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Third Brake and License Plate Lights Replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Third Brake and License Plate Lights Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, trim panel tool, Phillips head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

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

Parts Required:

Bulbs, LED strip

Hot Tip:

Tape body to protect from scratches

Performance Gain:

Working lights

Complementary Modification:

Replace bulbs in pairs

The rear lights on your MINI R56 are comprised of the taillights, high mount stop light (third brake light) and the license plate lights. All of these are serviced separately, bulb or lens. It is important to keep these lights functioning to avoid traffic violations and possible crashes due to an improperly lit vehicle.

In this tech article I will show you how to replace the third brake light and license plate lights on your MINI R56. The license plate lights are tungsten bulbs, while the third brake lights are LED bulbs. The third brake lights require the entire assembly to be replaced, when needed.

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 of the bulb 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.

Do not touch bulbs with your bare hands. The oil from your skin can damage the glass, causing it to overheat and fail prematurely.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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.

Third Brake Light: To replace a bulb in your third brake light, you will have to replace the LED light strip.
Figure 1

Third Brake Light: To replace a bulb in your third brake light, you will have to replace the LED light strip. The LED strip is a number of LED bulbs that make up the third brake light assembly. The third brake light is accessed behind a trim panel at the tailgate. Start by levering off the four trim panel clips (green arrows) at the tailgate.

Third Brake Light: This photo shows two of the four clips you have to detach (green arrows).
Figure 2

Third Brake Light: This photo shows two of the four clips you have to detach (green arrows).

Third Brake Light: Lower the trim panel enough to access the electrical connector.
Figure 3

Third Brake Light: Lower the trim panel enough to access the electrical connector. Disconnect the electrical connector (green arrow) by pulling it straight out.

Third Brake Light: Place the trim panel with the brake light on a soft surface.
Figure 4

Third Brake Light: Place the trim panel with the brake light on a soft surface. Remove the two Phillips head screws (green arrows). Then, remove and replace the third brake light bulb assembly. Reverse the steps to reinstall the trim panel and brake light assembly. Be sure that the wiring harness is not pinched during reassembly.

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: There are two separate license plate bulb lenses (green arrows).
Figure 5

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: There are two separate license plate bulb lenses (green arrows). If you are having trouble with water intrusion or corrosion on one, replace both as a set.

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: Using a flathead screwdriver, press the license plate lens at the small slot opening in the direction of the green arrow to release it.
Figure 6

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: Using a flathead screwdriver, press the license plate lens at the small slot opening in the direction of the green arrow to release it. Both the right and left side lenses are removed by pushing them to the left, as shown.

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: Hold the lens all the way to the right, while pulling it down out of the trunk lid (red arrow).
Figure 7

License Plate Bulbs and Lens: Hold the lens all the way to the right, while pulling it down out of the trunk lid (red arrow). Pull the lens out of the tailgate. Inspect it for signs of water intrusion and replace it if necessary. To remove the bulb, pull it out of the metal contacts in the lens. Inspect the lens for corrosion (inset).

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