How to Replace Your License Plate Light in 8 Simple Steps

Replacing a license plate light is an easy process that anyone can do with a few tools and a few minutes of their time. The process involves first removing the old light, cleaning the area, then attaching the new light and testing to make sure it works. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to replace your license plate light. You will need a flathead screwdriver, pliers, and the new replacement light. Before beginning, make sure that you have all of the necessary tools and parts on hand. Once you have everything ready, follow these steps to complete the job:

1. Park your car in a well-lit area and turn off the engine.

2. Pop open your trunk or hood, locate the old light, and disconnect it from its wiring harness.

3. Remove any mounting screws holding the old light in place using a flathead screwdriver or pliers.

4. Clean up any dirt or debris from around where the new light will be mounted using a damp cloth or brush.

5. Connect one end of the replacement light’s wiring harness to your car’s wiring harness and secure them together with electrical tape or wire nuts if necessary.

6. Line up the mounting holes of your new license plate light with those on your car’s bodywork and secure it in place with screws if required (some lights may just need to be snapped into place).

7. Test out your replacement license plate light by turning on your headlights or parking lights; it should illuminate when doing so! If not, go back through these steps to make sure everything is connected properly before continuing onto other repairs or maintenance tasks on your car!


A license plate light, or number plate light, is a device located on the rear of a vehicle that illuminates the license plate. It is typically powered by the car’s electrical system and operates in tandem with the vehicle’s headlights. The purpose of the license plate light is to make it easier for other drivers to read the license plate clearly, even in low-light conditions.


The components that make up a license plate light include a bulb, socket, and wiring. The bulb is usually an LED or halogen type and is encased in a socket which is connected to the electrical system of the car. The wiring provides an electrical current to power the bulb and runs from the battery of the vehicle.

Reasons to Replace a License Plate Light

There are several reasons why you may need to replace your license plate light. The most common is if it stops functioning properly – either due to a faulty bulb or wiring issue – which can impair visibility and put other drivers at risk. Additionally, if you want to upgrade your car’s look with a new design, you may need to replace your existing license plate light with one that better suits your aesthetic preferences.

How to Replace a License Plate Light

Replacing your vehicle’s license plate light requires some preparation beforehand. First, you need gather the necessary tools and parts needed for replacing your license plate light such as a flathead screwdriver, pliers, wire cutters/strippers, small brush or vacuum cleaner for cleaning out dust and debris from around the area before installing new parts, and replacement bulbs/wiring as necessary. Next, you’ll need to locate where your existing license plate light assembly is located on your vehicle so that you can access it easily when replacing it with new parts.

Replacing a License Plate Light

Replacing a license plate light on a vehicle is a fairly straightforward procedure. It is important to ensure that the new light is securely mounted and working properly to avoid any potential hazards or legal issues. Here are the steps and tips for replacing a license plate light:


Step 1: Disconnect the Battery – Before beginning any work on the vehicle, it is important to disconnect the battery to avoid any electrical shocks or damage to the vehicle.

Step 2: Locate the Old License Plate Light – The old license plate light will be located near the rear of the vehicle, usually attached with two screws or bolts.

Step 3: Remove the Old License Plate Light – Once the screws or bolts have been removed, carefully disconnect any wires that may be connected to it. Be sure to take note of how they were connected before removing them.

Step 4: Install the New License Plate Light – Securely attach the new license plate light in place with two screws or bolts, then reconnect any wires that may have been previously disconnected.

Tips for Replacing a License Plate Light

Before installing a new license plate light, it is important to check for corrosion or debris that could compromise its functionality. Additionally, once installed, it is recommended that you test out the new lights to make sure they are functioning properly prior to putting them into use on public roads.

Common Problems with a License Plate Light

Two of the most common problems associated with license plate lights are poor connections of wires and connectors as well as failed bulbs. If your car’s lights seem dimmer than usual, this could be an indication of one of these issues and should be addressed promptly before operating your vehicle on public roads.

The Benefits of Replacing a License Plate Light

Replacing an old and malfunctioning license plate light can help ensure that your car is visible even in low-light conditions and can help you avoid potential fines or other legal issues due to improper lighting on your vehicle. Additionally, replacing an old license plate light can also help improve your visibility when driving at night so you can feel safer while behind the wheel.

FAQ & Answers

Q: What is a License Plate Light?
A: A license plate light is a small bulb installed on the rear of an automobile that illuminates the license plate. It is an important safety feature that helps other drivers see the license plate in low light conditions.

Q: What are the components of a License Plate Light?
A: The components of a License Plate Light include a bulb, socket, and wiring. The bulb acts as the light source, while the socket holds the bulb in place and provides power to it. The wiring provides electricity to the socket and connects it to the car’s electrical system.

Q: What are some reasons to replace a License Plate Light?
A: Some reasons to replace a License Plate Light include if it is malfunctioning or if you want to upgrade its design. Malfunctioning lights can be dangerous, so it is important to have them replaced as soon as possible. Upgrading its design can give your car a refreshed look and make it more visible at night.

Q: How do you replace a License Plate Light?
A: Replacing a License Plate Light involves gathering any necessary tools or parts needed, disconnecting the battery, locating and removing the old light, installing the new one, and then testing it after installation. Make sure to check for any corrosion or debris before installation as this can cause malfunctions or shorts when installing.

Q: What are some common problems with License Plate Lights?
A: Some common problems with License Plate Lights include poor connections between wires and connectors, failed bulbs due to age or usage over time, and corrosion or debris buildup that can prevent proper installation or functioning of lights.

In conclusion, replacing a license plate light on an automobile is a straightforward process that does not require any specialized tools or knowledge. It can be completed in a short amount of time, and the cost of the replacement light is relatively inexpensive. The new light will ensure that the license plate is easily visible from behind, which can prevent costly tickets from law enforcement.

Author Profile

Carl Frisch
Carl Frisch
With more than 30 years in the bicycle industry, I have a strong background in bicycle retailing, sales, marketing and customer service. I have a passion for cycling and a dedication to excellence. As a manager, I worked diligently to increase my capabilities and responsibilities, managing up to eleven mechanics (at Palo Alto Bicycles) and later as a working partner in my own store.

As the shop owner of Spoke n’ Word Cycles in Socorro, NM, the success of the mission was my responsibility, which I pursued passionately since we opened in 2003 through the spring of 2011. I am adept at managing owned and loan inventory, preparing weekly & annual inventory statements, and managing staff. The role as managing partner also allowed me tremendous freedom. I used this personal freedom to become more deeply involved in my own advancement as a mechanic, to spearhead local trail building, and advocating for cycling both locally and regionally.

As a mechanic, I have several years doing neutral support, experience as a team mechanic, and experience supporting local rides, races, club events. I consistently strive to ensure that bicycles function flawlessly by foreseeing issues and working with the riders, soigners, coaches and other mechanics. Even with decades of experience as a shop mechanic and team mechanic, and continue to pursue greater involvement in this sport as a US Pro Mechanic, and UCI Pro Mechanic.

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