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Tim Basham
Tim Basham, ASE Certified Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 743
Experience:  30 year multi line tech ASE cert master tech ASE engine machinist. Specializing in 4WD +++
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How do I change the turn signal light bulb on my ...

Customer Question

How do I change the turn signal light bulb on my Oldsmobile 2000 Intrigue?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Tim Basham replied 11 years ago.

Signal and Marker Lights


Front Parking and Turn Signal Lamps

The front parking/turn signal lamps are located in the left and right side composite headlamp housings (GM also calls them headlamp capsules). The parking lamps can be operated any time using the headlamp switch. When a turn is signaled, the appropriate front parking lamp switches to signal a turn. The turn signals operate only with the ignition switch in the RUN position and will not operate during hazard flasher operation.

Look the job over carefully. On some vehicles, the parking and turn signal lamp bulbs can be replaced by simply twisting the socket free and replacing the bulb. On other vehicles, the lamp assembly must be removed.

  1. Open the hood.
  2. If the parking/turn signal bulb can be accessed, twist the socket to free it from the lamp assembly and withdraw the socket and bulb assembly.
  3. If the parking/turn signal bulb cannot be accessed, remove the lamp assembly. Twist the socket to free the locking tabs and withdraw the socket and bulb assembly. Some applications may use a locking tab that needs to be depressed so the socket can be rotated.

    Fig. 1: This parking lamp/turn signal socket has a locking tab that needs to be depressed to rotate the socket

    Fig. 2: Depress the locking tab with your thumb, then rotate the socket to remove

    Fig. 3: With the socket free, the bulb can be replaced

    Fig. 4: Carefully push in the bulb and turn it counterclockwise to unlock it

Side Marker Lights

The side marker lights are located on the sides of the headlamp assemblies. These lamps will light when the headlamp or parking lights are ON. If the headlamp or parking lamps are OFF when a turn is signaled, the appropriate side marker lamp will flash in unison with the with the front turn signal lamp. If the headlamps or parking lamps are ON when a turn is signaled, the side marker lamp and the front turn signal lamp will flash alternately.

  1. On some applications, the marker lamp bulb socket can be accessed through the engine compartment or from under the front valence panel. On other applications, the headlamp assembly should be removed for access.

    Fig. 5: On some applications, the side marker bulb socket can be accessed through the engine compartment or from underneath

    Fig. 6: On this application, the side marker bulb lamp is part of the headlamp assembly

    Fig. 7: Twist the socket to unlock it and pull the bulb from the socket

  2. The side marker lamp socket simply twists to remove.
  3. The bulb is a baseless bulb and just pulls out of the socket.
  4. Inspect the socket. They are often subject to road splash, dirt and corrosion. Clean as required.
  5. Install a new bulb and reassemble in the reverse order of removal.

Rear Turn Signal, Brake and Parking Lamps

The taillamps, stoplamps and rear turn signals lamps are all incorporated into the rear taillamps. The taillamps are lit whenever the parking lamps or headlamps are in operation. The rear turn signal lamps flash with the front turn signal lamps whenever a turn is indicated with the turn signal/headlamp dimmer switch. The stoplamps light whenever the brake pedal is depressed and the stoplamp switch is closed.

Fig. 8: The trim panel is likely held in place with retainers like this. Back out the screw to release tension on the pin legs and remove the fastener

Fig. 9: The taillamp is retained by plastic wingnuts

Fig. 10: Remove the plastic wing nuts from the taillamp housing

Fig. 11: Remove the taillamp housing from the vehicle to service the light bulbs

  1. Open the rear compartment (trunk).
  2. If equipped, unhook the convenience net that stretches between the taillamps. It is attached to hooks molded into the plastic taillamp assembly retaining wingnuts. Loosen the rear compartment trim panel. It is retained by plastic pins with a screw in the center. Back out the screw to release any tension on the plastic pin legs, and pull the trim (thin carpet-like material) for access to the taillamps.
  3. Remove the plastic taillamp assembly retaining wingnuts.
  4. Remove the taillamp assembly from the vehicle and service the light bulbs as required.
  5. Installation is the reverse of the removal process.
  6. Test the lights for correct operation.

High-Mounted Stoplamp Bulb

The high-mounted stoplamp is in the center of the rear window and lights whenever the brake pedal is depressed and the stoplamp switch is closed. The bulbs are accessed from inside the trunk.

Fig. 12: This Grand Prix had a slotted vent panel covering the high-mounted stoplamp assembly. Squeeze the ends to remove or install

Fig. 13: A quarter-turn removes the socket so the bulb can be serviced

  1. Open the trunk.
  2. If equipped with a slotted vent panel, remove it from the access opening by squeezing the ends and pulling down.
  3. Reach through the access opening and turn the bulb socket 14 -turn counterclockwise to remove the socket. Most applications will use two sockets/bulbs. Verify that the correct bulb is being replaced.
  4. Replace the bulb as required.

Tim Basham and 7 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
Evidently my front light system is a different year (2000)than the answer I got, I still need more "how to" info on getting the bulb out or the headlamp assembly. It is a large self contained unit. The bulb that is out is the front turn signal and is in the center of the front head lamp assembly. There is no easy access to the lamp or socket, it is inside and blocked by several different parts of the cars engine components or radiator, hood latch support, etc.
Thanks Brad
Expert:  Tim Basham replied 11 years ago.



Sealed Beam

  1. Open the hood.
  2. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  3. Remove the headlamp bezel retainers and bezel.
  4. Remove the spring from the bottom edge of the headlamp assembly.

    NOTE: Do not apply pressure to the plastic bubble of the vertical aim indicator.

  5. Detach the electrical connector from the assembly.
  6. Unfasten the two screws from the headlamp retaining ring.
  7. Rotate the retaining ring away from the headlamp.
  8. Remove the headlamp from the vehicle.

    Fig. 1: This Oldsmobile Cutlass may be equipped with sealed beam headlamps

    To install:

  9. Position the headlamp and retaining ring and secure with the two retaining screws. Tighten the screws to 18 inch lbs. (2 Nm).
  10. Attach the electrical connector to the assembly.
  11. Install the spring to the bottom of the headlamp assembly.
  12. Install the headlamp bezel and retainers.
  13. Connect the negative battery and test the lights for proper operation.

Composite Headlamps

The headlamps used on the majority of vehicles covered by this manual are called "composite lamps". Unlike the glass sealed beam units used on older vehicles, these headlamps are made of special plastic using small halogen gas bulbs. The bulbs are replaceable, but they do require special handling.

Halogen bulbs contain a gas under pressure. Handling a bulb improperly could cause it to shatter into flying glass fragments. Always allow the bulb to cool before removal. Always use the following precautions to help avoid personal injury.

  • Turn the light switch OFF and allow the bulb to cool before changing bulbs. Leave the switch OFF until the bulb replacement procedure is complete.
  • Always wear eye protection when changing a halogen bulb.
  • Handle the bulb only by its base. Avoid touching the glass. Do not drop or scratch the bulb.
  • Keep the bulb away from moisture.
  • Place the used bulb in the new bulb's carton and dispose of it properly. Keep halogen bulbs out of reach of children.

Depending on the installation, the low-bean and the high-beam halogen bulbs may actually be removable without removing the entire composite headlamp assembly. Look your application over carefully to see there is enough room behind the headlamp to fit your hand to remove the bulb holder. Since removing the composite headlamp assembly is not difficult, the following procedure assumes that the headlamp is being removed from the vehicle for halogen bulb service.

Fig. 2: This Pontiac headlamp uses screws as retainers

Fig. 3: This Buick headlamp uses U-shaped plastic clips as retainers

Fig. 4: This Chevrolet uses multiple special screw type retainers, although it may be possible to remove the halogen bulbs from behind, without removing the headlamp assembly

Fig. 5: This Oldsmobile headlamp uses multiple screws as retainers

  1. Raise the hood and look at the headlamp installation. On some applications, the headlamp is retained by screws and some molded tabs that slip into slots in the sheetmetal mounting bracket. On other applications, two U-shaped clips may hold the headlamp in place. Remove the headlamp retainers and gently work the headlamp free of the vehicle.
  2. If the wiring harness is so short that it is difficult to work on the headlamp, simply unplug the electrical connector from the headlamp assembly.
  3. The halogen bulb may have a large, knurled plastic ring that retains the socket to the headlamp. Turn this ring to detach it and remove the socket with the halogen bulb.

    Fig. 6: This Grand Prix uses two screws to retain the headlamp assembly

    Fig. 7: With the two screws removed, the headlamp assembly is gently moved outboard (away from the vehicle center) to disengage the plastic tabs on the back of the lamp from their retainer slots in the sheetmetal mounting bracket

    Fig. 8: This halogen bulb has a large, knurled plastic ring that retains the socket to the headlamp. Turn this ring to detach it

    Fig. 9: Pull out the socket with the halogen bulb from the headlamp

    Fig. 10: This type of halogen headlamp socket is turned to release and remove, or engage and install

    Fig. 11: After twisting the socket free, pull the bulb and connector rearward, holding the base, NOT the glass

    Fig. 12: Holding the bulb by the base, unplug from the connector

    Fig. 13: Exploded view of a common headlamp bulb replacement

  4. Remove the burned-out bulb and discard safely.

    Do not touch the glass bulb with your fingers. Oil from your fingers can severely shorted the life of the bulb. If necessary, wipe off any dirt or oil from the bulb with rubbing alcohol before completing installation.

  5. Take great care not to touch the new replacement halogen bulb as oil from your skin will burn when the bulb is turned on and may damage the glass, shortening the life of the bulb. Use a clean, dry paper towel to handle the bulb.
  6. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.
  7. Verify that the lights work correctly.

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tim Basham's Post: I figured it out - but these instructions didn't really help. I found two long locking pins (white plastic lock pin about 5 to 6 inches long) that slid vertically up and down to lock the light housing (that housed all bulbs) up- unlock and release, down lock the complete headlamp into place.

Once I got the two pins out- I could pull out the complete head lamp assembly then take off a moiosture barrier (black rubber cap) behind the bulb that was out - replace it and reassemble.

The closest thing you show is a Chevy self contained front lamp, but the Olds was larger and had all bulbs contained in it.

Expert:  Tim Basham replied 11 years ago.
glad to hear you got it figured out there are so many different mountings anymore it is hard to keep up with them all