Need car parts? Select your vehicle
Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • You need flathead screwdrivers, trim removal tools, replacement retainers for door panels, and replacement lightbulbs to replace these lights.
  • Consult your car owner’s manual to determine the right lightbulbs for your ride.
  • The process differs based on whether you have dome lights or map lights.

If the inside of your car has grown dim through the years, then it might be time to replace your interior light bulbs. Vehicles are usually equipped with a dome light and a map light. The dome light is the large light source typically placed in the middle of the car’s ceiling. Map lights are also on the car ceiling but are mounted closer towards the driver and the front passenger. These are strategically placed to have a concentrated light beam towards the driver and the front passenger only. Replacing the light bulbs in both the dome light and the map light is simple and can be done at home.

What You Need to Replace Interior Light Bulbs:

  • Flathead screwdriver/interior trim removal tool
  • Replacement retainers for door panels – needed for older vehicles.
  • Replacement light bulbs
See also  How to Turn On Low Beam Headlights

Note that replacement trim parts for older vehicles aren’t available. Also, you need to know how to access bulbs, as well as the proper procedure for removing the necessary components and lenses. It’s possible that you might break something – it even happens to professionals. If you want the best results, consider getting the job done by a professional.

car interior light turned on
Vehicles are usually equipped with a dome light and a map light.


  • Consult the owner’s manual in order to purchase the correct light bulbs.
  • Replacement interior dome light bulbs are typically 10W Festoon base.
  • Replacement map light bulbs come in two types depending on the vehicle. It is either a peanut light bulb, or a Festoon base light bulb.

Steps to Replace the Dome Light

Make certain that the Dome light is in the “OFF” position and not on the “DOOR” or “ON” position.

  1. Identify the dome light in your car.
  2. Find the small opening slot between the lens and plastic molding of the dome light.
  3. Insert your screwdriver or interior trim removal tool and gently wiggle the lens free. Be very careful not to break the plastic tabs which secure the lens to the dome light. Take this opportunity to clean the lens.
  4. Pop out the old light bulb, and insert the replacement, being careful not to crack or break the bulb. Use gloves and/or a rag to prevent injury from a broken bulb.
  5. Test if the newly installed light bulb works by turning the dome light switch ON.
  6. Pop the lens back into place paying close attention to the plastic tabs that hold it to the dome light. Be aware that old lenses may break when removing or reinstalling.

Steps to Replace the Map Light

  1. Identify where the hinge and the plastic tabs are on your map light.
  2. Gently insert the flathead screwdriver or interior trim removal tool between the lens and the plastic molding of the map light. Be aware that old lenses may break when removing or reinstalling.
  3. Very carefully wiggle the map light in the direction away from the plastic tab.
  4. Once dislodged, pull the lens out along with the heat shield (if applicable).
  5. If your car’s map light uses a Festoon base light bulb, pop it out using your fingers or the interior trim removal tool. But if your map light is equipped with a wedge style peanut light bulb, pull the bulb out and carefully reinsert the replacement bulb.
  6. Test the newly installed light bulb, and return the heat shield and lens carefully.
See also  How to Clean Hazy Headlights with Household Products
car map light turned off
As with any repairs consult your owner’s manual for specific handling and equipment needed to avoid further damage.

As with any repairs consult your owner’s manual for specific handling and equipment needed to avoid further damage.

Interior lights go beyond just illuminating the inside of your car. They are also a safety feature that lets you know if you’ve left the door, or even the trunk open. It is a convenience which we all have grown accustomed to, and often take for granted. Make sure your interior lights are functioning properly because it is definitely easier replacing the interior light bulbs than feeling around your car at night looking for your keys in the dark.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

write a review sweepstakes
Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Looking to Replace My Map Lights and The Glasses Holder For My MAZDA 2012 CX9…

View all Questions & Answers

expand_more Answers BE PART OF OUR COMMUNITY: Share your knowledge & help fellow drivers Join Now
Copyright ©2023, Inc. All Rights Reserved.