a small piece of silver metal.  that is the famous clip. Work the knife between the clip and the car body and the clip will snap away from the car body and the light assembly will pop out.

gravatar

Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 09.48 pm

Larry J Trickel

Thanks.  I never would have figured this out without your help.  It definitely isn’t on the VW website.  You saved us about $30.00.

Sincerely,  Larry

gravatar

Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 02.06 am

Pablo

Life saver…  many thanks :o)

gravatar

Sat Oct 18, 2008 at 09.06 pm

Lisa

Has anyone ever replaced the lights that are next to the rear license plate? If so, can you share directions?

Thanks so much!

Lisa

gravatar

Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 05.57 pm

Hernan

Thanks. simple, effective and useful.
These VW Beetles are pretty hard to work on because they traded off practicality for cuteness… I would have spent a long time and broken the optics if it weren’t for your advise.
H

gravatar

Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 08.58 pm

dav1512

I now see the gaps you’re referring to.
not on the inside of the trunk but the gaps (spaces) where the bumper meets the fender…Got it!

I also found out that prying with the butter knife or equivalent wrapped in healthy dosages of masking tape prevents from scratching. Also, the 7o’clock position allows one to pry gently and effectively.
Be careful you don’t crush the Styrofoam when you pull the housing assembly out.

gravatar

Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 09.18 pm

donsmitty

Cindi, thankyou,however you saved me so much time that I had enough time watch the lions game today.darn!

gravatar

Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 10.49 am

Margaret

Cindy,
when i unscrew the black knob in the trunk I can’t get it to release what it is attached to, any suggestions????

gravatar

Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 07.47 pm

Nancy

Cindy,

You are awesome.  Thank you very much for posting this, I refuse to go to the dealer unless I have to!

I wish the beetles wouldn’t be so complicated, but you made this easy.

Cannot thank you enough!

gravatar

Fri Nov 28, 2008 at 09.05 pm

Janie

My son inlaw and husband both tried to replace my brake light bulb and neither could do it. I decided to look on line instead of in that confusing owners manual and found this web site. While my husband was taking a NAP I went outside and replaced both brake light bulbs, I am so proud of myself. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

gravatar

Mon Dec 15, 2008 at 10.46 pm

ariandra

thank you so much for posting this information!!!!  it’s people like you that make life a little easier to deal!!!!

gravatar

Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02.57 am

Michelle

And the service department was going to charge me $100.00 for THAT?!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  That was easy…hmmm…let’s see what I can do with this radiator thing… ;)

gravatar

Sat Mar 28, 2009 at 05.28 pm

Richard

A friend was having trouble replacing the license plate bulb on his daughters 99 bug. He said the manual told him to take it to the dealer and i thought that was crazy. I could not find anything on the internet, so i told him to bring it to me. To remove the lens, what looks like a slot at the top of the lens is actually a tab. Take a small flat screw driver or a butter knife and pry down on tab. The tab is against the opening at the top of the lens. Place knife or driver between tab and body and pry down. It made it easier to pry the tab down and grab the tab with needle nose or small pliers and pull out. Its pretty snug. When you put it back in, put the lens in bottom first. There are two nubs or tits that fit back in two small holes at bottom of opening. Once they are in push the top in until the tab clicks. Hope this helps. Volkswagon could have at least put simple instructions in the owners manual!

gravatar

Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 11.23 pm

Lena

This is great info. I’m only sorry I didn’t do my research before hand. I just shelled out $72.00 to have both rear signal lights changed at the dealer.

gravatar

Thu May 21, 2009 at 07.34 pm

jackie

hey that was great but what about teh front lights for a 2006 vw beetle i hear 2006 is way differnt

gravatar

Mon Jun 1, 2009 at 12.42 am

Donna

You just made my life so much easier.  Thanks!!

gravatar

Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 03.40 pm

Debbie

The VW decal on the wheel cover are falling off my daughters car.  Where can we get replacements? Just the decal not the entire wheel cover.

gravatar

Sun Jul 19, 2009 at 12.47 am

Joan

I just found your listing when I was searching for info to replace a back-up light on my VW Beetle.  Do you have any instructions for that?

gravatar

Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06.39 pm

Kristy Wentz

I did it!! I replaced my daughters brake light on her VW bug….and they told me to take it to the dealer!!!
Thanks for the info!!!

gravatar

Sun Nov 22, 2009 at 12.36 am

Scott

Thanks! My sister-in-law had a blown tail-light bulb and asked if I could handle it. I THOUGHT it wouldn’t be a problem. After a few minutes I finally swallowed my pride and consulted the owner’s manual, which got me nowhere. I searched google and found you. Took about five minutes and saved $60. Thank you so much!

gravatar

Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09.48 pm

Lew

98 tdi beetle. tail lights problem
both tail lights are out (  the upper red ). I checked the single filament bulbs and they are ok , they blink both left and right. The lower 2 filament amber lens bulbs are ok and do show running and stopping. My license plate lights are out also. I cheched the license plate fuse and checked the license plate/ tail lights fuse. both ok Help!

gravatar

Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 10.21 pm

Cindy

Lew,
Unfortunately I no longer have the beetle. I am not a mechanic.I would suggest finding a vw beetle forum online to ask. Good luck.

gravatar

Mon Mar 1, 2010 at 10.22 pm

noelle

I used your help on how to replace my front headlight and now i need to replace my tail light.. thank you so much for all your help. you have saved me two trips to the dealer an hour away!

gravatar

Sat Apr 3, 2010 at 10.23 pm

Markus

The clips on my girlfriend’s 2006 were in slightly different location.  the first one was about an inch below (counter-clocwise) the seam and the second was another three or four inches below the first one.

image

image

I used a butter knife and slipped it between the rubber trim and the paint.  I pried the lense up slightly with the knife and then used my fingers to pull up a little more exposing the metalic clips.  Once you can see the clips, you just press inward on them with the butter knife while continuing to pull outward on the lense.

gravatar

Wed May 12, 2010 at 01.48 am

Tim

Thanks, Cindi!  I couldn’t believe it when the guy at Autozone said VW didn’t seem to want customers replacing anything!  Saved me a bunch!

gravatar

Tue May 25, 2010 at 02.23 am

Stan

Thanks for your listing.  I used it today to remove the rear tail light and replace the bulb.  Of course, that was after I took the interior panel loose to discover I couldn’t access the light.  :-)

Live and learn….and then ask someone who has the experience you need.

gravatar

Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 12.01 am

Ari

Thanks a million!!!! I could just hug you :) I got pulled over today for having my break lights out. I was so relieved to discover your site and NOT have to pay the dealer 60 bucks to do it!

gravatar

Mon Aug 2, 2010 at 04.22 am

Sam

Cindy,
Thank you sooo much for this info…  My wife thanks you.. I can’t wait to tackle this tomorrow.  I’m wondering what you are driving instead   (-;

gravatar

Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 06.31 pm

Jacqueline

Thanks! I just used this tip to fix the blinker light on my 2005 Beetle. I was so afraid I was going to break something, but I just slowly slid the butter knife all along the edge and pried the light out enough to find the little release tabs. I have got it back together as well.
The LIGHT number for the BLINKER light is 7506 and I got 2 of them for $4.50 at O’Reilly auto parts.

gravatar

Sun Aug 29, 2010 at 03.49 pm

Mimie

My boyfriend volunteered to swap out my broken brake light. After much frustration, he came into the house and decided to look on the internet for some help….Low and behold he found your instructions….Thanks you so much for saving us $80.00. You Rock girlfriend…..Mim

gravatar

Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 02.07 am

Matt

Hey thanks,

I am a visual learner so your pictures really helped.

gravatar

Thu Dec 23, 2010 at 02.27 am

John

Thanks so much for posting this. It took me less than 5 minutes to change both tail light bulbs on my daughters 2000 Beetle.

gravatar

Fri Feb 4, 2011 at 01.10 am

Ricky Johnson

Was very helpful and just like you said. Thank you

gravatar

Fri Feb 4, 2011 at 06.19 am

HeadFX

It would help if you let everyone know that the gap is NOT visible from the outside and that the butter knife is to be inserted between the housing and the rubber gasket at the edge of the rear bumper line. I got that info from another website. That got the job done. Your instructions left me hanging.

gravatar

Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02.10 am

Brittany

Thank you! I even got changed in the dark, lol

gravatar

Fri Mar 4, 2011 at 03.00 am

Tom Wright

Exactly.  Took about 5 minutes.  Great information.  Thank you very much.  Saved me about $35, I figure.

gravatar

Sun May 1, 2011 at 09.47 pm

Thomas Meadows

Your advice worked like a charm.  I’ll never buy another VW.  Thanks.
May 1, 2011

gravatar

Sun May 8, 2011 at 03.22 pm

Alie

thank you!

gravatar

Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 01.58 am

Eric Montas

Thank you! Your site came up on a Google search, and I just spent 5 minutes and $6 to replace my driver-side brake light, instead of the $48 per hour for labor at the dealership. You rock! :)

gravatar

Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 07.12 pm

john

thank you so much! this is the most frustrating car i have ever had to work on, but my wife loves it. couldn’t find info in haynes manual.thanks again!

gravatar

Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 03.57 pm

Kayleigh

I recently had my third brake light go out and my reg. brake light, your website is a MIRACLE. I have a 03 beetle and it has been a pain in the butt to replace the bulbs since they are constantly burning out.
I am a girl and don’t have anyone to really help with this and you are a LIFE SAVER!

Thanks for making this!

gravatar

Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 06.32 pm

YUHAN

Hi Cindy,

I was wondering if anyone here is having the same problem… I have a 2005 red bug and lately my rear turn signal would stop working for no reason. I know my rear turn signal is broken cuz the front turn signal blinks extra fast. So I’d open it up and both light bulbs are good. so I put them back and my turn signal works again. The light bulb itself is not broken everytime it stops blinking. And I’d take it out and put it back in and it’d work again. I have been doing this 3 times for the past week and was wondering what part is broken that is causing this… Does anyone know? Please help~

gravatar

Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04.33 pm

Gail

Thanks for the post! I accidentally tried to replace the turn signal; then realized the bulb was wrong, and then tried the other light bulb. Then it worked like a charm!

gravatar

Fri Oct 28, 2011 at 06.46 pm

SHARON

For everyone having problems with the fast blinking signal soon after replacing the bulb.  And you check the bulb and its fine, then a couple days later to starts again, I have the solution.  A friendly guy at the autoparts store handed me a package of something called Bulb Grease.  This magic substance smeared on the bulb connection has fixed the problem.  I haven’t had to change that particular bulb since and it has been a year.

gravatar

Tue Nov 1, 2011 at 06.26 pm

NaTHpa

Nice one! i had one in the garage today and got uber frustrated! I couldnt work out how it was done (made harder by the customer staring at me!) Thanks for the help C x

gravatar

Sat Dec 3, 2011 at 12.00 am

Bruce

Thanks very, very much!! There is no VW dealer on the Big Island, and VW shops charge HUGE prices for everything VW, so replacing the light bulb, thanks to your website, instructions, and pix was a huge help. Mahalo Nui Loa (Thanks Very Much) Bruce

Leave a comment






Only these elements are allowed in submitted comments:

  • <a href="http://www.mysite.com/">my site</a>
  • <img src="http://www.mysite.com/myimage" alt="image" />
  • <blockquote><p>quote</p></blockquote>
  • <em>my emphasized text</em>
  • <strong>my bold text</strong>
  • <code>my code</code>

Allow 5 minutes between posts.

* = Required fields

About

Constantly, trying to learn new things, and on the way I get to meet some amazing people with my camera by my side. XOXO!

on Flickr