VW Tail/Brake Light Replacement Fiasco

Not too long ago I noticed that the two left tail/brake light bulbs on the Volkswagen Passat were burned out. I went to the auto parts store and popped out the burned out bulb to look for some identifying markings. They were Phillips bulbs, but the auto parts store had only Sylvania bulbs. So after looking up the car’s make and model in the parts book, I bought a pair of 7528LL bulbs.

I spent quite some time in the parking lot trying to twist and turn the bulbs to get them in, but I finally succeeded.  After I got home, I had my wife take a look at the back of the car while I played with the headlights and pressed on the brakes.  To my frustration, one of the two left side bulbs still didn’t work.  In addition, the two bulbs on the right side were dim, so I figured those were about to go soon and also needed replacing. Still, the situation was at least better than it was before, and with it being too late to do anything else about it that day, I would finish the job later.

Finally during lunch today I took the Passat to the auto parts store to complete the project.  I popped out the two dim bulbs on the right side.  These were Sylvania bulbs, and much to my surprise, they were marked 7225 instead of 7528LL!  Upon closer inspection, those two bulbs are identical, except for a slight difference in the orientation of the prongs.  Argh, no wonder I was having problems getting those other bulbs in!  So I left the auto parts store with four new 7225 bulbs, which went in smoothly, only taking just a couple of minutes to replace them all.

Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I checked the Sylvania website just to make sure I didn’t make a mistake in reading the parts book at the store. Sure enough, the website showed that 7528LL bulbs were needed, not the 7225 bulbs that actually fit! So maybe I’m not going crazy after all!