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Unread 09-14-2011, 06:24 AM
bLu04dd bLu04dd is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 57
Lightbulb How-To: replace your 'reverse/backup light switch'

FYI: this was for a 2004 Chevy Cavalier base with a 5spd. It is most likely the same on all Getrag F23 transmissions (I think 02-05 Cav/Sunfires?)

Your car goes into Reverse just fine, but you noticed your reverse lights dont come on anymore?

Chances are, it's simply your "backup light switch". Can be had for about $26.99 at Auto Zone (http://www.autozone.com/autozone/par...artNumber=true)

The good news is, its very easy to install a new one, and it only takes a few quick steps. I'll show you with some rather crappy iPhone pics, and less than 30minutes of your time, how you can get a new switch installed and making sure people see you backing up in parking lots! (and illuminate that dark driveway like mine!)

Basic tools required:
1. 7mm socket
2. wratchet, for said socket
3. 3in extension, just makes it easier, not 100% necessary
4. 3/4" wrench
5. Jack
6. Jack stand (ALWAYS use one under the car)
7. NEW reverse switch (I got the Duralast "RB451") - $26.99
8. your car (if you dont have this, get one..makes it way easier! )

1. JACK UP THE CAR, REMOVE D/F WHEEL: pretty simple, mine has tuner lugs and my air gun helps tremendously with this, set the wheel out of the way, and make sure you have room to work inside the wheel well.

2. REMOVE INNER WHEEL LINER: there are 4 (7mm) bolts holding on part of the plastic wheel liner you need to remove. There is also a tab underneath (sort of like the press-in tabs holding fabric into your trunk or interior).

3. LOCATE SWITCH, UNPLUG WIRE: for some reason, GM thought it would be smart to face the tab to release the plug from the switch, FACING THE MOTOR. so this is easier without mechanic gloves on. You simply lift the tab from the switch, and pull. I used two hands, very easy and it comes right out.

4. REMOVE THE REVERSE SWITCH: mine came off VERY easy. I only had to give it a very small turn (3/4" wrench) before it was easy enough to unscrew by hand. You shouldnt have any fluid or anything come out, I believe this is higher than the fluid actually sits in the transmission.

5. INSTALL THE NEW REVERSE SWITCH: my method of putting ANYTHING threaded on, twist it as if you were UNscrewing it, until you feel the threads pass the 'entrance' thread. then turn clockwise to tighten by hand. With mine, there was no way to tighten it down with the tab for the plug facing me, so i had to reinstall it the way the old one was, facing the motor. Plugging the connector back in is that easy. It literally snaps right in.

6. HAVE SOMEONE CHECK: you can either be doing this in a garage and see via illumination, or have a friend stand behind the car and watch for the reverse lights to come on. I had to start the car (in neutral, while on jack stands), and then put it into reverse...WALAA!

7. REINSTALL REMAINING PARTS IN REVERSE ORDER: the installation takes all of 30minutes if you havent done it before and the part itself swaps out in a matter of seconds.

Thats it. You are now legal (actually I dont believe many states if any REQUIRE reverse lights, but its dumb not to have them for obvious reasons). Plus you might have gotten to inspect a few other parts that are easy to get to like me, I noticed its time for the poly bushing upgrade
bLu. 04. 2dr. 5spd. my dd.

Last edited by bLu04dd; 09-14-2011 at 06:30 AM.
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Unread 01-05-2013, 10:43 AM
fredster fredster is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1

Thank you for taking the time to post this! I'm not very mechanical and I was able to get this done. Saved me some shop time and some bucks, plus it's a great feeling to do it yourself!
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Unread 10-16-2013, 02:50 AM
Benguard Benguard is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Default Thanks!!

Thanks for the pics, they help alot, I just recently found out that I had this problem, Am thinking that the switch may have gotten bumped or unpligged.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 11:56 AM
rd_25 rd_25 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1

My reverse lights are not working in my 03 Cavalier. I have changed the bulbs and even checked to see that there is in fact power going to the lights. If there is power but no light would it actually be the switch? All fuses are ok
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Unread 11-06-2013, 12:38 AM
binzer's Avatar
binzer binzer is offline
MOD Squad
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 2,034

Try putting a dab of dielectric grease into each bulb socket.

Nothing is as easy as it looks... Everything takes longer than you expect...
And if anything can go wrong, it will... At the worst possible moment.
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Unread 11-08-2013, 07:33 AM
chevytuner02 chevytuner02 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 36

Very nice write up!
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