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C5 Corvette Blinker Bulb Replacement

Technically Speaking: How to Change the Front Blinker Bulb on Your C5

James Berry Aug 30, 2018
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Question

I know this may sound like a ridiculous question, but my left front blinker is flashing fast, I think the left front blinker bulb is burned out because it is not illumining. I have changed out bulbs on other cars, but I can’t seem to find out how to get to the bulb on the C5 Corvette.

I checked with a local shop and they want to charge me more than I think it is worth to replace a bulb. I searched the Internet and found that you are supposed to raise the car to access the bulb from underneath. I do not have a way to raise my Corvette at home safely so I was wondering if there’s an easy way to get to the bulb without removing the front fascia?

Thanks,
Joseph

Answer

Yes, Joseph, there is a way to access the front parking and turn signal bulb without raising your vehicle. The method described below is how I change the front bulbs in all of the C5 Corvettes I service.

For anyone wanting to know how to tell when your turn signal is malfunctioning, the green turn signal indicator on the dash will normally flash at two or three times its normal rate when one of the turn signal lights is not functioning correctly.

Changing the Front Parking or Turn Signal Bulb

Open the hood.

Turn the headlights on and allow the headlight buckets to open. Then turn the headlight switch back one click, which should turn the headlights off but leave the headlight buckets in the up position.

Take a marker and mark the threads of the hood adjustment bumper just above the adjustment nut.

The headlight bumper adjustment screw removed.

Blinker Bulb Replacement Loosen Adjustment Nut 2/4

Loosen the adjustment nut just enough to allow the bumper to be unscrewed and removed, do not remove the adjustment nut.

Depending on the size of your arm you may also need to remove the black plastic shroud that surrounds the headlight. It is fastened to the headlight frame with three Phillips head screws.

The parking light and turn signal bulb removed.

Blinker Bulb Replacement Remove Parking Light Turn Signal 3/4

Reach down and locate the turn signal light socket, to remove the socket squeeze on the plastic tab while twisting the bulb holder, usually clockwise, approximately one-eighth of a turn.

The bulb should then simply pull out of the socket for inspection or replacement. The bulb part number is marked on the bulb, and should be PN 3157NA LL or PN 4157NA LL Amber Bulb.

Parking light and turn signal socket inspection.

Blinker Bulb Replacement Inspect Parking Light Turn Signal Socket 4/4

Check to see if there is any corrosion in the turn signal light socket or on the old bulb. If there is corrosion in the light socket, try cleaning it with a wire brush and apply some dielectric grease when installing the new bulb.

Inspect the socket for melted plastic where the bulb plugs in or burn marks on the plastic. The heat that is generated from the bulb is known to cause the original socket to melt or discolor, requiring it to be replaced. If the bulb holder socket is melted it will need to be replaced with a new bulb socket and pigtail. If you are replacing the bulb socket and pigtail I recommend to solder the wires together and use shrink wrap around the soldered areas to protect the wires from moisture.

Slide the new bulb into the socket, making certain that it snaps into place. Now is a good time to test the turn signal to ensure it works before reinstalling the bulb socket back into the housing.

After verifying the blinker works, push the socket back into the housing and turn it back, usually counterclockwise, to lock in place.

If you removed the headlight shroud for servicing the bulb, replace the headlight shroud. Make sure the top of the shroud slides up and over the spring clip above the headlight.

Screw the hood adjustment bumper back in place and tighten the adjustment nut.

Gently close the hood and make sure that the hood adjustment is still correct.

I find the method described above is the easiest way to access the front bulbs without raising the vehicle. However, there is another way. Under the front nose there is a plastic panel that is secured with approximately seven self-tapping screws, remove the panel and you can reach up to the backside of the lamp housing and remove the turn signal light socket.

Joseph, this will hopefully make changing the turn signal bulb a simple and less expensive job for you. Let me know how this works out.

Photography by James Berry

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