You did it...you stripped out
the Phillips screw that holds your taillight on, and now you're kinda screwed. Here's a simple solution: Grab your
favorite rotary tool and turn that Phillips head into a flat head. I use the
standard grinding disc that most rotary tools come with. I suppose a cutoff
tool with a thin profile would work as well.
existing hole in the screw acts as a guide. Once you get the slot started, make
sure to move the tool back and forth—you don't want a slot with a curved
bottom. Also, try to hold the tool as perpendicular to the head as possible. If
you grind the slot at an angle, you'll end up with another stripped-out screw
always, let the tool do the work: Don't push too hard or the grinding wheel
will want to jump out of the slot, or you'll break the bit. And don't
overgrind—on one occasion, I ground too deep and the screw head split in half
when I tried to loosen it.
There's no guarantee that you
won't need to resort to more drastic methods of screw extraction, but this
simple trick has saved me a dozen times.
— Mark Petersen, Contributing
more tips on removing Phillips screws, check out:
How to Loosen a Stuck Phillips Screw
How to Extract a Broken Screw
drive screws so they don't get stripped in the first place:
How to Drive Screws Perfectly