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How do you change the tail light on a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac?

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Answered 2007-12-17 03:07:02

I recently had to change a tail light in my own 2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac and was disheartened to discover that the owner's manual did not provide the correct instructions. The procedure described in the manual actually applies to the Ford Explorer or Ford Explorer Sport, but not the Sport Trac. There is a secondary question in play here, which is implied by the primary question posted above. Before changing the bulb, you must answer the question, "How do I remove the lamp assembly and access the bulb?" Again, remember that the owner's manual does not correctly address this issue. The answer that follows will describe how to access the bulb and subsequently change it. First, lower the tailgate and look not at the lamp assembly, but rather at the truck body on the inside, where the tail gate would be when closed. When you do so, you will notice three small, round, rubber plugs which have a recessed center. One is up high, another in the middle, and the third at the bottom. Your attention will be drawn to the recessed center - you may be looking for a screw or some way to pop out the center. Instead, remove the entire plug from it's hole. You may need to carefully insert a flat-head screwdriver under the edge to pry it loose, but I was able to remove all of mine using only my fingers. Once you have removed the plugs, you will see a screw. My vehicle had the type of screw that requires a small wrench rather than a screwdriver - your Explorer may use something else, but be prepared either way. Remove the three screws and the lamp assembly should come right off. Grasp the base (actually the socket) of the bulb, turn it about 1/4 turn (counterclockwise) and remove it from the lamp assembly. Then carefully pull the bulb straight out of the socket. Next insert the new bulb by first placing it into the socket and then returning the socket to the lamp assembly - don't forget to lock the socket into place by turning it about 1/4 turn (clockwise). Then return the lamp assembly to it's correct position on the truck and secure by replacing the three screws and pushing the rubber plugs back into place.

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