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One of our license plate bulbs is burned out, and when I look at the tailgate I can't figure out what I'm supposed to pry loose in order to get the assembly to pop out so I can get at the bulb. What are those little round things on each side of the assembly? Do they screw out and give access to something that releases the lamp housing?

It seems that the internet can help with just about every bulb replacement I've ever had to deal with, but this one leaves google stumped. I find lots of complaining about the replacement fiasco of the license plate lamps on the regular 500 (taking it in to the dealer, silly charges for a bulb, etc.), but I can't find anything about it for the 500L. Any help?
 

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The owners manual does not give any information on this. Here are a few photo's I took of the lens. It does not have a slot to insert a screwdriver to release it. I'm guessing it has some thing to do with one of the plastic grommet/buttons next to it. The two middle buttons are most likely assigned to remove the latch as they are positioned more centrally. The outer buttons are positioned slightly lower. Just best guessing for now.
 

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Looking at the number of hits on "changing Fiat 500 licence plate lights" it looks like they don't last much longer than standards.

I am finding absolutely nothing useful for the 500L - maybe there is some way to get to them from inside the rear hatch door?
 

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OK disregard my best guess about the buttons to access the license plate lights. (Incorrect) There is no ACCESS slot as found on the 500 and 500X. The new 500L in the showroom was the same as my 2014. Hopefully Fiat will upgrade it in the near future...

I actually went to the dealer and asked a Tech(Thank you Mr. Tech) to show me how. I could see he was struggling to remove it from a floor model, so I stopped him before he broke it. Then he asked to try it on my car and I declined. It turns out his technique was a bit flawed. He showed me that you needed to push down(using finger tips) from the top and "pry" it out because he said there are/is a clip(s) holding it in. Don't do this!(Yep, I did) The problem with that is that it bends very short small plastic hooked-tangs that help to keep the housing in tight.*

First off; both sides are exactly the same. So what you do on one side will be done on the other.
The single metal clip is oriented on the left of the housing and help in accessing it, you have to push/slide the housing to the right as far as it will go (which ain't much).

Using a flathead screw driver, I then pried the top-left side of the housing up, just enough to see the metal clip.

I inserted a smaller screwdriver to push the clip in and work the lens housing out.

*A note about what the Tech showed me and why it's flawed; On my first attempt on one side, I bent the small plastic tangs on the right side. (see photos of bent and unbent tangs) So the housing went back in, but was a bit loose. No worries, I just removed it again and bent the metal clip out to take up the slack. (I noticed that I may be able to bent those plastic tangs into form again).


Here are some photos that should help.
 

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As an Industrial Designer I am appalled by this crap design! Any light bulb is going to burn out sometime and making it this difficult to replace the bulb is just terrible. It seems like they got themselves into an ugly design problem and just decided it was not worth coming up with a better way to do it.
 

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I understand from my local Fiat tech that going through the rear hatch is the correct way to replace the bulb. The fact that we have to replace the LED bulb is the concerning part. From other threads, there seems to be a common problem with the right LED burning out. Some say they found a kink in the wire harness so they had the whole harness replaced. The cost upto $300 (CDN) to repair. I have never before replaced a License plate bulb and never thought an LED bulb would need replacing.
I am surprised at this and wonder why there isn't a recall on the issue.
Perhaps it is s/w "coded" to burn out the LED. ahhh stuff like that never happens, right VW?
 

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The bulb is not an LED (NA Cars) unless you want to upgrade. The manual calls for W5W but I read OSRAM makes a longer lasting LED replacement that is superior.

 

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I would like to resurrect this thread for the purpose of discussing LED replacement bulbs for the number plate.

Being the caveman that I am, I went out and bought regular LED bulbs and ended up with the bulb error still on my dashboard. After doing a little research, I discovered the CAN bus and ordered resistor type LEDs from SuperBrightLEDS.

No joy. Still get the error on the dash. Anyone have any ideas other than going back to incandescent?
 

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Oh my gosh, this is nothing compared to trying to change a tail light. It was like rocket science and it pissed me off about 10 times before I got it done.

As an Industrial Designer I am appalled by this crap design! Any light bulb is going to burn out sometime and making it this difficult to replace the bulb is just terrible. It seems like they got themselves into an ugly design problem and just decided it was not worth coming up with a better way to do it.
 

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Although it sounds like a handy do-it-yourself project, there is too much possibility of damaging the wiring beneath the hood if you do not have experience in this area. Let an auto repair shop replace your number plate light so that you don't have to worry about running into any problems under the hood.
 
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