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Ford Explorer Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out rear turn signal or reverse bulb in the tail lights of a 5th generation 2011 to 2015 Ford Explorer.

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2014 Explorer Tail Light
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Open Cargo Tail Gate
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Pry Out Plastic Screw Cover

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Ford Explorer SUV in changing a burnt out rear turn signal or reverse bulb in the tail light housings.

Owners of other Ford or Lincoln SUV, crossover or hatchback vehicles with similar tail light assemblies such as the Escape, Edge, Flex, Expedition, Focus, C-MAX, MKC, MKX, MKT and Navigator may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

Replacement bulbs with their part numbers are as follows: Rear Turn Signal # WY21W (also 7440NA or 7440A) and Reverse Light # W21W or 7440.

The tools needed to remove the housing and replace the bulbs include a small flathead screwdriver, an 8mm socket, an extension bar and a ratcheting wrench.

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Pry Off Lower Screw Cover
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2 Screw Covers Removed
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8mm Screw
The first two steps are to open the tail gate and then move to the side of the SUV with the burnt out tail light bulb.

Use a small flathead screwdriver to gently pop out the two round plastic screw covers located on the inner edge of the tail light housing.

Set the two screw covers aside in a safe place.

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Loosen Lower 8mm Screw
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2 Screws & 2 Covers
Loosen the two screws by turning them counterclockwise with the 8mm socket attached to a short extension bar and a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

Set the two screws aside with the plastic covers.

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Pull Off Tail Light Housing
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Peg & Grommet
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Turn Signal Bulb Socket
The tail light is still held in place to the SUV by two friction fasteners which are a slot attached to the top of a pop rivet and a metal peg or "spike" inserted in to a plastic grommet

Carefully pull the tail light assembly straight off the rear of the vehicle.

If you have trouble removing the tail light, try gently wiggling it back and forth while pulling.

If you still can't remove the tail light, use a plastic automotive panel removal tool or a screwdriver covered with a micro fiber cloth to pry it off at the outer edge.

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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Remove Bulb Socket
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Old # WY21W Bulb
The Turn Signal light bulb socket is located near the bottom of the housing.

Rotate the socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out.

Pull the old turn signal bulb straight out of the socket.



 

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Push In New Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise
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Reverse Bulb Socket
Push a new amber colored # WY21W bulb straight in to the socket.

(You should also be able to use the 7440NA or 7440A bulbs.)

I recommend buying the Sylvania 7440A LL long life light bulbs since they tend to last for many years.

Re-insert the socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Pull Out Old Reverse Bulb
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Reverse # W21W Bulb
The Reverse bulb socket is located above the turn signal and closer to the top of the assembly.

Rotate the socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Pull the old bulb straight out of the socket.

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Push In New Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
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Line Up Fastener & Slot
Push a new # W21W bulb straight in to the socket.

You can also use the # 7440 bulb.

I recommend buying the Sylvania 7440 LL long life light bulbs.

Re-insert the socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it in place.

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Metal Spike & Hole
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Push On Tail Light Housing
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Tighten 8mm Clockwise
Line up the slot on the back of the housing by the narrow tip closest to the front with its corresponding plastic pop rivet on the corner of the SUV.

Line up the metal peg or "spike" on the rear of the housing with its corresponding plastic grommet.

Carefully push the tail light back in to place.

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Tighten Upper Screw
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Line Up Plastic Screw Cover
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Pop In Screw Covers
Tighten the two screws by turning them in the clockwise direction with the 8mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Do not over tighten the screws to prevent from cracking the plastic inner edge of the housing.

Pop in the two plastic covers over the screws.

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Tail Light Re-Installed
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Test Turn Signal
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Test Reverse Bulb
Test the new tail light bulbs by having someone step on the brake pedal, activate the hazard signals and place the transmission in reverse.

For more, check out my other Ford Explorer DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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