Change the Taillight on a Grand Cherokee

You can change the taillight on a Grand Cherokee with a few common tools right at home. Most taillight burn-outs are simply attributed to natural wear and tear.

Notable things like a cracked lens or deteriorated seal around the lens can cause taillight burn-out as well. In the following information on how to change the taillight on a Grand Cherokee, I’m going to cover the 2000 thru 2012 models so hopefully your Cherokee is somewhere in between those years.

First thing I must say is that your truck’s taillights receive power even when the Cherokee is turned off. When working with anything that has to do with your truck’s electrical system, you should always take some safety steps.

Grab a pair of pliers and a rag or face cloth. Raise the hood on the Cherokee and locate the battery. Loosen the bolt holding the negative ( – ) battery cable to its post with the pliers.

Once the cable is loose enough to move by hand, lift it away from the battery with one hand. Use your free hand to wrap the rag around the terminal at the end of the cable. Lay the cable down and away from the battery.

If you have a newer model Cherokee and you can’t access the battery, locate the taillight fuse in the fuse box. Check your owners manual if you don’t know where the fuse box is. Once you locate the fuse for the taillights, remove it from its location with the fuse pullers.

Lift the tailgate on the Cherokee. Let say for example purposes that the driver’s side, rear taillight is the one that you need to replace. On the inner, right side of the taillight lens, you should see 2 screws.

On newer models, you will see 2 round plastic caps. They are actually push-pins and they hold the taillight assembly in place.

Carefully remove the 2 screws with a Phillips screwdriver if your taillight lens has screws. If your taillight lens has the push-pins, you can either purchase a push-pin remover from the auto parts store or you can use a small flat-head screwdriver.

If you use the flat-head, be careful so you won’t damage the pins. You will see a small slit/opening on either side where you can insert the screwdriver.

If your burn-out taillight is on the lift gate, with it open, look up and on the lip of the lift gate where the taillight lens is you should see 2 nuts. Loosen and remove both of the nuts holding the lens in place.

Replacing the Taillight Bulb

Gently pull the taillight lens towards you. Use care because there are wires connected to it, it is not just a cover. Locate the taillight bulb’s socket at the top of the lens. To remove the socket you have to turn it to the left slightly and you will feel it unlock itself.

Pull the socket and taillight bulb out of the taillight lens carefully. Remove the bulb by pushing down on it gently while turning it to the left. Insert your new taillight bulb and lock it in place by again gently pushing down on it but this time you have to turn it to the right.

Insert the taillight bulb and socket back into the taillight lens carefully. Lock the socket back into place by turning it to the right until it stops.

Mount the taillight lens back into its original position and return the screws, push-pins or nuts to their positions. Put the taillight fuse back in if you removed it. If you removed the battery cable, take the rag off the terminal.

Put the terminal back onto the battery and secure it in place. Check your repair by simply turning on the taillights. Learning how to change the taillight on a Grand Cherokee wasn’t so hard after all.