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Pelican Technical Article:

Taillight Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

**

Tools:

T20 Torx, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs

Hot Tip:

Tape body so you do not scratch it

Performance Gain:

Use this to remedy taillight bulb failures

Complementary Modification:

Replace license plate lights

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the taillight bulbs or taillight lenses on your MINI R56. MINI R56 exterior bulbs are controlled via driver input by the footwell module (FM).

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

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 you're 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. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The taillight on R56 models houses most of the rear lights.
Figure 1

The taillight on R56 models houses most of the rear lights. The yellow arrow points to the turn signal bulb. The green arrows point to the parking light bulb (which can also be a brake light bulb under braking). The blue arrow points to the reverse light bulb.

It is easiest to replace the bulbs after removing the taillight lens.
Figure 2

It is easiest to replace the bulbs after removing the taillight lens. If you want to try to replace the bulbs from the interior follow the next few steps. It can be done. The workspace is tight, and it is easy to drop a bulb into the body. Working in the trunk on the side, pull the access panel out (yellow arrow).

The blue arrows point to two of the bulb holders.
Figure 3

The blue arrows point to two of the bulb holders. Locate the bulb holder using the image from step 1. Then rotate the bulb holder 45° counterclockwise to remove it. Then rotate and remove the bulb from the holder and replace it with a new one. Do not touch the bulbs with your bare hands. The oil from your hands will contaminate the bulb, causing premature failure.

To replace the lens or bulbs with the lens removed, start by removing the trim around the taillight.
Figure 4

To replace the lens or bulbs with the lens removed, start by removing the trim around the taillight. Use a plastic prying tool to lever the trim off the lens. Start in a corner (blue arrow) and work your way around the lens.

Remove the trim piece from the lens.
Figure 5

Remove the trim piece from the lens.

Next, remove the three T20 Torx screws (green arrows).
Figure 6

Next, remove the three T20 Torx screws (green arrows).

Using a plastic prying too, gently lever the lens out of the body.
Figure 7

Using a plastic prying too, gently lever the lens out of the body.

Then lift up to remove just enough to access the electrical connector.
Figure 8

Then lift up to remove just enough to access the electrical connector. Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling it straight out.

Replace the bulbs as needed.
Figure 9

Replace the bulbs as needed. The yellow arrow points to the turn signal bulb. The green arrows point to the parking light bulb (which can also be a brake light bulb under braking). The blue arrow points to the reverse light bulb. Locate the bulb you want to replace. Then rotate the bulb holder 45° counterclockwise to remove (inset) the bulb. Then rotate and remove the bulb from the holder and replace it with a new one.

To remove the bulb holder from the lens, press the tabs inward (green arrows) and pull the holder straight out of the taillight lens (blue arrow).
Figure 10

To remove the bulb holder from the lens, press the tabs inward (green arrows) and pull the holder straight out of the taillight lens (blue arrow). Do not touch the bulbs with your bare hands. The oil from your hands will contaminate the bulb, causing premature failure.

This photo shows the bulb holder being removed.
Figure 11

This photo shows the bulb holder being removed. Reverse these steps to reinstall it.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ray Comments: Great how to thanks. Please note that for R56 2010 on models at least in the UK, the upper brake light bulb is a single contact type P21W 380/GE 7506.
November 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Blacktip Comments: This was very helpful. Upper brake light bulb is a GE 2057 for the R56 Mini Base model.
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
pelvicthrust Comments: so helpful. thks
July 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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