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Pelican Technical Article:

Third Brake Light Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$60 to $100

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, T20 Torx, pliers, small flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

VW Golf (1999-05)

Parts Required:

New brake light

Hot Tip:

Always lever off gently

Performance Gain:

Working brake lights

Complementary Modification:

Check all your other bulbs

If your upper mounted third brake light is starting to fail or has stopped working completely you should replace it immediately. The brake light is mounted at the top of the hatch glass and you will need to remove the upper trim piece to get access to it. The bulb assembly is made up of a series of small LED lights wired together and is sealed in a plastic strip. While you may be able to get it open to replace individual LEDs Volkswagen does not supply individual LED replacement lights and only sells the complete bulb holder.

There are two pieces that make up the rear inner panels: the upper section (red arrow) and the lower section (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

There are two pieces that make up the rear inner panels: the upper section (red arrow) and the lower section (yellow arrow).

To remove the upper panel begin by pulling out the pin on the clip on each side (red arrow).
Figure 2

To remove the upper panel begin by pulling out the pin on the clip on each side (red arrow).

Use a trim removal tool and pop the clip from the panel (red arrow).
Figure 3

Use a trim removal tool and pop the clip from the panel (red arrow).

Using a trim removal tool (red arrow) start at the center of the panel and gently pull it away from the thatch.
Figure 4

Using a trim removal tool (red arrow) start at the center of the panel and gently pull it away from the thatch.

The lower section is attached to the upper section by a clip (red arrow) that sits inside the lower section (green arrow).
Figure 5

The lower section is attached to the upper section by a clip (red arrow) that sits inside the lower section (green arrow). Use care when separating these so you don't break them.

With the trim piece removed you can see the third brake light housing mounted to the frame of the hatch by two T20 Torx screws (yellow arrows) and the wiring harness connection (red arrow).
Figure 6

With the trim piece removed you can see the third brake light housing mounted to the frame of the hatch by two T20 Torx screws (yellow arrows) and the wiring harness connection (red arrow).

Use a T20 Torx and remove the two screws (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 7

Use a T20 Torx and remove the two screws (red arrow, one shown).

Remove the wiring harness connection by gently pulling the tab on the housing and pulling the connection (red arrow) out.
Figure 8

Remove the wiring harness connection by gently pulling the tab on the housing and pulling the connection (red arrow) out.

With the housing out of the vehicle use a small flathead screwdriver and gently push in the tab on one end of the housing (red arrow).
Figure 9

With the housing out of the vehicle use a small flathead screwdriver and gently push in the tab on one end of the housing (red arrow).

While holding the end you have separated out use a small flathead screwdriver and gently release the tab in center of the housing (red arrow).
Figure 10

While holding the end you have separated out use a small flathead screwdriver and gently release the tab in center of the housing (red arrow).

This will separate the reflector (yellow arrow) from the bulb assembly (red arrow).
Figure 11

This will separate the reflector (yellow arrow) from the bulb assembly (red arrow). The bulb assembly is made up of a series of small LED lights wired together and is sealed in a plastic strip. While you may be able to get it open to replace individual LEDs Volkswagen does not supply individual LED replacement lights and only sells the complete bulb holder. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Comments and Suggestions:
Aaron Comments: This was extremely helpful however I recommend one thing: remove the lower portion of the hatch inner cover first as it holds the top inner trim in as shown in figure 5. For the lower cover, there are screws you must remove first, inside each interior handle. The first time removing this cover is a real PITA. I climbed into the trunk and pulled on the handles while pushing my feet into the spare tire well to get the piece to dislodge. You gotta pull HARD. It’s next to impossible not to break the internal clips on the lower moulding getting it out... but you gotta do what you gotta do. After that popping off the upper trim is way easier, for me at least.
November 1, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
T,R.WINKWORTH. Comments: very clear instructions.Thanks now to have a go
December 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Thu 12/14/2017 02:37:26 AM