1965-1966 Mustang Backup Light Install Guide

1965-1966 Mustang Backup Light Install Guide

Last Updated October 9, 2023 | Bill Tumas

Backup lights for classic Mustangs are prone to wear out over time due to their location. Replacing your 1965-1966 Mustang backup light housings with new chrome replacements is not only a great way to give your classic Mustang a restored look, but also an important safety upgrade if your stock bulbs don't shine like they used to.

Check out this guide for step-by-step instructions on how to replace your factory backup lights, including the housing, lenses, and bulbs. We also include instructions for installing LED bulbs if you're upgrading from incandescents.The install should only take around an hour, so you'll be back on the road in no time.

1965-1966 Mustang Backup Light Install Instructions

For this installation, we'll be using a 1965-1966 Mustang backup light kit as a direct fit replacement for the factory backup light. In addition to replacing factory lights, this kit can be used to add backup lights with the proper balance and wiring. It also includes all necessary hardware for installation.

Parts and Tools Needed:

  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • ¼” Ratchet
  • 11/32” Socket
  • ⅜” Socket
  • 6” Extension

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Step 1: Install Bulb in Housing

Using the hardware provided with your install kit, line the bulb up with the studs in the housing. Push the bulb down and turn to lock it in place.

Mechanic installing a backup light bulb on a classic Mustang

Step 2 (Optional): Install LED Bulb

If you're using LED backup lights instead of the stock incandescent bulbs, place the connector in the housing. Press in slightly and turn the adapter to the right to lock it into place.

Place the wires into the housing and install the LED plate in the front of the assembly.

Mechanic installing an LED backup light on a classic Mustang

Pro Tip: If you'd like a more detailed explanation of this step, check out our install video for LED backup lights.

Step 3: Install Lens

Grab the gasket provided with the light kit and install it in the inner section of the housing. Once the gasket is in position, place the lens on top and tighten the screws to secure the lens.

Mechanic screwing in a backup light lens on a classic Mustang

Step 4: Remove Taillight Harness Nut

The wiring for the backup light connects to the taillight harness. Unplug the taillight wire from the harness and unscrew the small bolt holding it in place.

Mechanic removing the backup light wiring on a classic Mustang

Step 5: Remove Filler Board

Undo the screws holding the filler board in place and remove the board. The wiring harness extends down to the side of the trunk filler board. There'll be a grommet at the base. Push the grommet through the hole and feed the taillight wire behind it through the hole.

Mechanic removing the trunk filler board on a classic Mustang

Step 6: Remove Factory Backup Light

Head underneath the car. There'll be two nuts connected to screws at the base of the factory backup light. Unscrew these nuts with a wrench to remove the factory backup light.

Mechanic removing the factory backup light on a classic Mustang

Step 7: Install Gasket on New Backup Light

Take the gasket included with the new backup light and install it by hand around the base of the housing attachment point. Make sure the gasket is snug around the assembly.

Mechanic installing backup light gasket on a classic Mustang

Step 8: Install New Backup Light

Feed the wiring through the outer frame of your Mustang and pull the screws through the holes in the frame. Screw in the nuts supplied with your backup light and tighten them down.

Mechanic installing new backup light on a classic Mustang

Step 9: Reattach Backup Light Wiring

Feed the wiring back through the side of the filler board and into the trunk. Ground the backup light to the taillight body and connect the wiring to the harness.

Repeat steps 1-8 for the other side.

Mechanic reinstalling new backup light wiring on a classic Mustang

Congratulations, you're all done!

Finish the Lighting Upgrades on Your Classic Mustang

Check out more installs to finish upgrading your classic Mustang's lighting:

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.