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How go change stop lamp in cirrus 1996?

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December 21, 2011 7:25PM

from inside the trunk. remove the black plastic "thumb screws" holding on the trunk carpet over the taillight housing. (counter clockwise) the bulb sockets will be exposed. turn them counter clockwise to remove. they are very very tight. re-install after replacing the bulb by turning clockwise.

NOTE: these things are so hard to re-tighten that you will think you're going to break it. i took my car to the shop to see why they wouldn't work after i changed the bulbs. they laughed at me and said that i didnt tighten them enough.

(2nd responder, jj2122 - Dec 2011 ) My additional two cents worth -

* Unlike most vehicles, there is no simple access to the bulb socket from inside the trunk. To change a lightbulb in a Chrysler Cirrus (95-00), you have to remove the entire tail light assembly. Fortunately, this isn't hard to do. You first have to pull the carpeting back. (This may require using a Philips head screwdriver or carefully prying out plastic panel plugs, depending on the year of your Cirrus.) The tail light assembly is held in place by 3 large, black plastic thumbscrews. You should be able to remove these by hand. Pull out the tail light assembly.

* You may find it easier to get at the bulb socket housings if you remove one of the electrical wiring harnesses. They are latched by hold downs that can be pried open by hand.

* You still can't get to the bulbs, yet. See those round grey plastic holders with a raised center knob? The bulbs are seated underneath them. On my Chrysler Cirrus 98, the brake light holder rotated one way, the side light in the opposite. Fortunately, the holders have arrows indicating the direction to unlock. It takes force to rotate them out.

* Swap out the bulb (Sylvania 3057). Clean the 3 contacts. The holder only fits back into the opening one way.

* As the previous responder stated, the tricky bit is to fully rotate the bulb holder back into place. I had the exact same problem! It took a keen mechanical mind (not mine) to figure out that although the bulb holder looked like it was in place, the electrical contacts weren't touching. Those raised plastic bits on the outside surface of the bulb holder are not stops. Use pliers to hold the raised knob, and forcefully rotate the plastic holder. It will move about a quarter turn. Re-connect the electrical wiring harness and test. (You'll need a second person to tell you if the brake light works.) Re-seat the tail light assembly: push the posts & wiring harness back through the openings in the trunk; tightenthe black thumbscrews, put the carpeting back in place.

* A big Thank You to the first responder for sharing the story about taking the car to the shop to learn that the plastic bulb socket holder wasn't turned far enough. That saved me the cost of getting a replacement tail light. Several mechanics told me the yellow flexible circuit strip must be faulty and to replace the whole light. Wow! Why did Chrysler make it so hard for laypersons to do the simplest repair? - Dec 2011.