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Acura MDX License Plate Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out license plate light bulb in the tailgate of a 1st generation 2001-2006 Acura MDX.

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2006 MDX License Plate
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Left License Plate Light
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Loosen Counterclockwise

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically created to assist owners of the first generation (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) Acura MDX in changing a burnt out license plate light bulb located in the two housings attached to the tailgate door for the cargo area.

Owners of other Acura or Honda vehicles such as the RDX, ILX, TLX, RLX, TL, CL, RSX, RL, TSX, ZDX, NSX, Integra, Pilot, Accord, Civic, Fit, Clarity, CR-V, CR-Z, HR-V, Odyssey, Element  and Ridgeline may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement miniature wedge base light bulb part number is 168 (also known as W5W).

You could also install some brighter 168 LED bulbs.

The only tool needed to access and replace the bulbs is a standard Phillips head screwdriver.

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Longer Left Side Screw
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Remove Right Side Screw
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Shorter Right Side Screw
Each of the two license plate light housings are held in place to the underside of the tailgate by two Phillips head screws.

The left screw on both the driver and passenger side light housings is the longer screw that holds the entire housing to the tailgate.

The right screw on both the driver and passenger side light housing is the shorter screw that only holds the lens cover in place.

If you would like to quickly change a burnt out bulb, you only need to remove the shorter screw on the right side of either the driver or passenger side light housings.

I removed both screws on the light housing since I didn't realize that it was only necessary to remove the shorter right side screw in order to change the bulb.

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Two Screws Removed
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Pull Out Light Housing
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Light Housing Removed
If you would like to remove the entire housing, remove both screws and set them aside in a safe place.

(If you only removed the shorter right side screw, just pull off the translucent plastic lens cover from the front of the light housing. Then pull the old bulb straight out and push in a new one. Replace the lens cover and the shorter right side screw to finish the job.)

Pull the entire housing away from the tailgate.

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Push In Release Tab
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Power Plug Disconnected
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Pull Off Lens Cover
Push in the release tab on the grey plastic electrical connector.

Pull the power plug straight out of its socket.

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Lens Cover Removed
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Pull Out Old Light Bulb
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Empty Bulb Socket
Pull off the lens cover.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

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Old Light Bulb Removed
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Push In New 168 Bulb
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Snap On Lens Cover
Push a new miniature wedge base number 168 light bulb straight into the socket.

If you would like to have brighter license plate lights, install some compatible 168 LED bulbs.

Gently pop the lens cover back into place over the housing.



 

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Lens Cover Replaced
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Back Side of Housing
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Right Screw - Holds Lens
If you look at the back side of the housing, you'll see that only the hole on the left side goes all the way through.

Replace the shorter right screw to secure the lens cover in place by turning it in the clockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.

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Push On Power Plug
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Left Screw - Holds Housing
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Tighten Screw Clockwise
Push the electrical connector back into its socket.

It should "click" securely into place.

Push the light housing back into the opening in the underside of the tailgate.

Replace the longer screw into the hole on the left side of the housing to secure it to the tailgate.

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Passenger Side Housing
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Right Side Screw Holds Lens
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Left Screw Holds Housing
Repeat the process to replace the license plate light bulb on the other side of the SUV.

Once again, the left screw is the longer one that holds the housing to the tailgate.

The right screw is the shorter one that only holds the lens cover in place.

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Long Left Side Screw
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Pull Out Light Housing
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Pull Off Lens Cover
To easily change the other bulb, I recommend just removing the shorter screw on the right side of the housing.

Then gently pull off the lens cover, pull the old light bulb and push in a new number 168 bulb.

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Replace 2nd Light Bulb
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Pop On Lens Cover
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Shorter Right Side Screw
Push the lens cover back into place over the housing.
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Tighten Clockwise
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Re-Insert Light Housing
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Longer Left Screw
Replace the screw or screws by turning them in the clockwise direction with the Phillips head screwdriver.
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Tighten Clockwise
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Test New Light Bulbs
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Testing License Plate Lights
To test the new license plate light bulbs, turn on the parking lights, turn on the headlights or just press the "Unlock" button on the key fob to activate the exterior lights.

Be sure to record the bulb change in your SUV's service records.

For more, please check out all of my 2001-2006 Acura MDX DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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