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.
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.
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.
Sorry, I really don’t. A Bentley manual or the dealership might have this information.
really great job with the photos, makes it easy for anyone who needs to replace their tail light.
Thanks for your help man… really clear to understand
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…..
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 🙂
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
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
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 🙂
Happy to help!
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?
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).
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…
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…
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!
So happy to help, thanks for sharing this Katrina!
Nick Nice web page. My break light that is out is connected to trunk hood. Can you address that. Thanks
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: https://www.nickscarblog.com/diy/led-license-plate-bulb-options-for-a-b7-audi-a4-s4-2005-5-2008/
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,
Happy to help!
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?
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.
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.
Ha! Good catch, thank you Roy.
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.
Not sure to be honest!
THANK YOY…. Great write up and pictures…
My pleasure, Mark!
Thanks so much for this info – made it super easy for me to do myself!
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
@ curt that red cable is an emergency release for fuel door
Thank for your photos, they were very helpfull. Marco from COSTA RICA, CENTRAL AMERICA
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!
hi nick thanks for article great help worked a treat saved me £25.00 here in the uk
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
Josh – what model/year are you working on? I’m pretty sure I only used a flathead when I did it.
Thank you very much!
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..
Check your fuses. Are all of them out? Usually just one burns out at a time.
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?
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…
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.
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.
Hey thanks I changed the bulb and your video was very helpful. took 15 min Great job
My pleasure Russ!
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!
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.
Nick – Thanks for the perfect instructions to replace a brake light bulb on my wife’s Audi. You’re the MAN!
My pleasure, Bruce!
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,
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!
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????
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…
Thanks alot man very helpful
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!
Haha my pleasure. That is unreal they want $75 to change a $3 bulb. I’m in the wrong business!!
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.
First, thank you for your incredibly detailed instructions for removing and replacing a tail light on my 2008 S4 Avant.
I’ve ordered the bulbs specified and I look forward to a rewarding repair.
I do have a couple of related questions for you, however:
A. You mentioned the possibility of a fuse malfunction to a couple of the posters. I have never encountered any light bulb probs in the past and just last week (17 Sep 15), my right front turn signal went out. I searched various websites for DIY repair and discovered that this particular light assembly is tricky, at best, to remove. As I procrastinated, just two days ago, my left rear brake light along with the left rear turn signal went out. Before I begin pulling every bulb in sight, based on your experience, could these multiple faults possibly be due to a fuse malfunction (if a fuse is provided for these components)?
B. In the event these are for real individual failures, do you have a guide for replacement of a right front turn signal, 2008 S4 Avant?
Thank you in advance for any information you may be able to provide.
P.S. 2008 Audi S4 Avant, I am original owner, 25,800 miles. As stated above, no previous light/electrical problems.
First of all, awesome car! That’s insanely low miles.
Fuse 14 (10A) is for the brake lights, but unless both are out this is unlikely the culprit as there aren’t seperate fuses for left and right. Luckily, the tail lights are fairly straightforward to replace.
The front turn signal; however, is a royal pain in the butt. There is just really no easy way to get to it, and trust me I’ve tried nearly everything. The best way to do it is to pull the front bumper (you don’t have to take it completely off, just close to it, if that helps), then remove the headlights, and then you can easily get to it. This is also a good time to do the clear corner mod or put any LEDs in you want, if that’s of interest. I have a DIY on it here: https://www.nickscarblog.com/diy/b7-audi-clear-corner-mod
Thank you for your response. As you can tell, I don’t have to drive much. The mileage includes originally picking the car up at the Mother Ship in Ingolstadt, followed by a 30 day drive though Central and Eastern Europe. I put on 5K relatively quickly, but once the car got home to Fort Lauderdale, FL, the driving requirements disappeared. I live close to most everything I do, plus there was a 911 in the picture for a couple of years. I can’t believe the years have ticked by as they have, but the mileage is truly legit.
I’m eagerly anticipating changing the rear lights that are out, but the front one is a different story. I believe one of your readers said that he had encountered a little problem with his rear light replacement and the dealer was looking like a good deal at that time. I think I’ll cave in early and do the rear one’s myself and then let the Audi guys do their thing with the front turn signal. Probably wise to have both sides replaced at the same time as the german time clock on lights seems to be reasonably accurate. I love these guys: pulling a bumper is necessary to change a turn signal light!
BTW, I saw your Instagram pics of an awesome A4 Avant. I have never seen an accented paint job that impressive, ever! I believe your blue is similar to mine (Sprint), but your pic of the car on Coronado Beach seems to show a richer, deeper blue. Regardless, that is one impressive picture and a gorgeous paint job!!
Thanks again for your kind words and advice.
P.S. I spent the best years of my early life just down the street from your Coronado pic site, but that’s another story.
Hey Robert – yeah, the front turn signals are probably one worth just outsourcing to the dealer, I believe they quoted me like $75 a while back which is a bargain to save an hour of time and not have to worry about breaking anything or not having the bumper line back up correctly if you DIY.
You didn’t mention your car is Sprint Blue, now I’m REALLY jealous!! That car is a unicorn. I’d love to do German pickup one day.
The car you mention is actually a JHM shop car, it’s not Sprint Blue but something darker like you suggest. Coronado is a great place! You can check out more pics here, I did the entire shoot in Coronado, maybe it will bring back more memories for ya. If you’re ever in the SD neck of the woods again let me know, I’d love to take some pics of the lowest mileage Sprint Blue B7 S4 Avant in America (I’m guessing!). https://www.nickscarblog.com/reviews/jhm-stage-3-big-turbo-kit-for-the-b7-audi-a4-2-0t
PS my folks actually live in Lauderdale now right off Las Olas so I know the area. I wouldn’t want to drive too much there either – definitely more of a walking city!
Once I receive my lightbulbs from Amazon and get them installed, I provide an update.
I’m glad you concur with the dealer remedy for the front turn signal. I envision a disaster looming as a DIY on that job.
Thank you for your compliments on the Sprint color. I have spotted only one other S4 in that color (in my area) and it was a four door Sedan. Plus, I had no idea the Avant was such a rarity, but it must not appeal to the US driver. When I was driving it in Europe, I saw Avants everywhere-more A4’s, but some S4’s. And, not one in blue, always black or silver. The darker colors seem to be European preference. I’m going back later this year and I’m always curious if the SUV thing is popular there yet; it was not in late 2007 (or in 2011, 2012 and 2014). And, when one is spotted, it is always diesel powered. Diesel fuel is government subsidized and it is vastly cheaper than normal gas.
Your Coronado shoot brought back incredible memories. I was last there in 2009 and I was surprized how familiar Orange Avenue looked. I’ll take a wag and guess that the shot with the city in the background was not far from the Oakwood Apartment complex. It may be gone by now, but it was still there during my visit in 2009 and it was the first place I lived in San Diego/Coronado. I’m not certain if I spent more time in the apartment or at the Mexican Village restaurant/bar, but I certainly had a good time. The Marg’s during Friday night happy hour were deadly!
Finally, your comment about Las Olas is almost scary: I live directly across the river from it and I can see it easily from my neighborhood park. It is a small world.
Once again, Thank You! I look forward to reading your Blog. And, Yes, I will definitely contact you next time I’m in San Diego.
Sorry about the slow response about my DIY repair of my left brake light and left rear turn signal on my 2008 S4 Avant. I finished it a week ago after waiting for the 7506 bulbs and locating a 17mm hex bolt. I finally found the hex bolt at AutoZone and it saved my project. I was faked out by the small slit for a flat edge screwdriver, thinking I would never get the leverage to turn the bolt. Immediately after buying the 17mm hex bolt I tried it out thinking that after 8 years of inactivity, the bolt would be tough to remove. Instead, I couldn’t believe how easy it came out! From that point on, it was a piece of cake. It took me longer to detail the housing alcove when I had everything apart than the actual repair. Bottom line: thanks to you and your advice, my car is back in perfect shape, all lights OK!
You may recall that I decided to cave in on the front right turn signal and take it to Audi. Well, I did and $180.11 later and one hour of my time (and theirs), that dude is now working OK also. According to the service record, they accessed the light by removing the front right tire and the right front wheel well housing to accomplish the repair. $3.98 for the bulb, $165.00 for an hour’s labor and the rest, FL sales tax.
FYI, for other readers, there were slight changes to the rear light assembly in 2008 that I encountered:
1. The access port cover is a hard black plastic with no grey “fur” on it. It has a cutout on the bottom for a flat screwdriver to release it. It pops out quite easily and goes back in the same. There are even alignment tabs, so you can’t mess it up.
2. The hex bolt I mentioned above, securing the light assembly to the car, is just like yours. Getting it out, however, could be a disaster as there is just enough room for the bolt to accidentally fall between the beauty interior panel and the body of the car. As I was unscrewing the bolt, I stopped and wrapped a long wire twist tie around the head of the bolt with a long set of needle nose pliers. I then held onto the bolt via the twist tie as it was coming out to prevent it from falling into the gap. Incidentally, I found the smallest flat edged screwdriver I have and used it to reinstall the bolt most of the way. I then tightened the bolt in place with my 17mm hex bolt. I learned from the Audi guys a couple of days later that you don’t want to tighten that bolt too tight or you will break the plastic. I’d guess that’s the reason it came out so easily in the first place. Luckily, I just assumed that when I was finishing up, but it is worth mentioning as you would hate to break the plastic housing as the end is in sight.
3. The most noticeable difference with my car was the orientation of the two plastic pins that hold the light assembly to the car. They are orientated 90 degrees to the right of your picture. I was surprised by this when I was gently prying the light housing loose. There was a little resistance, but then it just popped straight out from the car.
4. My light assembly has four interior clips to hold the unit together vice the two you encountered. Same clip device, just two additional clips.
5. My light assembly has 3 bulbs and not 4. Top two are brake and turn signal. Bottom one is backup light. All, 7506’s.
That’s about it. Thank you for all of your invaluable advice! I really enjoyed doing this and I wish I had had the expertise and equipment to do the front turn signal. That would have been the icing on the cake.
Hey Robert – thanks for the detailed comment and extra tips for my readers – much appreciated! I can’t believe how much they charged for the front turn signal, not sure what your dealership charges by the hour but that sounds like >1 hour of time which is kind of nuts, considering they probably could have just taken the bumper off and back on again in the same amount of time, but whatever 🙂
Current So Fl Audi rate is $165.00/hr. The term “highway robbery” and south Florida car dealerships are synonymous.
Thanks for such clear, simple instructions Nick!
Just followed them to change a bulb on my RS4 in the UK!
Awesome, great to hear!
Thanks to Nick, I too, found changing the tail light to be a breeze. However, standby for some fun when one of the front turn signal lights requires replacement.
Hi Nick, I have a 2005 A4 Audi, station wagon, and the left brake light is out.. how do i know if is the bulb or the fuse? Thanks!!
The fuse is for more than just one bulb, so it’s probably the bulb that is burned out.
I have a 2008 A4 and the indicator came on saying that the left brake light is out. My brother in law replaced and it all the lights are now working but the indicator on my dash is still saying ‘left brake light.’ Any insight?
Thanks so much,
There are actually two brake lights, one that is lit up when the headlights are on, and another one that lights up while braking (hence making it brighter). Are you sure both are working correctly?
Really helpful information.
I am facing an issue with my Audi A4 B7 2005. when i open the boot door the license plate light and fog lights swiched off. when i close the boot door it start working. Now i have seen that these light are not turning on anymore and i can not oppen the boot door.
Also i have seen that when move the key to possition II without starting the car, the tail lite buld and brake light are turned on but not in the full bright. when i push the brake pedal the brake bulb start shining much more and when i relese the pedal it stay on but no shining too much. (is this normal behavior)
Do you know where can be the problem.
Hi Samir – it is normal behavior that the brake bulbs to get brighter when you push the brake pedal, I wouldn’t worry about that. Your first issue sounds like maybe you have a blown fuse – the boot door opens with power, and the bulbs are run by power, so if nothing is working it sounds like there is no power getting to the trunk. Check your fuses and see if one is burned out. I think it is normal that if you open the trunk/boot, the lights turn off as a safety feature so as to not blind you and not have electricity running through the boot/trunk lid that you are touching.
My 2002 A4 brake light socket uses a dual filament bulb, but the socket has only one contact. Only the fat filament lights up. The voltage measures 12V when the brake pedal is pushed. It measures 6V DC and 4VAC when just the parking lights are turned on. The lower voltage must be some kind of low duty cycle for the parking light function. I am having trouble finding any information about this strange setup. Anybody know anything about this issue? I think this is an explanation of Saimir’s question.
Hello. I need to remove the right side tail light on 2007 Audi A4. I need to possibly change the connector and maybe the assembly. However, the screw is stripped. Do you know what size hex tool I can use on that bolt to loosen it? Also do you know the part number for the connector? Thank you!
Thank you for the excellent and informative information! Can you tell me if all 4 bulbs located in the tail light assembly use the same 7506 bulb? One isn’t working (and still isn’t working when I replaced it). I opened the tail light and found there is white corrosion on all the bulbs and bulb sockets which is perhaps causing a problem. Any suggestions on how best to clean this? Many thanks.
I’m pretty sure they’re all the same. The bulbs are like $2 each at any auto parts store so better off to just replace…
Great post keep it up ??