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Kia Optima Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a brake, rear turn signal or side marker light bulb in a 4th generation 2016 to 2020 Kia Optima.

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2019 Optima Tail Lights
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Open Trunk Lid
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Access Cover In Liner
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 model years) Kia Optima sedan in changing a burnt out brake, rear turn signal and side marker bulb in the tail light housings.

Owners of other Kia, Hyundai or Genesis vehicles such as the Niro, Sportage, Sedona, Telluride, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Soul, K900, Cadenza, K5, Stinger, Tucson, Santa Fe, Kona, Palisade, Elantra, Sonata, Accent, Veloster, Ioniq, Nexo, Venue, G70, G80 and G90 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part numbers are as follows: Brake # P21/5W, Rear Turn Signal 1156A (or 1156NA) and Rear Side Marker # 2825 (or W5W).

The tools needed to access and replace any of the bulbs include a 10mm socket with a 1/4" ratchet or a 10mm wrench, a small flat head screwdriver and a plastic pry bar tool.

The first two steps are to open the trunk lid and move to the side of the car with the burnt out tail light bulb.

Locate the rectangular shaped access cover attached to the carpeted fabric cargo area liner.



 

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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Remove Access Cover
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White Electrical Connector
Rotate the black plastic knob 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction to unlock the latch for the access cover.

Gently pull the access cover out of the cargo area liner.

Set the access cover aside in a safe place.

Locate the white plastic electrical connector attached to the rear of the tail light housing.

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Disconnect Power Plug
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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Removing Nuts
Push in the release tab on the electrical connector before sliding the power plug straight out of its socket.

Then loosen the four black metal nuts on the back side of the light housing by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet or a 10mm wrench.

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Fourth Nut Removed
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Four Nuts Removed
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Gently Loosen Outer Edge
Spin off the four nuts the rest of the way by hand to prevent from having them fall down and become lost.

Set the four nuts aside in a safe place.

The tail light housing is still held in place by a plastic peg or "spike" inserted into a grommet and also a slot attached to the button head of a plastic pop rivet on the front outer area of the assembly.

Gently try pulling the tail light housing straight off the rear of the vehicle.

If you have trouble loosening the friction fasteners, use a plastic pry bar tool to very carefully loosen the front outer edge of the housing.

Be very gentle to avoid cracking the delicate plastic lens on the light housing!

You can also try using a screwdriver or rubber mallet to gently tap on the threaded bolt ends attached to the back side of the housing to help loosen the friction fasteners.

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Pull Off Tail Light Housing
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Power Plug Detached
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Pry Off Connector
Make sure the power plug is disconnected before pulling the tail light housing off the rear of the vehicle.

Once the housing has been removed, set it down on a soft surface such as a towel or in the trunk.

Avoid placing the plastic lens on the ground or any rough surface to prevent from scratching it.

Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the white plastic electrical socket off the rear of the housing.

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Use Flat Head Screwdriver
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Easier Access To Sockets
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
With the white plastic electrical socket detached, you'll have much easier access to the two light bulb sockets.

The orange plastic bulb socket located closer to the top of the housing contains the brake light bulb.

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

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Push Down, 1/4 Turn CC
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Old Brake Light Bulb
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Push Down, 1/4 Turn CW
Push the old bayonet style brake light bulb down into the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out.

Push a new number P21/5W light bulb straight into the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

If you would like to have brighter brake lights that will also last a lot longer before burning out like traditional incandescent light bulbs, install some compatible replacement P21/5W LED bulbs.

I left the brake light bulb socket out to leave more slack in the wiring for easier removal of the turn signal bulb socket.

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Turn Signal Bulb Socket
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Bulb Socket Removed
The grey plastic bulb socket situated closer to the bottom of the tail light housing contains the rear turn signal light bulb.

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



 

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Push Down, 1/4 Turn CC
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Old Turn Signal Light Bulb
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Push Down, 1/4 Turn CW
Push the old bayonet style rear turn signal light bulb down into the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction to unlock it before pulling the bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new number 1156A (or 1156NA "natural amber") light bulb down into the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

If you would like to have brighter and much longer lasting rear turn signal lights, install some compatible 1156A LED bulbs.

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Re-Install Bulb Socket
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Slide On Connector
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Small Side Marker Socket
Re-install the rear turn signal bulb socket into the housing by rotating it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction.

If you left the brake light bulb socket out, re-install it by turning it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction.

Slide the white plastic electrical socket back on to its mounting post.

The small black plastic rear side marker bulb socket is located at the front outer edge of the housing.

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

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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
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Push In New Light Bulb
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new miniature wedge base number 2825 light bulb straight into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter rear side marker lights, install some compatible replacement 2825 LED bulbs.

Re-install the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction.

I had trouble rotating the small socket back into place, so I used a pair of pliers to re-install it.

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Line Up Peg & Grommet
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Red Plastic Spike & Hole
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Slot & Pop Rivet Button
Line up the red plastic peg or "spike" on the back side of the housing with the hole in the rear corner of the vehicle.

Line up the slot on the back side of the housing with the white plastic pop rivet button head on the rear of the car.

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Slide On Tail Light Housing
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Spin On Four Nuts
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Tighten Clockwise
Slide the tail light housing back into place on the rear corner of the sedan.

Move to the inside of the cargo area.

Spin on the four nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the four nuts with the 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet in the clockwise direction until they are snug.

You could also instead use a 10mm wrench if you have trouble getting your socket and ratchet in the tight spaces.

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

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Push In Power Plug
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Re-Insert Access Cover
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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Slide the electrical connector straight into its socket.

You should feel or hear the power plug "click" securely into place.

Line up the fabric access cover with the cargo area liner.

First, re-insert the tab on the rear edge into the opening. Then pop in the front side.

Rotate the black plastic knob 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure the cover in place.

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Access Panel Secured
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Test New Light Bulbs
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Brake & Turn Signal
To test the new light bulbs, turn on the headlights, have an assistant step on the brake pedal and activate the hazard signals.

Check out my 2016-2020 Kia Optima Reverse & Parking Light Bulbs Replacement Guide if you need to change a burnt out reverse (back-up) or parking light bulb in the inner tail light housing attached to the trunk lid.

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

Tip - If you installed an LED bulb for the side marker and it doesn't work, try removing the bulb from the socket, rotate it 180 degrees and push it back into the socket again. Some LED bulbs are "polarized" and will only work when the "+" positive and "-" negative electrical contacts are in the correct orientation.

Please check out all of my 2016-2020 Kia Optima DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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