2003 Ford Focus Tail Light Bulb Replacement Procedure Hatchback.

In this post, we will be showing you how to do a 2000-2004 Ford focus tail light bulb replacement procedure on a hatchback. You will have to remove the whole tail light assembly. This is an easy job that any handyman can do in around 15 minutes with only a Torx T20 screwdriver.

These combination rear brake light bulbs tend to fail every few years. The incandescent stoplight is often the first to blow as it is used more than the tail night driving navigation lights.

Parts needed:

2003 Ford Focus tail light bulb replacement procedure.

As we will be showing you how to replace the tail light bulb on a 2003 Ford Focus it will be the same procedure for years 2000 to 2004 models.

Step 1. Make sure the car is turned off and the key is removed from the ignition. Open the rear hatch and remove any excess luggage that may be in the boot.

2003 Ford Focus Tail Light Bulb Replacement procedure removal
One Torx T20 screw needs to be removed.

Step 2. Use the T20 Torx screwdriver to remove the top screw.

Step 3. Locate the wing nut that is behind the stoplight fitting inside the boot. This is located at the back of the light near the bottom. Unscrew it anticlockwise and don’t drop it.

How to remove ford focus stop light wing nut
Tail light rear wing nut inside the boot of the Ford Focus.

Step 4. Once the Torx screw and the rear wingnut are removed you can pop out the Ford Focus stop light, indicator assembly. There is a push-lock fitting near the top of the tail light that may require a little bit of force to get it out.

Gently hang the light fitting from the electrical cable or you can unplug the two push-lock electrical fittings.

Ford focus stop light indicator removal 2000-2004

Step 5. The stoplight bulb is the top bulb. The bottom one is the yellow indicator bulb. Gently turn the plastic fitting 1/4 turn anticlockwise and pull it out.

From here you can unscrew the stop light bulb. This is done by pushing in and turning anticlockwise 1/4 turn. The bulb will then pull out.

Ford focus 2003 tail light bulb replace BAY15D procedure

Step 6. Replace the blown bulb with a new 12v 21/5w BAY15D bulb. I like to buy them in packs of 2 so that I have a spare and I keep them in the glove box.

Sometimes it is hard to see if a 12v automotive bulb is blown. A good way to check is if there is any dark residue on the inside of the bulb-like black soot then it is blown. You can also use a multimeter to check the resistance.

For a 12v 21/5w bulb you would expect to see 13 ohms for the 5-watt element and 2.5 ohms for the 21-watt element.

Congratulations you have now completed your Ford Focus brake light bulb replacement. Putting it all back is just the reverse. Make sure to not overtighten the plastic rear wing nut otherwise you could damage and crack the tail light.

How to fix the rear light on a Ford Focus 2003 Sedan

The sedan model is slightly different than the hatchback to remove the tail light housing. Just check out the video below for the procedure. It is very similar to the hatchback but uses different bulbs.

What is a BAY15D bulb?

Enduralight BAY15D stop tail light 12v 21/5 for Ford Focus 2003

BA15 is a Bayonet base with a diameter of 15mm (0.59in) light bulb. The base diameter represents the number of contacts on the bottom or rear of the bulb. There are 2 base types: 
d – double contact
s – Single contact

So a BAY15D is a Bayonet cap 15mm double contact light bulb often used in automotive lights.

A blown tail/stop/indicator light can get you an infringement ticket. Be sure to repair them as soon as you notice one that has blown. I always do a pre-start check once a week on my cars and motorcycles.

How long do tail lights last?

You can expect to get around 5 years or 500 to 2000 hours out of an incandescent tail light depending on the mileage. The constant on/off cycles will degrade this number.

LED lights on the other hand are rated at 20000 to 50000 hours or 10 years. This is why many people are changing over to LED lights.


Don’t take your car to a mechanic for a simple 2003 Ford Focus tail light bulb replacement, fix it yourself. It will only cost you a few dollars and less than 1/2 hour of your time.

Try not to touch the glass bulb with your fingers as it will leave fingerprints which over time will cause a hot spot failure point. Always use a cloth, rag, or gloves to handle light bulbs. All the best.

Now that you have fixed your tail stop lights how about saving some more money by doing some DIY interior car hacks and mods for instant accessories.

Or you can go for a cool Android double din radio for the Ford Focus to make it modern again.

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