Home / DIYs / Audi A4 Brake Light Replacement

 

The brake lights on my B7 (2005.5-2008) Audi A4 went out several weeks ago – I delayed and delayed replacing them, figuring it was a difficult process. I’m happy to say it is simple as pie, takes only about 5 minutes, and all you need is a flat head screwdriver! This is a super easy replacement that nearly anyone can handle

  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Tools needed: flat headed screw driver (a smaller one)
  • Also applies to: 2005.5-2008 B7 Audi S4, 2005.5-2008 B7 Audi RS4
  • Time needed: 5 minutes
  • Parts needed: two 7506 bulbs. I used these Sylvania Silverstar bulbs which are 20% brighter, but any 21 watt 7506 ST bulbs will work.

The process is super simple – there is just one screw to remove, using your flat head screw driver, then you gently pull off the light, remove the old bulbs and replace them with the new ones. I recommend replacing at least two bulbs at a time, as if one went out the other is likely not far behind…

Step 1 – Remove the cover located in the trunk

You can remove the cover using your flat head screw driver – open your trunk and you’ll find it right along the edge of the tail light. Pry it off from the top – it’s connected at the bottom, so don’t pry from there, always go from the top.

Step 2 – Remove the screw holding the tail light in

There is only one screw holding in the tail light, which you can see once you remove the cover in step 1. Turn the screw to the left with your flat headed screw driver and it will come out with ease after several turns. You’ll notice I changed screwdrivers, that is mostly because the screwdriver in the previous photo was too large, and I had to switch to a smaller one.

Step 3 – Remove the tail light assembly

This step requires you to be gentle. Use your hands and slowly pry away the tail light from the body of your car. Be sure not to pull too hard from the inner edge – the outer edge of the light has two connectors that you don’t want to break. Pull a little from the inner edge, then pull a little from the outer edge, then repeat and repeat until the light pulls away from the car enough to grab from the center.

The two clips holding it in (that you do NOT want to break) are the two holes in the body which can be seen above, and the two prongs sticking out of the tail light, which you can see below:

Step 4 – Remove the tabs:

Once apart, disconnect the wiring harness and then remove the black backing from the tail light housing by pushing the tabs in, which will then expose all of the bulbs. Just push in the two tabs (one on top, one on bottom) to remove the bulbs from the brake light assembly:

Step 5 – Replace the bulb

The bulbs twist out by turning them to the left about a half turn. In my case, it was easy to spot the burnt out bulb as it had turned black (see the upper right corner), but like I said, you might as well replace them both.

Step 6 (Optional): Clean

While you have the tail light off, you might as well clean. I used a spray detailer to remove the dust behind the tail light to keep my car looking extra clean:

Step 7: Install the bulbs, Test & Reinstall the tail light housings

Put the new bulbs in by aligning the nubs and then turning them a quarter turn so they’re locked in place. Before you screw the tail light back in, give it a quick test. Hitting the lock button will light up the tail light, so you don’t need to even get in your car to do this. Plug the brake light housing back into the car and just let it rest on the ledge, then hit the lock button and confirm everything works.

Once finished, reinstall the light by pressing in the two prongs along the outer edge, then tighetening the screw from inside the trunk. Once the screw is tight, replace the carpeted cover and you’re all done!

There you have it – you can now replace your burnt out tail light bulbs in under 5 minutes, costing you only about $6. From what I’ve read, the dealer charges anywhere from $40-80, so that’s a great deal and only requires minimal effort.

 

About the author: Nick Roshon

 

Nick Roshon is a blogger who is passionate about Audis and European cars in general. He owns a 2006 S4 and before that had a 2006 A4. His driving experience includes numerous track days throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

 

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59 Comments

  1. Hi Nick,

    Do you know the coding for each of these cables that feed into the light (i.e. red = power cable, etc..? i am trying attach a resistor in relation to LED stop lights installation but am not sure which cable is which. I will greatly appreciate you can help with some information.

    Regards
    Nik

  2. Sorry, I really don’t. A Bentley manual or the dealership might have this information.

  3. really great job with the photos, makes it easy for anyone who needs to replace their tail light.

  4. Thanks for your help man… really clear to understand

  5. Nick,

    After I burned out a brakelight bulb, I searched and found your article and was really pleased with the amount of detail and how easy this looked. However, once I opened my trunk, I realized that things were not the same. My ’08 B7 RS4 Cabrio does not have an access cover in the same location. It appears to be in the trunk – directly behind the light assembly and due to time and poor lighting I haven’t been able to complete the job. Regardless, I want to thank you for a great read…..

    Kevin

  6. Thanks Kevin, I appreciate it. The tail lights are completely different on the convertibles so I’m not surprised it’s different but hopefully they’re not too different and you can still figure it out :)

  7. Nick, I have an ’06 B7 and need to replace my right side brake light bulb and the bolt that you unscrew holding the tail lamp assembly seems to be stripped (threads). I keep turning and turning and the bold is not coming out…and it turns with some force. I have taken out the bolt on the left so I know how easy this step should be. Perhaps the bolt was screwed in too far and its into the plastic…any suggestions or have you hear of this happening before ? Thanks, Lynn

  8. Ouch, that’s too bad Lynn – it definitely sounds like it must be stripped. Your best bet is to probably just drill out the screw then replace it. Here are some tips on how to drill out a stripped screw: http://autorepair.about.com/od/quicktips/ss/stripped_screw.htm

  9. Thanks Nick – great job. You made it way easy and got the gf’s A4 light fixed so she would stop complaining about the warning light on the dash…glad my A5 LED tails will never (hopefully) ever burn out :-)

  10. Thanks Nick…This looks easy. I’m going to give it a try. one possibly dumb question but when you say replace them both…which two?

  11. The left tail light and the right tail light – chance are probably only one of them has gone out, but the other one shouldn’t be far behind (as they should be lighting up the same amount of times an dhave about the same lifespan).

  12. I have i a slightly different problem, if u could show me what to do… My brake lights don’t work but the bulbs are okay, I tried changing the fuse, didn’t help…

  13. Do you have a break out warning light? I’d stop by the dealership and let them scan your codes and see what kind of fault its throwing…

  14. My brake light indicator on my 2008 A4 came on 3 days ago..the manual didn’t mention anything….almost went to Audi and knew would overpay to have them do it….googled Audi brake lights and you popped up, instruction by instruction , even with the exact bulb needed…placed my amazon order right there, stayed away from cops a day longer, haha and it was waiting for me today when I got home…I put the iPad right in my trunk and followed step by step…perfect! No more annoying indicator and nothing to worry about on the road, except speed of course . Thank you so much Nick!

  15. So happy to help, thanks for sharing this Katrina!

  16. Nick Nice web page. My break light that is out is connected to trunk hood. Can you address that. Thanks

  17. You’ll just need to pull back the carpet/felt behind the tail light on the trunk lid, and then you can access the back of the inner tail light and replace the bulbs. See this write-up on how to remove that carpet area, although you should be able to just pull out a corner without having to unscrew anything and have enough wiggle room to access the bulb: http://nickscarblog.com/diy/led-license-plate-bulb-options-for-a-b7-audi-a4-s4-2005-5-2008/

  18. Thanks Nick,
    I’m a very new at owning an audi and I love it. My 2007 a4 was a steal! I have a tail light out but not for long. Thanks again,
    Brian

  19. Hey Nick-

    I just changed the same breaklight that I replaced about a year and a half ago on my 2006 A4, the only bulb I’ve ever replaced in the 2-3 years I’ve owned the car. Thing is the filament isn’t broken but the bulb is a little black on the glass and the plastic inside the bulb (as best I can remember the same was true of the last one too). And as I was messing around with it the light even came back on but I replaced it anyways and all seems good to go. Any idea what would cause that one bulb to be so troublesome?

    Thanks,
    –Paul

  20. It sounds like the bulb is overheating for whatever reason. It could be a goofy electrical quirk or maybe there is something coming loose. If it is only burning out every few years, I wouldn’t worry too much about it though.

  21. Thanks, Nick. My daughter’s 2007 A4 had a burned out brakelight and I was disappointed when I opened the trunk and could not pull the bulb socket right out like in the old cars from the 60s (when the only 2 bulbs were 1056 and 1157). Your instructions are great. I will tease you (good naturedly) about using the term “headlight housing” in step 4.

  22. Ha! Good catch, thank you Roy.

  23. What is the red cable next to the light release screw? You can see it in the two pictures. It sounds like it may release the trunk or something when you pull on it. Thank you.

  24. Not sure to be honest!

  25. THANK YOY…. Great write up and pictures…

  26. Thanks so much for this info – made it super easy for me to do myself!

  27. Thanks sooo much Nick.. I called the Audi dealership to fix not knowing it was so simple to do.. they were going to charge me $151.80.. after your tutorial I ended up paying $6.50 for the bulbs!!! Thanks sooo much

  28. @ curt that red cable is an emergency release for fuel door

  29. Thank for your photos, they were very helpfull. Marco from COSTA RICA, CENTRAL AMERICA

  30. Thanks Marco! Very cool to hear this blog is reaching all the way to Costa Rica – I’ve been there once and LOVED it. Pura Vida!

  31. hi nick thanks for article great help worked a treat saved me £25.00 here in the uk
    cheers
    mate

  32. Little lost as I’ve viewed your site and youtube videos explaining how easy this is. Have seen 8mm mentioned as needed well thats a 5/16th screwdriver and thats too large it doesnt look like you’re using just a flathead so what tools are actually needed. That 80 bucks for bulbs and someone else to do it looks like a bargain right now

  33. Josh – what model/year are you working on? I’m pretty sure I only used a flathead when I did it.

  34. Thank you very much!

  35. Wish I saw your video before I changed bulbs you made it easy. My bulbs are still out though. A short maybe? 2005 A4 1.8T spec edit..

  36. Check your fuses. Are all of them out? Usually just one burns out at a time.

  37. Nick,

    Thanks for the quick help. Unfortunately one of the outer pins broke when I was trying to take the light assembly out. Do you have any suggestions for repair beside buying a new tail light assembly?

  38. Sometimes you can find new tail lights cheap on Craigslist, for what it’s worth – I picked up a set for like $30 once. Otherwise I’d say you could try to find some industrial strength glue or adhesive and try to put it back on, but I’m not sure how well that will hold long term. You could also maybe try to use velcro to hold it in there, but again, not sure if that’s a good long term solution…

  39. I have a 2006 A6 and was trying to disconnect the harness from the board(the thing that holds all the bulbs), but I didn’t want to break the harness so I just gave up. How do I disconnect the harness like the last picture? Do I just pull it out? I’m trying to clean the pin connecter (or w/e it’s called), since my left tail light doesn’t work sometimes.

  40. Usually you have to push in a tab before it pulls out. Inspect the harness and see if there is anything you can push in or depress first.

  41. Hey thanks I changed the bulb and your video was very helpful. took 15 min Great job

  42. I am having a really hard time pulling out the assembly to get at the lights. I cant get my fingers in the left outer side where the two screws are. I don’t want to break anything. Is it ok to slide something thin in the gap and pry it out a bit or will that snap those bolts? Thanks for the post!

  43. Jeff absolutely – I think Audi actually makes a tool that slides in there but I’m sure you can find something soft enough not to scratch the paint yet firm enough to pry and get some leverage around the house.

  44. Nick – Thanks for the perfect instructions to replace a brake light bulb on my wife’s Audi. You’re the MAN!

  45. I was unscrewing the release, pried off the lights then heard something fall. It was the release bolt, The circle is too small for adult sized fingers, I tried to remove the plastic liner in the rear compartment and retrieve it, but couldn’t find the right size allan wrench (metric and english). Then spent another 10 minutes finding an appropriate sized bolt to replace it. I believe it’s all better now. Thanks for the video – it was otherwise a very simple job,

  46. Hey Chris – for future reference, a telescoping magnet is perfect for when bolts fall that you can’t reach…saved me a few times. Check this one out for reference: http://amzn.to/1K5envS

    Glad the post was helpful!

  47. I have a 2005 avant, 3.2T Having tail light problem I changed the bulb per your good instructions cleaned everything and tested all ok then the next time we drove it the warning light came on for same light. What can I do next????

  48. Are the bulbs actually working? I’d check your fuse box next. Are there any other bulbs that aren’t working? There are several bulbs in the housing, so it’s possible you still have one that is burnt out…

  49. Thanks alot man very helpful

  50. Hi Nick, you just made my Saturday! My A4 is at the service center for it’s 45,000 mile check up and unbeknownst to me, I have a break light bulb out. My “associate” informed me just a few minutes ago that it’d be $75.00 to change it. Thanks to you I am happy to call him back to decline his generous offer. I’m anxious to get my car back to take care of this myself. Thanks for explaining it in easy terms!

  51. Haha my pleasure. That is unreal they want $75 to change a $3 bulb. I’m in the wrong business!!

  52. BREAK light? Please excuse my improper homonym usage. Hearing the news before noon that it’d be $75 bucks to replace a BRAKE light bulb had my rational thought process take a hike. I just wanted to give you an update that I had this done in less than ten minutes, all thanks to you, and I am keeping your blog in my favorites for future reference!

    One last thing. I can actually top my own pricing story here. When I picked up my car the associate told me that if I had a few more minutes and wanted them to fix the broken visor clip that was in the cup holder, they could do it for $95.00. Needless to say, I declined.

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