How to: Repair broken screw in taillight


Original poster
Dec 4, 2011
Ottawa, ON
You go to replace a burnt bulb in the taillight. You remove the taillight assembly, easy enough. Then you turn the screws that hold the bulb assembly to the taillight lens, one of the screws snaps off. Thanks GM for not using quality fasteners! :mad: There's not enough to grab that little bit of the broken screw with Vice Grips to remove it and allow you to secure the bulb assembly to the lens and prevent water entry.

This is not a full how-to replace the taillight bulbs but only how to repair a broken screw. Normal bulb replacement instructions are available in the manuals (owner's and repair).

Here's the broken screw. No wonder it broke with all that rust. Nothing really to grab onto.
HPIM3894 (Medium).jpg

With a Dremel tool, hacksaw blade or file, cut about 1/8" of the plastic standoff around the screw.
HPIM3896 (Medium).JPG

Now you have enough of the screw protruding to grab with Vice Grips.
HPIM3898 (Medium).jpgHPIM3899 (Medium).jpg

Now use new sheet metal screws about the same size and length. Remember that a bit of the plastic standoff has been removed there so you don't want to over tighten it and break the ear on the bulb assembly. Leave about the same amount between the ear and standoff.
HPIM3900 (Medium).jpg

Just some tips:

- Add some dielectric grease to the bulb contacts to prevent corrosion
- Also put a smear of grease on the round gasket contact surface to help seal out water
- Add a dab of grease in each screw hole to prevent this from happening again :biggrin:
Last edited:
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Dec 8, 2011
thats a nice fix you got there. similar situation with one of my ford ranger delivery vehicles now i can fix it. :thumbsup: never thought of cutting the plastic mount part.

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