There is a plastic circle inside the car....pop out the side you need to replace...unscrew the bolt and the whole taillight will pop out of the body, replace the bulb then do the same to put it back together
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the brake lights don't light up or the taillights don't light up? the brake lights are brighter than the tailights so the tailights won't show up whenbrakes are applied. if no lights work when brakes are applied then check for a bad ground at the light assembly.
you will need to remove the tail lamp.
standing behind the vehicle, with the trunk open , inside on the affected side you will see a small plastic cover, remove this and under neath is a nut. remove the nut. now you have to gently prise the tail lamp out(taking care with paint work). start at the outside of the lamp. once removed, changing the bulb is straight foward. you will see the lugs for refitting the lamp.
Unscrew the knob behined the light in the Boot / Trunk and the use a small screwdriver on the OUTSIDE of the light on the right handside as you look at the light in the middle on the outside. You will feel a little spring clip and as you push gently the light will pullout forward. http://laudeman.com/volkswagen/
Go to the above link and you will get picture wise explanation for the same tail light bulb replacement. It has step by step picture explanation.
The brake light switch has been recalled on New Beetles. I've replaced mine twice on my 2001. I was reimbursed by VW both times. I just had my regular mechanic fix it and turned in the paperwork. You can take it to the dealer and they should cover it, but I hate going to dealers because they always try to say something else is wrong with the car.
The entire tail light assembly pulls out from the fender well. You can access the socket for the tail light on the inside of the trunk, but in order to change the bulbs you will need to pull the tail light assembly out from the socket. Check inside to see if there are any retaining straps, otherwise use your fingers to get under the outer edge of the tail light assembly and gentlu pull it out. Don't pull too far because the wires will still be connected between the tail light assembly and the socket. The bulbs are then easily accessible and can be changed. Reverse the procedure to re-install.