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How To Change RV Ceiling Light Bulb

If you have stumbled upon this guide, you are probably wondering how to change your RVs ceiling light bulb. As you may already know, taking care of your RV is very important and it includes repairs and maintenance of large as well as small appliances. Some of these appliances like the light bulbs in your RV are very important to check from time to time if you don’t want them to fail when you are on a long-distance trip. A lot of users take out their RVs to camp in forests and mountains, places where finding a replacement for such appliances is literally impossible.

Therefore, it is always wise to keep 1 or 2 extra light bulbs in your RV at all times and keep checking their status before starting your journey. You may also want to change your RVs light bulb in case you are not getting the same performance as before, or if you have found an energy-efficient alternative to reduce the overall load on your limited electrical power supply and extend the battery backup of your RVs generator. In any case, this guide will be ultimately helpful for you.

Reasons for Changing Your RV Ceiling Light Bulb

Before we dive into the process of changing an RVs ceiling light bulb, let us try to understand some important reasons behind why you would want to change the light bulb. We can also conclude whether you need to change the light bulb or not by referencing your case with the points mentioned here.

One of the main reasons RV users need to change the RV ceiling light bulb is because it is dead or has become so dim that it cannot illuminate the surrounding area well enough. In such a case, you would have to get a replacement light bulb as well as an additional one as a backup so that you can safely start your trip without any worries.

Another reason is related to the power consumption of the light source. By default, most RV ceiling lights are bulbs that usually consume tremendous amounts of power since they work on the principle of heat. So, electricity is used to heat up the filaments that produce light once it reacts with the gas inside the bulb. While these traditional lights have been in use for more than decades now, these options are not that great when it comes to efficiency.

So, a lot of RV users are switching to LED alternatives since these lights are significantly more efficient and they reduce a lot of load from your generator once you replace all of the bulbs with LEDs. While some users prefer a lighting fixture with a lower power rating, these options are not as bright as an LED light around the same price point. LED lights also have a much better lifespan and you don’t have to worry about the damage caused by constant shocks and impacts since LEDs are not as fragile as bulbs.

Things You Need for This Tutorial

Now that you have understood why you need to change your RVs light bulb, let us get you prepared by discussing some essential things that you need by your side before you can start the task. There are a handful of tools and accessories that you need by your side to be able to change your RVs ceiling light bulb without any problems.

1. Manual

The first thing that you should get your hands on is the owner’s manual which must have come along with other RV documents when you purchased the unit. These manuals usually contain all of the information about the interior wiring and circuitry of the RV that allows you to find the most efficient way to make changes in the unit such as replacing a light bulb. Since different RVs are designed with different lighting fixtures and lights, having the manual will be certainly helpful in case your RV requires a certain type of tool to open up the lighting fixture.

Here, you can also check the exact specifications of the lighting fixtures installed in your RV. In fact, most manuals feature a diagram of the fixture to help you understand the fixture from the inside out so that you can easily deal with its opening points and replace the light bulb. From the manual, you can find the perfect tool as well as a wiring diagram for the lighting fixture, allowing you to easily change the light bulb without messing with other parameters.

Another important piece of information present inside the manual is the electrical specification of the light bulb that is supported by the circuit. These specifications include wattage, amperage, and voltage ratings so that you can choose the right alternative for your RVs ceiling light bulb. With that info in mind, you can shortlist the perfect option for a light bulb for your RVs ceiling and avoid compatibility issues later on.

2. New Light Bulb

As you are replacing a light bulb in your RV, you obviously need a new unit to replace the older one. One of the best features of lighting fixtures installed on RVs is that it supports various different types of light sources such as LEDs, incandescent lights, fluorescent lights, etc. Still, you should check the manual first and see the options that are suitable for your RV and choose the most efficient one for your job. Here’s what you can expect from different light options.

a. Incandescent Light Bulb

Incandescent lights are probably the most traditional options that most RVs use, even to this date. These lights feature a vintage design and offer pretty bright illumination. But with that it also introduces high energy consumption, increasing the overall load on your RVs generator. Another demerit of incandescent lights is that they have a rather short lifespan and generate a yellowing hue which is not preferred by many users.

b. LED Light Bulbs and Bar

LEDs are probably the best option that you can install in your RV considering the limited energy source such as an inverter or generator powering all of the appliances in your RV. LED lights are best known for their energy efficiency as well as longer lifespan. Also, a standard LED can offer up to 72 lumens output whereas an incandescent light with the same power consumption offers only 15 lumens. This is a massive difference in both energy efficiency as well as illumination levels.

c. Halogen Light

Halogen lights are basically incandescent bulbs, but with significantly higher output capacity. If you are opting for a halogen light instead of incandescent or LEDs, you will probably only need one unit which is enough to replace 4 to 5 of its competitors at once. But, it is still no match to an LED or CFL light when it comes to energy efficiency.

d. Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent lights or, as they are more commonly known as CFL lights might seem an advanced alternative option for RV ceiling lights. But, these lights have been in the market for decades now. The most important benefit of a CFL light is that it can emit a rather warm white hue ranging between 2700K to 6000K color temperature. These lights are also more durable compared to incandescent bulbs.

3. Other Tools

Now, the only additional tool that you need before replacing an RVs ceiling light in most cases is a standard screwdriver. You will need that to loosen up the screws holding the fixture in its place so that you can easily remove and replace the lightbulb without damaging the fixture. Some RVs feature a tool-free lighting fixture that eliminates the need for a screwdriver altogether and you can easily loosen the fixture with your bare hands. If you are planning to change the electrical circuit or fix some wires, it might also be helpful to keep electrical tape around.

Steps on How to Change RV Ceiling Light Bulb

Now that you are fully prepared with all peripherals and accessories that you need to change the lightbulb of your RVs ceiling, let us get on with the process of changing the bulb. Keep in mind that you are dealing with a highly powerful lighting socket here and you need to be very careful while following these steps. And if you don’t have any previous experience with such a job, we will suggest observing a professional do it first and then try it out by yourself the next time.

Step 1. Turn off the Power

The very first thing that you should do before dealing with electrical appliances or sockets is turn OFF the power supply to the particular socket before you move forward. It is highly recommended to turn OFF the switch before you start dealing with the lighting fixture so that you can prevent any harm to yourself or the replacement bulb that you are installing.

To be on the safe side, you can also turn OFF the main power supply of the RV altogether so that there is no chance of getting a shock from any of the power sockets. However, it is only possible if you are performing the task during the daytime. Otherwise, you will need an external light source while you are replacing the ceiling light of your RV.

Step 2. Remove the RV Ceiling Light Casing

Once the power is safely disconnected, you can start taking out the light casing to expose the lighting fixture. If the RV ceiling light casing is circular, you simply need to rotate it counterclockwise to loosen it. But before that, check if the fixture is hot or not since incandescent lights tend to warm up the bulb as well as the fixture if they are ON for a long time.

For a rectangular fixture, you will have to pry open it which is possible with a flat-head screwdriver. Simply insert the screwdriver and gently force the fixture against the ceiling to pry it open. Once the fixture is removed, you will be able to examine the lighting fixture and proceed based on its design.

If there are screws on your casing, make sure you remove the screws before you pry open the casing to avoid breaking it. Some fixtures include screw-in type mounts for light bulbs that do not require you to loosen the mouse at all.

Step 3. Take out the Old Light Bulb

If you find the traditional screw-in type light bulb, you can simply rotate the bulb to remove it from the fixture. If you seem unable to budget the light bulb, try pressing it inwards and then rotating it. Once it is loosened, it will simply pop out of the socket.

On the other hand, if you have an LED light, you will have to refer to the wiring diagram before you can remove the light. Most RVs these days feature a plug-type connection so that you can just press the side clips and pull out the plug to disconnect the light. But before doing that, make sure you check out the service manual and see if there is something more to the fixture than mentioned here.

Step 4. Install the New Light Bulb

Now, you simply have to put the replacement light bulb in its place. Again, it is quite an easy job with the traditional screw-in type light bulb fixtures. To install the light, you simply need to put the light in its place and rotate the unit clockwise to secure the installation. Once the light seems to be fixed in its position, you can let it go slowly and see if it’s properly installed or not.

If you are dealing with LED lights, you will have to plug the ends to secure the connection. Again, you should follow the guidelines provided on your RV service manual as well as the manual that came with the LED light to be on the safe side. This will also allow you to choose the right positioning for your light for the best results.

Step 5. Test the Light

Once that is done, you are finished with the installation. But before you put the casing back on, it is wiser to test the light. This way, you can quickly make changes to the installation and save some time in case something does not fit right. To do that, simply turn ON the main power supply if that was turned OFF and switch on the light key. Once you have tested the functionality of the light, turn OFF the power supply or disconnect the main power source again before reapplying the fixture.

Step 6. Fix the Light Casing

While you are putting the lighting fixture back in its place, make sure that you carefully arrange the wires so that all the wires are hidden inside the fixture. Not only does it make the setup look cleaner, but also allows you to securely install the fixture back in its place without any gaps.

Lastly, fasten the screws in case there are any and place the top cover to finish the installation. Once you do that, you are finished with the installation of a new and better RV ceiling light in your RV.


If you are noticing any problems with your RVs ceiling lights, it is better to get it repaired as soon as possible so that you don’t face any problems later on. And doing so should be quite easy now considering you have gone through our guide on how to change the RV ceiling lights. In this guide, we have offered you various reasons behind needing to replace the lightbulb of an RV along with a proper step-by-step guide to safely replace the lightbulb on your RVs ceiling. If you find this guide helpful, let us know in the comment section below. You can also post your thoughts or doubts on the topic and we will reach out to you right away.

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