How to Replace BMW Tail Lights

With a few simple tools and the right parts, you can replace BMW tail lights yourself.
Written by Megan Lebron
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Mar 30, 2022
If you’ve got a broken or malfunctioning tail light on your BMW, you usually won’t have to file an insurance claim. BMW tail lights average between $26-$150 and you can easily replace them yourself.
A broken tail light isn’t just an inconvenience—it could also lead to an accident if drivers can’t see your car (or a ticket if you don’t get it fixed quickly). Regardless of what model BMW you drive, knowing how to replace a broken tail light can save you money and hassle down the road.
That’s why the top-rated
car insurance
comparison app
Jerry
put together this guide on how to replace the tail lights on your BMW. We’ll take you through the replacement process, potential costs, and tips for lowering your
BMW insurance costs
.
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How to replace a BMW tail light

Cost: $26 to $150 
Time: 30 minutes
Tools needed: Phillips head screwdriver, replacement parts
Difficulty: Easy
If you were recently in an accident or you backed into something, you probably already know why your tail light isn’t working. But if your light suddenly stops working with no visible damage, you might have to do some troubleshooting to figure out the problem.
Depending on the specific issue, you may only have to replace the tail light bulbs, or you might be looking at a more extensive wiring issue. 
If only one tail light is out and the brake light still works, that’s probably just a burnt-out bulb. But if both tail lights are out or your brake lights are affected as well, there’s probably a blown fuse or faulty wiring.
Always check your owner’s manual before ordering replacement parts. It should list the specific bulbs you need or even the part number for a replacement tail light. The types of parts needed will depend on the model of BMW you have, as well as the model year and trim level.
The basic process for replacing a tail light on a BMW is the same regardless of what model you have. Here are the steps tailored to a
BMW X3
(but the process should work for most models): 
  • Disconnect the battery first. Any time you work with wires it’s a good idea to disconnect from all power sources.
  • Access the tail light assembly. You’ll need to pop the trunk open to get to the tail light housing assembly.
  • Remove the assembly. Use your screwdriver to wedge between the body and cover and pop the cover off. Remove the nuts and free the tail light from the body. There should be some connectors to remove as well. 
At this point, if you need to replace the whole tail light assembly, you’d just connect the new part to the connectors and reinstall it following the above steps in reverse order. 
If you just have to replace the bulbs, continue with these steps:
  • Remove bulb fasteners from the tail light and take out the burnt-out bulbs. The top bulb is the turn signal and the bottom bulb is the brake/tail light.
  • Install the new bulbs and reinstall the tail light assembly.
Key Takeaway As long as you order the correct replacement parts, you can easily change your BMW tail lights yourself.  

Commons reasons for BMW tail light malfunctions

If you’re dealing with a smashed tail light, then it’s probably pretty obvious why it’s no longer working. But if the only reason you know your tail light isn’t working is that a law enforcement officer told you while writing a ticket, you might be dealing with one of these issues:
  • Burnt-out bulb: If only one light is out and your brake lights are still working, it’s probably just because one bulb is dead.
  • Blown fuse or faulty wiring: Chances are if both tail lights stop working, or your brake lights are affected, you’re dealing with a blown fuse or bad wiring.
  • Damaged bulb socket: Sometimes moisture can creep into your tail light housing and corrode the bulb sockets. This will keep your tail lights from working properly.
  • Damaged control switch: If you replace the tail light bulbs and things still aren’t working, you might have a control switch issue.

Does car insurance cover broken tail lights? 

Depending on your level of car insurance coverage and what caused the broken tail light in the first place, your insurance might cover the cost of repairs. But, it might actually be cheaper to skip the insurance claim.
If your tail light was damaged in an accident with another vehicle, you’d need
collision coverage
to pay for repairs. If your tail light was broken as a result of vandalism or a natural disaster, then you’d need
comprehensive coverage
to get a payout. 
But here’s the thing to remember about car insurance: you have to
pay your deductible
before insurance starts footing the bill. For extensive repair costs, filing a claim is definitely the smart choice. But for something as cheap as a broken tail light, a claim may not be worth it.
The highest amount you’d probably pay to replace a broken BMW tail light is $150, while the average car insurance deductible is $500. And there’s always a potential that filing a claim will
cause your insurance rates to go up
By doing the
car repair
yourself, you’re saving a lot of money in the long run.

How to find affordable BMW insurance

On average, BMW drivers pay nearly $2,225 a year in car insurance. Luckily for you, it’s possible to drive a luxury vehicle without a luxury price tag on your insurance premiums: all you need to do is download
Jerry
, the
trusted insurance comparison tool
.
Just enter a few pieces of information, and in as little as 45 seconds you’ll have access to personalized quotes from the nation’s top insurance providers. Once you find the best coverage at a price that fits your budget, Jerry will walk you through every step of the process to get your new policy set up and your old one canceled. 
And just in case you’re curious about how much money you can save, the average Jerry customer shaves over $800 off their insurance premiums a year. 
“Insurance companies originally charged me $189 while driving my BMW 300 miles per year. Thanks to
Jerry
, I only pay $56! I’m so happy.”  —Ray T. 
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