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Old 12-28-2003, 06:21 PM   #1
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HOWTO: license plate lights

okay, a simple task but a bit of an enigma. here it is explained, pictures from my (very dirty) 2001 ZX3, but the process was the same with my wife's 2001 SE as well.

1. open the trunk or hatch, get it up to eye/hand level. it's a lot easier.

2. remove your license plate (otherwise it gets wedged in once you free it from it's socket)

3. pry gently at the right (passenger) side of the light lens. i used an old keychain, but anything wide and flat should do well. (pictures 1 & 2 & 3)

4. the light will shift to the left as you pry, then it will move downward with the pry lever and pop out of it's hole. (picture 4)

5. the light is out, (picture 5) now remove the bulb from it's copper contacts and (gently) snap in the new bulb. i gave the bulb a bit of a twist in the holder, just to remove any oxidation on the contacts.

6. gently snap it back into it's hole, inserting the left side first.

7. test it out - turn on your parking lights (the license plate lights should come on even if you don't have the engine running or keys in the ignition)

8. replace your license plate and close your trunk before you drive away

that's it. note: the lights are not symmetrical; the spring is still on the left side for the passenger-side light (picture 6). this was a bit of a surprise.


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Old 12-28-2003, 06:22 PM   #2
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Old 12-28-2003, 06:24 PM   #3
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Old 12-28-2003, 06:25 PM   #4
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Old 12-28-2003, 06:26 PM   #5
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Old 12-28-2003, 06:27 PM   #6
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:04 PM   #7
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Thanks

First of all, thanks for this great info on the license plate bulb or light access.

Also I don't know if this is already a sticky, or part of an FAQ, but might be worth consideration if not.

Second of all, a co-worker of mine, a somewhat older guy, has a nice Focus Hatchback in perfect condition (Black and he had some Gray/silver flames painted on the side)
He recently discovered one of the License plate lights burned out, and he suspecs there might be water in there. Trying to access the bulb, he was afraid he would break something and might be going about it the wrong way
He decided to take his car to the dealer to figure out how to access the bulb.
The DEALER could "NOT" figure out how to access this bulb !!!!!!!!!!

The dealer pulled up all the info they had on service cd's, books, nothing.
Even the owners manual in the car didn't show anything about this bulb (but shows every other bulb on the car).

He mentioned that they still couldn't figure it out after having the hatch practically dis-assembled.

I did a quick search on google and came up with this site, I then searched your message board, and found this thread.

He even called Ford and got the run around, but this thread saved the day for him,

So thanks for the great info, and thanks for sharing it here,


-Don
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Old 07-13-2004, 12:05 PM   #8
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That is a good writeup. I have replaced mine quite a few times so I know how to do it but it's hell trying to explain to someone on here (which I have done before) how to pry it out properly. Very nice writeup!
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:20 PM   #9
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Excellent write-up. I'll move this to Exterior forum. You should email this to Tom so he can make it a permanent How-To.
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Old 07-24-2004, 08:20 PM   #10
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Nice write-up. I have to replace one of mine tomorrow.
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