How to Remove a Broken Bulb

Don't get the broken-bulb blues. Here's a tip on how to remove that pesky thing

Maybe you don't have needle-nose pliers handy or perhaps they didn't seem to do the trick, well you can use the handle of a small plastic screwdriver to help remove the bulb's base.Photography by Mark Zimmerman

Have you ever had a small, burned-out bulb break off in your hand when you tried to remove it from its socket? Usually the scene plays out with either the bulb shattering in your fingers, which can get nasty, or simply twisting clean off its base, which remains stuck in the socket. In either case you're now faced with the challenge of removing what's left of the bulb from the lamp without making a hash of things. Sometimes you can reach in there with needle-nose pliers and twist the thing out, but occasionally the bulb base is below the socket or a needle-nose isn't handy. In those cases you can use the handle of the small, plastic screwdriver nearly every motorcycle manufacturer includes in the on-board tool kit. Just stick the rounded end of the handle into the socket, bear down a little, give 'er a twist and the socket should walk right out of there. And when you install the new bulb, remember to coat the sides of the base with a copper-based, anti-seize material or, better yet, a little dielectric grease to prevent it from also seizing in its socket.