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Tail Light Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Tail Light Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool.

Applicable Models:

BMW 320i Sedan (2013-16)
BMW 320i xDrive Sedan (2013-16)
BMW 328d xDrive Sedan (2014-16)
BMW 328d/i Sedan (2012-16)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2013-16)
BMW 330e Sedan (2016)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs, taillight bulb sockets, taillight electrical connector pigtail.

Hot Tip:

Tape body so you do not scratch it.

Performance Gain:

Use this to remedy taillight bulb out messages on info center.

Complementary Modification:

Replace taillight seal.

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the tail light bulbs or tail light lenses on your BMW F30.

F30 exterior bulbs are monitored by the Front Electronic Module (FEM), which also monitors adaptive headlight function (where equipped) and controls instrument panel dimming. The FEM is also capable of switching lighting functions in case of a fault. For example, in case of a taillight bulb failure, brake light bulbs are used as a substitute.

Bulb monitoring by the FEM is done both cold and hot (unlit or lit). In cold monitoring, FEM sends brief current pulses to unlit bulbs to measure their resistance. The pulses are too short to illuminate the bulbs but serve the purpose of evaluating whether an individual bulb or bulb circuit is defective. In hot monitoring, FEM measures the current to individual lit bulbs to determine overload or a break in the circuit.

When dealing with bulb failures or bulb out messages, always inspect the electrical connector and taillight bulb holder. The connectors can wear over time causing heat and melting. Once the electrical connector on the harness side or the taillight socket has melted, you will have a poor connection and rear bulb faults or failures. If you find the connector is melted, you can repair it by installing a new plug pigtail and / or replacing the bulb socket assembly. See our tech article on taillight wiring replacing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or have additions to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The taillight on F30 models houses all of the rear lights.
Figure 1

The taillight on F30 models houses all of the rear lights. One lens is mounted in the trunk lid (blue arrow) and one in the rear fender (red arrow).

Working in the trunk at the tail light, twist the trim panel lock (red arrows) to unscrew and then remove it (inset).
Figure 2

Working in the trunk at the tail light, twist the trim panel lock (red arrows) to unscrew and then remove it (inset).

Unclip and lift the tail light trim up to remove.
Figure 3

Unclip and lift the tail light trim up to remove. Then remove the two 10mm tail light fasteners (red arrows).

Pull the tail light in direction of red arrow.
Figure 4

Pull the tail light in direction of red arrow.

Then, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off.
Figure 5

Then, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab and pulling it off.

Squeeze the release tabs (red arrows) on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the tail light.
Figure 6

Squeeze the release tabs (red arrows) on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the tail light. Place the socket assembly in the trunk. Replace the faulty bulb (blue arrows). Rotate the bulb 90° to release and remove it from the socket. Install a new bulb.

To access trunk lid mounted lights, start by unclipping the trunk support trim cover (red arrows).
Figure 7

To access trunk lid mounted lights, start by unclipping the trunk support trim cover (red arrows). Left side shown, repeat step for opposite side of vehicle.

Then, unclip the trunk support trim cover (red arrow) from trunk carpet trim and remove from vehicle.
Figure 8

Then, unclip the trunk support trim cover (red arrow) from trunk carpet trim and remove from vehicle. Right side shown, repeat step for opposite side of vehicle.

Remove safety handle from trunk lid mount, then unclip cable (red arrow) from handle and remove.
Figure 9

Remove safety handle from trunk lid mount, then unclip cable (red arrow) from handle and remove.

Next, remove the eight Phillips head plastic expanding screws (red arrows).
Figure 10

Next, remove the eight Phillips head plastic expanding screws (red arrows). Then remove the two T25 Torx fasteners (blue arrows).

Remove the molded carpet trim from trunk lid (blue arrow).
Figure 11

Remove the molded carpet trim from trunk lid (blue arrow).

Then, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling it off.
Figure 12

Then, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (red arrow) and pulling it off.

Squeeze the release tabs on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the tail light.
Figure 13

Squeeze the release tabs on the socket assembly and pull the socket assembly out of the tail light. Place the socket assembly in the trunk. Replace the faulty bulb (red arrows). Rotate the bulb 90° to release and remove it from the socket. Install a new bulb.

To replace tail light, loosen the 10mm nut (red arrow) until the bracket can be remove (blue arrow).
Figure 14

To replace tail light, loosen the 10mm nut (red arrow) until the bracket can be remove (blue arrow).

Lift inner edge of tail light up and remove at an angle (red arrow), unhooking it from the trunk lid.
Figure 15

Lift inner edge of tail light up and remove at an angle (red arrow), unhooking it from the trunk lid.

When installing new tail light lens, check that the hook and tab (red arrows) make good contact with holes in trunk lid, install at angle, pressing it toward inside of trunk lid and holding as you fold down and secure it in place.
Figure 16

When installing new tail light lens, check that the hook and tab (red arrows) make good contact with holes in trunk lid, install at angle, pressing it toward inside of trunk lid and holding as you fold down and secure it in place.

As you hold lens in toward trunk, lower inside edge down to engage upper tab (red arrow).
Figure 17

As you hold lens in toward trunk, lower inside edge down to engage upper tab (red arrow). It may take a few tries to get it to properly align and seat. Once in place, hold against trunk while tightening the fastener inside the trunk. Reverse remaining steps to assemble trunk trim.

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Page last updated: Sun 8/20/2017 03:21:12 AM