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Chevrolet Cruze Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or reverse light bulb in a second generation 2016 to 2019 Chevy Cruze.

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2018 Cruze Tail Lights
Open Trunk
Pry Out Pop Rivet
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 GM Chevrolet Cruze in changing a burnt out brake, rear turn signal, reverse, side marker and parking light. (Some model years and trim levels are equipped with LED bulbs that should last the life time of the vehicle.)

Owners of other General Motors vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Holden such as the Sonic, Spark, Malibu, Impala, Volt, Bolt, Camaro, Corvette, Trax, Equinox, Blazer, Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse, Colorado, Silverado, Express, TrailBlazer, Encore, Regal TourX, Envision, Enclave, LaCrosse, Cascada, Sierra, Canyon, Acadia, Terrain, Yukon, Savana, XT4, XT5, XT6, Escalade, CT5, CTS-V, XTS, CT6, ATS, Astra and Commodore may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part numbers for the 2016 and 2017 model years are as follows: Brake # 7443, Rear Turn Signal # 7440A, Reverse 921 and Parking / Side Marker # 194.

The replacement light bulb part numbers for the 2018 and 2019 model years include the following: Brake & Rear Turn Signal dual filament combination # 7443 (also known as W21/5W).

Some trim levels of the newer models may also have traditional incandescent Reverse # 921 and Rear Side Marker # 194 light bulbs.

On this 2018 Chevy Cruze LT, the reverse and rear parking light bulbs are located in a separate housing attached to the trunk lid. Please check out my Chevrolet Cruze Reverse & Parking Light Bulb Replacement Guide for the instructions for replacing those two bulbs.

To access tail light housing on the driver side, you'll need a 7mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet to remove the cargo net hook.

To access the passenger side housing, you'll just need a pop rivet removal tool.

The tools needed to remove either housing from the vehicle include an 8mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet or an 8mm wrench and possibly also a plastic pry bar tool.


Plastic Fastener Removed
Left Side Cargo Net Hook
Remove Single Screw
The first step is to open the trunk.

On the passenger side of the trunk, use the pop rivet removal tool to remove the black plastic pop rivet that secures the carpeted trunk liner in place.

On the driver side, remove the single black metal screw that secures the cargo net hook in place to the carpet liner.

Screw Removed
Remove Cargo Net Hook
Pull Back Trunk Carpet
Set the screw and the cargo net hook aside in a safe place.

Gently pull back the carpeted cargo area liner to access the back side of the tail light housing.

Loosen Three Nuts
Loosen Counterclockwise
Remove Second Nut
Loosen the three nuts on the back side of the tail light housing by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with an 8mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.
Nut Removed
Second Nut Removed
Third Nut
Once the nuts have been loosened, carefully spin them off the rest of way by hand to help prevent them from falling and becoming lost in the cargo area.
Loosen Counterclockwise
Third Nut Removed
Plastic Fastener & 3 Nuts
Set the three nuts aside with the plastic fastener.
Electrical Connector
Disconnect Power Plug
Insert Plastic Pry Bar
Push in the release tab on the gray plastic electrical connector before sliding it straight out of the socket.

Insert the plastic pry bar tool in between the outer edge of the tail light housing and the metal body panel.

Very gently pry out the light housing to loosen the plastic peg or "spike" on the back of the light housing from the grommet on the rear corner of the car.


Pull Off Light Housing
Turn Over - Access Bulbs
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Carefully slide the tail light housing straight off the rear corner of the car.

Turn over the housing to access the bulb sockets.

On this 2018 Cruze LT, there was only one bulb socket that contained the dual filament combination brake and rear turn signal light bulb.

The reverse and parking / side marker lights were LED bulbs that should last the life time of the vehicle.

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

Brake / Turn Signal Bulb
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Push In New Light Bulb
Gently pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing the bulb, try carefully wiggling it back and forth while pulling it straight out of the socket.

Push a new number 7443 (also known as # W21/5W) light bulb straight into the brake / rear turn signal bulb socket.

If you would like to have brighter brake / rear turn signal lights, install some 7443 LED bulbs.

Re-Insert Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Line Up Peg & Grommet
Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

Repeat the process to replace any other traditional incandescent bulbs in the tail light housing of your Cruze such as the rear turn signal, reverse or parking / side marker.

Line up the plastic peg or "spike" on the back of the tail light housing with the corresponding hole in the rubber grommet attached to the rear corner of the car.

Push On Tail Light Housing
Spin On Three Nuts
Third Lower Nut
Slide the tail light housing back into place on the rear corner of the car.

Spin on the three nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to make sure they don't become cross threaded or fall down into the rear bumper cover.

Tighten Clockwise
Replace Power Plug
Replace Trunk Liner
Tighten the three nuts by turning them in the clockwise direction with the 8mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet until they are snug.

Try to avoid over tightening the nuts to prevent from cracking the plastic light housing.

Push the carpeted trunk liner back into place over the rear of the tail light housing.

Push In Pop Rivet
Carpet Liner Replaced
Test New Light Bulbs
For the passenger side, push the pop rivet fastener back into place.

For the driver side, re-attach the cargo net hook by replacing the 7mm screw.

To test the new tail light bulbs, have an assistant step on the brake pedal, activate the hazard signals and shift the transmission into reverse.

Be sure to write down the bulb change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2016-2019 GM Chevrolet Cruze DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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