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Nissan Maxima Tail Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or reverse light bulb in a 2016, 2017 and 2018 Nissan Maxima.

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2016 Maxima Tail Lights
Open Trunk Lid
Rear Corner of Trunk

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the eighth generation (2016, 2017, 2018 and probably also the 2019 and 2020 model years) Nissan Maxima sports sedan in changing a burnt out brake, rear turn signal or reverse bulb in the tail light housings.

Owners of other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles such as the Versa, Altima, Juke, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Murano, Xterra, Pathfinder, Sentra, Cube, Armada, Leaf, Quest, Frontier, 370Z, GT-R, Titan, Kicks, NV, NV200, G25, G37, M35 and M37 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part numbers are as follows: Brake # 7440 or W21W, Rear Turn Signal # 7440 or W21W and Reverse # 921 or W16W.

The tools needed to access and replace the tail light bulbs include a flathead screwdriver and a plastic pry bar tool.

Cargo Net Anchor
Pry Out Center To Unlock
Pull Out Plastic Fastener
The first two steps are to open the trunk lid and then move to the side of the car with the burnt out tail light bulb.

Then locate the black plastic anchor for the optional cargo net.

Pry out the smaller round center part of the anchor with the small flathead screwdriver to unlock it.

Then pull out the entire anchor and set it aside in a safe place.

Plastic Panel Fastener
Unlock Pop Rivet
Pry Out Pop Rivet
In order to access the tail lights in either housing, you'll have to remove the large black plastic trim panel that covers the bottom part of the trunk opening.

Pry out the smaller round center part of each fastener before prying out the base.

There is a large fastener on either side and one smaller one located near the middle. by the trunk latch mechanism.

Remove Other Anchor
Pull Off Trunk Trim Panel
Trunk Panel Removed
Gently pull off the trim panel and set it aside in a safe place.
Corner of Trunk Interior
Pry Out Center of Pop Rivet
Pop Rivet Removed
Then remove the pop rivet at the corner of the trunk closest to the tail light housing.

You don't need to remove the two pop rivets that are located closer to the front of the car.

Set the pop rivets aside in a safe place.

Pull Back Trunk Liner
Two Small Metal Nuts
Loosen Counterclockwise
Gently pull back the carpet liner to reveal the metal body panel at the rear corner of the trunk.

Loosen the two small metal nuts by turning them in the counterclockwise with the 8mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Spin Off Two Nuts
Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-020 Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-021
Two 8mm Nuts Removed
Spin off the two 8mm nuts and set them aside in a safe place.
Pry Off Tail Light Housing
Slide Off Tail Light Assembly
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Pull the tail light housing straight off the rear corner of the car.

If you have trouble removing the tail light housing, use the plastic pry bar tool to very gently loosen the front outer edge (close to the < shaped part of the assembly).

The tail light housing is still held in place to the rear corner of the car by two metal pegs or "spikes" inserted into plastic grommets.

Slide the housing straight off the car and turn it over to access the sockets.

You may choose to cover the painted rear bumper cover with a towel to protect it from being scratched and to prevent the tail light lens from being damaged.

The brake light bulb socket is located near the inner edge of the housing (closer to the trunk opening).

The rear turn signal bulb socket is located closer to the outer edge of the housing (by the < or > shaped part of the housing).

Bulb Socket Removed
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Push In New Light Bulb
Rotate the base of the light bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Carefully pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing the old light bulb, try gently wiggling it back and forth while pulling it straight out.

Push a new number 7440 light bulb straight into the socket. (It is also known as part number W16W.)

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Brake Light Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

Both the brake and rear turn signal light bulbs are the same part numbers.

Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Push In New Light Bulb
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Repeat the process if you need to replace the other light bulb.
Line Up Two Metal Pegs
Push On Tail Light Housing
Spin On 8mm Nut
To replace the tail light housing, line up the two metal pegs or "spikes" near the outer edge with their corresponding plastic grommets on the rear corner of the vehicle.

Carefully slide the tail light assembly back into place.


Replace Bottom Nut
Tighten Clockwise
Replace Trunk Carpet
Spin on the two 8mm nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the two nuts in the clockwise direction with the 8mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet until they are snug.

Push the carpet liner back into place and re-insert the pop rivet.

Push in the center part of the pop rivet to lock it into place.

Re-Insert Cargo Net Anchor
Push In Center - Lock
Replace Plastic Panel
Re-insert the cargo net anchor and push in the center piece to secure it.

Push the black plastic trunk opening trim panel back into place over the electronic lock mechanism.

Push Down Into Place
Push In Other Anchor
Push In Center - Lock
Replace the fasteners and push in their center pieces to lock them in place.
Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-046 Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-047
Push In Pop Rivet
Test New Tail Light Bulbs
To test the new tail light bulbs, have an assistant press on the brake pedal and activate the hazard signals.

If you need to replace the reverse light bulbs, follow the steps below.

Reverse Light Bulbs Replacement Guide

Reverse Light - Trunk Lid
Trunk Lid Carpet Liner
Pry Out Rubber Bumper
The reverse lights are located in separate housings attached to the trunk lid.

Open the trunk lid and locate the various fasteners along the bottom edge of the grey carpeted liner.

Gently pry off the rubber bumper on the trunk lid carpet liner with a flathead screwdriver.

Trunk Bumper / Stopper
Pry Out Center of Pop Rivet
Pop Rivet Removed
Set the rubber stop aside in a safe place.

Then gently pry out the round center part of the pop rivet fasteners to unlock them.

Remove Other Pop Rivets
Bumper & Pop Rivets
Peel Back Trunk Liner

Continue removing the other pop rivets located around the reverse light housing.

Gently pull back the trunk lid liner to access the bulb socket.

Reverse Bulb Socket
1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Bulb Socket Removed
Rotate the reverse light bulb socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction.

Pull the socket straight out of the housing.

Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Old Light Bulb Removed
Push In New Light Bulb
Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

Push a new miniature wedge base number 921 (or W16W) light bulb straight into the socket.

If you'd like to have brighter reverse lights, install some compatible 921 LED bulbs.

Empty Bulb Housing
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Replace Trunk Liner
Re-insert the socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

Push the carpeted liner back into place against the underside of the trunk lid.

Push In Rubber Stop
Re-Insert Pop Rivet
Push In Center - Lock
Push the rubber trunk bumper / stopper back into place.

Re-insert the pop rivets and push in their center pieces to secure them in place.

Trunk Liner Secured
Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-071 Nissan-Maxima-Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide-072
Test New Reverse Bulb
To test the new reverse light bulb, have an assistant step on the brake pedal and shift the transmission into reverse.

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

Please check out all of my 2016-2018 Nissan Maxima DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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