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Kia Optima Reverse & Parking Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out reverse or parking tail light bulb in a 4th generation 2016 to 2020 Kia Optima sedan.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

2019 Optima Tail Lights
Parking & Reverse Light
Open Trunk Lid
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 model years) Kia Optima sedan in changing a burnt out reverse (back-up) or parking light bulb in the inner tail light housing attached to the trunk lid.

Owners of other Kia, Hyundai or Genesis vehicles such as the Niro, Sportage, Sedona, Telluride, Sorento, Rio, Forte, Soul, K900, Cadenza, K5, Stinger, Tucson, Santa Fe, Kona, Palisade, Elantra, Sonata, Accent, Veloster, Ioniq, Nexo, Venue, G70, G80 and G90 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part numbers are as follows: Reverse # 921 (or W16W) and Parking # 2825 (or W5W).

If you would like to have brighter reverse or parking lights, install some 921 LED and 2825 LED bulbs.

The tools needed to access and replace the bulbs include a small flat head screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver and a plastic pry bar tool or a pop rivet removal tool.

The first two steps are to open the trunk lid for the cargo area and then move to the side of the vehicle with the burnt out light bulb.


Pry Open Handle Cover
Two Screws Exposed
Loosen Counterclockwise
If you are replacing a burnt out bulb in the passenger side inner tail light housing, you'll have to detach the black plastic "PULL" handle attached to the underside of the trunk lid.

Pry open the cover on the "PULL" handle by inserting a small flat head screwdriver into the notch at the middle of the bottom edge.

Swing up the cover to expose the two Phillips head screws.

Remove the two screws by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with a Phillips head screwdriver.

Two Screws Removed
Pry Out Small Button
Remove Base of Fastener
Set the two screws aside in a safe place.

Then remove the round black plastic pop rivets.

Use the small flat head screwdriver to pry out the button in the center of the pop rivet to unlock it.

Then pull out the base of the fastener with a pop rivet removal tool or the flat head screwdriver.

Removing Pop Rivets
2016-2020-Kia-Optima-Reverse-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-011 2016-2020-Kia-Optima-Reverse-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-012
More Pop Rivets
Continue removing the pop rivets all around the back side of the inner tail light housing.
2016-2020-Kia-Optima-Reverse-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-013 2016-2020-Kia-Optima-Reverse-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-014 2016-2020-Kia-Optima-Reverse-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-015
2 Screws & Pop Rivets
If you are just replacing a burnt out bulb in one of the two inner tail light housings, you don't have to remove all of the pop rivets.

I left the trunk lid liner attached by a few pop rivets on the driver side to make re-installing it later on a little bit easier.

Fabric Liner Removed
Two Bulb Sockets
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Once the trunk lid liner is out of the way, you'll be able to see the two bulb sockets on the back side of the housing.

The grey bulb socket located closer to the top of the housing contains the parking light or "inner tail light".

Rotate the base of the socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Parking Light Bulb Socket
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Push In New Light Bulb
Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new miniature wedge base number 2825 (or W5W) light bulb straight into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter parking lights, install some compatible replacement 2825 LED bulbs.

New Light Bulb Installed
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Reverse Bulb Socket
Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

The larger white plastic bulb socket closer to the bottom of the housing contains the reverse or "back-up" light bulb.

Rotate the base of the bulb socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Bulb Socket Removed
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Old Light Bulb Removed
Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing a stuck or stubborn light bulb due to corrosion (rust) or debris such as sand, try gently wiggling the bulb back and forth before pulling it straight out.

Install New Light Bulb
Re-Insert Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Push a new number 921 (or W16W) miniature wedge base light bulb straight into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter reverse lights that will also last a lot longer than the incandescent bulbs before burning out, install some compatible 921 LED bulbs.

Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

Replace Trunk Lid Liner
Push Over Trunk Support
Over Electronic Latch
Push the fabric trunk lid liner back into place.

Make sure the bottom of the liner goes over the two trunk support arms and the hole at the center of the top edge is placed over the electronic trunk latch mechanism.

Re-Insert Pop Rivets
Pop In Center Buttons
Replace Two Screws
Re-insert the pop rivets and push in the round center pieces to lock them into place.

Replace the two screws into the "PULL" handle by turning them in the clockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver until they are snug.

Two Screws Secured
Close Pull Handle Cover
Test New Reverse Bulb
Close the cover on the "PULL" handle until it clicks securely into place.

To test the new reverse and parking lights, turn on the headlights and have an assistant hold the brake pedal before shifting the transmission into reverse.

Tip - If you installed LED bulbs and they don't work, try removing the bulb from the socket, rotate it 180 degrees and push it back into the socket again. Some LED bulbs are "polarized" and will only work when the "+" positive and "-" negative electrical contacts are in the correct orientation.

Be sure to write down the bulb change in your vehicle's service records.

Check out my 2016-2020 Kia Optima Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide if you need to change a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or rear side marker light bulb in the main tail light housing attached to the rear corner of the vehicle.

Please check out all of my 2016-2020 Kia Optima DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
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