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2003 Cadillac CTS
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I recently had a rear brakelight go out on the passenger side. I bought the replacement bulb, and went to change it out myself, only to have no clue how to get into the assembly to change it. I first started in the trunk, and removed the side panel for rear access thinking the bulb frame may twist out and pull out from the front. No luck here - the only thing I saw was a rubber grommet covering the power cable into the assembly.

Then I thought that I could get into the assembly with the trunk open, but working on the side of the actual light assembly. There are a few spots on the side of the light assembly that have indentations for what looks like a place to leverage them with a flathead screwdriver for popping off. After messing around with this a bit, I thought I'd ask first here so I didn't break anything and end up having to buy a new taillight assembly! :p Thanks in advance!!

Tim
 

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Black the Darkside
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LoveMyCTS said:
Hello,

I recently had a rear brakelight go out on the passenger side. I bought the replacement bulb, and went to change it out myself, only to have no clue how to get into the assembly to change it. I first started in the trunk, and removed the side panel for rear access thinking the bulb frame may twist out and pull out from the front. No luck here - the only thing I saw was a rubber grommet covering the power cable into the assembly.

Then I thought that I could get into the assembly with the trunk open, but working on the side of the actual light assembly. There are a few spots on the side of the light assembly that have indentations for what looks like a place to leverage them with a flathead screwdriver for popping off. After messing around with this a bit, I thought I'd ask first here so I didn't break anything and end up having to buy a new taillight assembly! :p Thanks in advance!!

Tim
The rear brake light and back-up light assembly come out as a unit. Some call it the rear bezel. It's very easy to remove. You need a small rachet, metric socket, short extension and a flashlight as a couple are difficult to see. You need to pull down part of the trunk lid liner access some. It can be done in about 15-20 minutes. As I remember there are two bulbs. Replace them both while you're in there.
 

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2017 CTS-V
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1,670 Posts
To access the rear brake lights, you need to remove the entire brake light assembly on the side you are replacing. Open the trunk and remove the lining on the trunk. You should see two (maybe three) bolts holding on the brake light assembly. Remove these and you can pull out the entire assembly where you will be able to access the bulbs. The rest is pretty easy to figure out.
 

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The passenger tail light comes out with 2 bolts....I want to say wing nuts...but do not quote me. The tail light will pull right off, and then disconnect the bulbs and harness.
 

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Black the Darkside
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Hmmmm..dumb me. I thought he was talking about the center brake light. The sides are much easier. Now you know how to change all of your braking lights. Wait until you have to change a headlight bulb..you'll scream.
 

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RobertCTS said:
Hmmmm..dumb me. I thought he was talking about the center brake light. The sides are much easier. Now you know how to change all of your braking lights. Wait until you have to change a headlight bulb..you'll scream.
OK....why do auto manufacturers do that? It used to be that any old fool could change a light bulb in no time at all..now it takes an engineering degree to figure out how to get at one. It's not unique to Cadillac..lots of cars are like that.
 

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strindl said:
OK....why do auto manufacturers do that? It used to be that any old fool could change a light bulb in no time at all..now it takes an engineering degree to figure out how to get at one. It's not unique to Cadillac..lots of cars are like that.
I think it's do to necessity and design requirements. It's unusual to see any screws anymore. everything is hidden. Fasteners are now quick connect push pins.
Some times aero styling limits engineering options. I remember in the Horsepower race, Chevy wanted to put their V8 in the Vega. It was so cramped you had to removed a rear motor mount to change one of the spark plugs. I guess the service departments don't mind as they are getting paid by the hour. It's us DIY guys that get screwed.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much for all the help everyone! I had the side access panel off - I could kick myself for not looking a little closer and noticing the whole light assembly came off. I was in the parking lot of the autozone, so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ;)
 
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