Like many jeep owners, I'm proud of my jeep.  I like it to look good too.  However, by jeep standards looking good is relative.  
Covered with mud?  Looks great!  
A little scratch or ding from your last offroading trip?  Adds character!  
A busted tail light because you were stupid and smashed the garbage can into it?  Not acceptable, that has to go.  

As you can see, I put a nice hole directly through my tail light.  I could have taped it over or generally kludged it together, but that kind of stuff is only acceptable on jeeps if you broke it doing something interesting.  Smashing it with the garbage can is decidedly NOT interesting.  To fix it I needed a new tail light housing.  In this set of instructions I'll go through how to remove the old broken assembly, remove all the lights from it, and then install the new tail light assembly.  It's relatively straight forward and can be done by a single person in about 30 minutes unless you're terrified of picking up a wrench (side note: if that's the case, you may want to get something other than a jeep).  This is about as simple as it gets for car maintenance.  It does take some tools that you may not have lying around but it will be much cheaper to buy the tools than it would be to pay somebody to fix this.

This set of instructions works for Jeep Cherokees from '97 to '01.  It will also give you access to the bulbs if you just need to replace one of them.  From what I understand, '84 to '96 Cherokees are similar, but can be more tricky because they have an extra bolt to be removed.  Due to the placement of that bolt it can be harder to remove.  I'll mention where that bolt is when I get to the part where the instructions diverge, but if you have an older jeep you're going to have to figure that out on your own.

One more thing before we get started, some people (mostly people uneducated in the ways of the jeep) confuse the normal Cherokee with the Grand Cherokee.  If yours does not look look like the nice boxy beauty in the second picture these instructions aren't for you.  

Step 1: The Tools You'll Need

While I have a bunch of tools laying around I didn't have some of the stuff I needed for this job.  Even though the bolts look very accessible there's not much space between the tail light housing and the bolts so you can't use many of the sockets and wrenches you probably have laying around.  The sockets I have with a 3/8 drive (if you have no idea what I'm talking about read this ) were too wide and I couldn't get to the bolts.  I ended up needing to get 1/4 in drive sockets because they're narrower.  These are the tools I ended up using and you can see them in the picture.

1. Ratchet wrench, 3/8 in drive
2. Adapter, 3/8 in drive to 1/4 in drive
3. 6 in long extension, 1/4 in drive
4. 10 mm socket
5. 7 mm socket

There's a very good reason I didn't use a 1/4 in drive ratchet, I don't own one.  In fact, I didn't own a single 1/4 drive socket at all so I had to go out and buy some tools.  Now, I could have bought a 1/4 in ratchet for this job but I decided against it because the adapter was cheaper and works fine for this job.  Other than that I spent $30 on a cheaper socket set, an extension set, and an adapter set from the home depot.  These are sizes I'm only going to use very occasionally so unlike most of my tools I felt ok getting cheaper ones.  I highly recommend though when you buy tools like this you buy them in sets.  Sometimes you can buy single sockets or a single extension, but I guarantee for your next job you're going to have everything except the one socket that you actually need.  
<p>Great instructions! This is my first jeep and the guy I bought it from had put some VHT nightshade on the tail lights and I couldn't quite figure out if it was the bolts or the screws on the side lol</p>

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More by StraightToPlaid:How to change a tail light on a '97 to '01 Jeep Cherokee 
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