Changing a licence plate light: How it works

Prices for the various kinds of light sources vary: an LED bulb costs between 10 and 20 pounds, while an ordinary bulb can usually be had for under 10 pounds. If you go to a workshop to replace the licence plate light bulb, you should plan for costs of around 40 pounds.

What you should consider when buying the bulb

If you want to change the licence plate bulbs yourself, make sure that, when you select a suitable new bulb, that the light it emits adequately illuminates the licence plate.

  • No coloured light sources
  • Warm to cold white light

Changing a licence plate light: a guide

Changing the licence plate light differs in detail from vehicle to vehicle. Therefore, consult your vehicle manual before starting to replace the light. Here we will now explain the basic procedure and give you useful tips on how to replace the light most easily.

Before replacing the light bulb

It is best to change the bulb in a bright, i.e. well-lit, and dry place. Turn off the ignition and the lights. Normally it is not necessary to disconnect the car battery when changing the licence plate light because it is not usually necessary to work on open lines. But you will not see this until you have removed the light. So it can't hurt to disconnect the negative terminal of the car battery.

Dismantling the old bulb

Now carry out the following steps one after the other:

  1. Unscrew the licence plate and the bracket to access the light easier.
  2. Lever out the licence plate lamp with a screwdriver. In most cases there is a notch next to the lamp for exactly this purpose; in some cases the lamp does not have to be levered out but unscrewed instead.
  3. Then disconnect the power connector.

If necessary, change the polarity on the connector

In some cases the polarity of the power connector has to be changed. If the adapter of your new lamp does not correspond to your power connector on the vehicle, its polarity has to be reversed. Refer to the instructions of your new licence plate lamp to see if you need to reverse the polarity of the power connector. To change the polarity of the connector ‒ if necessary ‒ proceed as follows:

  1. Pull out the lock of the pole pins in the connector sideways.
  2. Use a mini ISO tool (or possibly a paper clip) to loosen the pin connection, turn it 180° and then replace it.
  3. Similarly replace the clamp to lock the pole pins.

Connect the licence plate light

Now connect the licence plate light to the power connector. Usually a click is heard when the connection is properly fixed and locked. Now place the lamp back in its bracket. If you have disconnected the battery, reconnect it. Start the ignition and switch on the light. If the newly installed bulb lights up, you have successfully changed the licence plate light and can now screw the licence plate back on.