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2008-2012 GM Chevy Malibu Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to replace the brake / turn signal & reverse bulbs in the tail light assembly of a 2008 to 2012 Chevrolet Malibu.

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Malibu Tail Light Assembly
Open Trunk
Unscrew Cargo Net Anchor
This automotive maintenance "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 7th generation (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) General Motors Chevrolet Malibu in replacing a burnt out combination brake & turn signal bulb or the reverse bulb in the tail light assemblies.

Owners of other related GM vehicles such as the Buick Regal, Buick LaCrosse, Saab 9-5, 9-3, Opel Insignia, Saturn Aura, Cadillac BLS, Fiat Croma, Opel Vectra, Signum, Pontiac G5, G5 and G8 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

Replacement tail light bulbs for the 08-12 Malibu include the following with their part numbers: Brake / Turn Signal # 3157, Reverse Light # 921.

The only tools needed to replace either of the two tail light bulbs is a flathead screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers.

Remove Cargo Net Hook
Pry Out Pop Rivet
Pull With Needle Nose Pliers
The first two steps are to pop open the trunk and move to the side with the burnt out tail light bulb.

Locate the two black plastic cargo net anchors on the rear wall of the trunk and twist them off in the counter clockwise direction.

Xmas Tree Fastener Removed
Remove Lower Anchor
2 Net Anchors, 2 Rivets
Then remove the two black plastic Christmas Tree or "pop rivet" fasteners that secure the carpeting at the top edge of the trunk using a flathead screwdriver or needle nose pliers.
Pull Back Trunk Carpet
3 Black Thumb Screws
Twist Off Thumb Screws
Pull back the trunk carpeting to reveal the three black plastic thumb nuts that hold the tail light assembly to the vehicle.

Twist off the thumb nuts in the counter clockwise direction.

3 Thumb Nuts Removed
Pull Off Tail Light Assembly
Turn Over Tail Light
Once the three thumb nuts have been removed from the screw ends, you can gently pull off the tail light assembly from the rear of the vehicle.

Turn the tail light housing face down on to the bumper to access the combination brake and turn signal dual filament bulb.

To help prevent scratching the plastic tail light lens or the bumper, place a rag in between them.

Brake / Turn Signal Socket
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Pull Out Socket
Grasp the base of the brake / turn signal light bulb socket and rotate it 1/4 turn counter clockwise before pulling it straight out of the housing.
Pull Out Light Bulb
Sylvania 3157 Dual Filament
Insert New Bulb & Socket


Pull the old brake / turn signal light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new # 3157 dual filament brake & turn signal light bulb straight into the socket.

Insert the new bulb and the socket back into the tail light housing. Rotate the socket 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it in place.

1/4 Turn Clockwise To Lock
Test Brake Light & Turn Signal
Line Up Screws & Holes
Have someone step on the brake pedal to test the new light bulb and also activate the turn signals.

Then line up the screws on the rear of the tail light assembly with the holes in the corner of the vehicle.

Push Tail Light In Place
Twist On 3 Thumb Nuts
Replace Trunk Carpet
Push the tail light assembly into place until it is flush with the metal body work of the vehicle.

Move to the inside corner of the trunk and twist on the three thumb nuts until they are just past hand tight.

Replace the carpet over the rear of the trunk.

Push In Pop Rivets
Twist On Cargo Net Anchors
Reverse (Back Up) Light
Line up the holes in the trunk carpeting with the holes in the metal before pushing the black plastic Xmas tree fasteners in.

The reverse or "back up" light is located inside the trunk lid.

Trunk Lid Carpet
Pull Out Xmas Tree Fastener
Pull Back Carpeting
Look on the underside of the trunk lid and remove the one black plastic pop rivet fastener closest to the reverse light housing.
Reverse Light Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise
Pull Socket Out of Trunk Lid
Pull back the trunk lid carpeting to reveal the white and light grey reverse light socket.

Rotate the socket 1/4 turn counter clockwise to unlock it and pull it straight out of the trunk lid.

Pull Out Old Bulb
Push In New Bulb - Testing
Insert New Bulb & Socket
Pull the old reverse light bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new # 921 light bulb into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter reverse lights, install some compatible replacement 921 LED bulbs.

Insert the bulb and the socket back into the reverse light housing in the trunk lid. Rotate the socket 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it into place.

You can easily test the new bulb by pressing the Lock / Unlock buttons on the key fob remote control.

1/4 Turn Clockwise
Replace Trunk Lid Carpeting
Push In Black Plastic Rivet
Replace the trunk lid carpeting back over the reverse light bulb socket and push in the one black plastic pop rivet.

Please check out my other 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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