2nd Generation CX-9: Rear turn signal bulb replacement/upgrade

sm1ke

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This is a DIY How-To for a rear turn signal bulb replacement/upgrade for the 2nd Generation Mazda CX-9. I decided to document this process as it seems nobody has done it yet. Hopefully this helps someone who wants to upgrade their lighting or save a trip to the dealership.

This process was documented/photographed by myself, using my crappy cellphone camera and my 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature as the "demo" vehicle. This DIY is provided as a learning aid and reference guide. I assume no responsibility for any damages you may inflict on yourself or your vehicle.

What you'll need:

- Flathead screwdriver
- Phillips screwdriver (+)
- Replacement bulbs (halogen or LED)
- Microfiber cloth (optional)

Note: If the replacement bulbs are LED bulbs, ensure that they either have resistors built into them, or that they came with separate resistors. If they are installed without resistors, the change in voltage will cause all of your turn signals to hyperblink.

1. Make sure the vehicle is off! Disconnecting the battery is not necessary, but you can if you'd like.

2. Open the liftgate, then pry open the screw cover on the tail lamp. Use a flathead to pry it out.


IMG_20180327_202112.jpg

3. With the Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the two screws and set them aside.


IMG_20180327_202122.jpg

4. This is the hardest part. Grasp the lamp housing at the top, and pull "back and out". You'll want to apply force gradually rather than trying to muscle it out forcefully. It should look like the second picture when it is loosened.


IMG_20180327_202606.jpg


IMG_20180327_202634.jpg

5. If you can, wedge your fingers in the space created, and continue applying gradual force "back and out", but this time, more "back" than "out" to get the lamp loose. I took my time with this step, and I'm not sure how delicate you need to be with these housings. When it's free, it'll look like this.


IMG_20180327_202703.jpg

Continued in next post.
 
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sm1ke

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6. At this point, it's a good idea to wedge a microfiber or something between the lamp and the body to prevent accidental scratches.


IMG_20180327_202801.jpg

7. The grey socket is the turn signal. Turn it counter-clockwise about 1/4 turn.


IMG_20180327_202839.jpg

8. The socket can now be pulled out, exposing the OEM bulb. Replace it with the new bulb. *** see post #3 at the end of this guide.


IMG_20180327_203020.jpg

9. Reinsert the socket, and turn it clockwise until it locks into place.

10. Reset the lamp housing. Be sure to reinstall it by pushing it in the direction opposite the one used to pull it out. When it has been reset, apply some constant light pressure to the housing to hold it in place while you screw it back in. Put the screw cover back on.


IMG_20180327_203708.jpg

NOTE: Fellow member ACBGoldie also had this tip to share when reinstalling your tail lamps.

"When putting your taillights back in place, there is a mounting point on the body of the vehicle that receives a slotted tab on your taillight. There's a firm what I think was a rubber collar on the mounting point. When you are pushing the light back into place it takes a good amount of pressure and once it gives, it kinda sounds like you are slamming the light back into place. That is what you want to hear. Within reason of course. But you want to get that light properly seated back in place. The left light went right back first try no problem - I heard it slam. On my first try putting the right light back into position it went back but it felt spongey and it didn't slam. I took it out and did it a second time and I got the slam and it felt solid. In all actuality this probably isn't that big of a deal, but take it for what it is worth to you."

I'm pretty sure I felt the same "slam" ACBGoldie is referring to when reinstalling my tail lights, but for whatever reason I seem to have left that detail out. If you watch the video below, you can hear the "slam" at the 1:40 mark. Thanks ACBGoldie.

11. Repeat steps 2-10 for the other side, and you're done!

I know that quite a few people were looking for a rear turn signal replacement guide, so hopefully that helped you guys out! If you have any questions, post them here and I'll do my best to answer them.

EDIT:
By special request, I've also uploaded a quick video guide on YouTube. Check it out below:


As you can see, the entire process takes maybe five minutes, or even less if you're not using one hand to film a video lol.
 
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sm1ke

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Here's a YouTube video (sorry about the quality/shakiness!) showing the difference between the OEM bulb and the LED bulb I used. You can see that the light is brighter, crisper, and more yellow than the OEM light. There is also no hyperflashing when using the turn signals.


Also, here's an Amazon link to the bulb I used (non-affiliate link). They are 7440A bulbs with built-in resistors. They are about twice as tall as the OEM bulbs, but fit in the housing perfectly. According to the listing, "they are rated 25 watts at 12 volts, which is the same as a standard 7440 bulb."


IMG_20180327_200346.jpg


IMG_20180327_200627.jpg



*** If you purchased LED bulbs that have an external resistor, you may have to consult with the manufacturer to find out how to install them. The resistors I've used before would plug into the original socket, which avoids having to splice into the existing wire, like these ones:



However, if you have the type of resistor that requires splicing, you can try using the diagram below for assistance:



In both cases, you'll be required to mount the resistors to a metal surface, as they tend to heat up very quickly and can melt plastics. For that reason, it's recommended to drill holes to mount them to the metal body behind the lamp housing. Do not use 3M mounting tape, as it will likely just melt off. There isn't a lot of space back there, so I opted to spend a little more on bulbs that have the resistors built into them.
 
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V
'16 CX-9 GT AWD Machine Gray
@sm1ke thank you so much for this. Regarding the bulbs, did you do some research on the brand of bulb? I know there are a ton out there.

Edit: Would it be too much to ask if you did a video guide as well?
 
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sm1ke

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@sm1ke thank you so much for this. Regarding the bulbs, did you do some research on the brand of bulb? I know there are a ton out there.

Edit: Would it be too much to ask if you did a video guide as well?
I did do some research, but not a lot. There's at least one user on here who I believe used the exact same bulbs (the ones I installed look exactly the same as the ones they installed). This particular bulb was also well-reviewed on Amazon and carries a 1-year warranty. I figured that if I had any issues, I could just return them through Amazon, and I would be safe from any premature failures for at least a year.

These ones from iJDMTOY also look good. http://store.ijdmtoy.com/No-Hyper-Flash-7440-LED-Turn-Signal-Light-Bulbs-p/20-095.htm
If I didn't get the ones I have, I would have given these ones a shot. iJDMTOY has been around for a while, so I think you'd get better after sales support from them compared to a random eBay seller, for example. On an unrelated note, I noticed that in the sixth picture on that page, the bulbs that I used are shown for some reason. Just thought that was odd.

I can try to do a video guide as well. The process is actually pretty quick, but I can understand the want for a video guide to show how to remove/reinstall the lamp. It might be a while before I get to it though, I've got family coming into town for Easter weekend.
 
V
'16 CX-9 GT AWD Machine Gray
@sm1ke thanks. There just aren't any videos of the actual separation of the tail lamps anywhere on the internet. That's probably my biggest hurdle.
 
V
2016 CX-5AWD GT+Tech/ 2018 CX-9AWD GT
The first time I had to pull the rear lamp on my wife's '16 CX-5 I was sweating bullets (same procedure as our CX-9's), I wasn't used to having to remove the lamp to change a bulb. It looks more difficult than it is. Nice write up, it should definitely help out the first time bulb changers!
 

sm1ke

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@sm1ke thanks. There just aren't any videos of the actual separation of the tail lamps anywhere on the internet. That's probably my biggest hurdle.
Video added to the end of the second post.
 
V
2018 CX-9 AWD GT
Hi there! I bought the same LEDs based on your video and recommendation, however, the manual says the bulb is a 7440NA - is yours the same? The description on Amazon only says "74440A" - just want to make sure they'll fit.
Also, the front turn signals use the same bulb, did you swap those out too??
 
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V
'16 CX-9 GT AWD Machine Gray
Hi there! I bought the same LEDs based on your video and recommendation, however, the manual says the bulb is a 7440NA - is yours the same? The description on Amazon only says "74440A" - just want to make sure they'll fit.
Also, the front turn signals use the same bulb, did you swap those out too??
I installed the same ones you ordered on Amazon, and I think we got the updated version since @sm1ke's looks different. In any case, they fit perfectly in the housing. In regards to the front turn signals, they are already LED.
 

sm1ke

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I installed the same ones you ordered on Amazon, and I think we got the updated version since @sm1ke's looks different. In any case, they fit perfectly in the housing. In regards to the front turn signals, they are already LED.
Thanks for answering Bingoy. Hope everyone's enjoying their new bulbs!
 
V
Mazda CX-9 GT 2018 White
Today I replaced the these bulbs with the LASFIT 7440 LED with resistor built-in in just 10 minutes following this guide. Thanks sm1ke, every step was spot-on.
 
In the same vain, I stumbled on this forum and was hoping you could tell me anything about swapping out the entire tail light assembly. My wife's car has a crack in it and need to swap it with new one. Can I just remove the old assembly, plug in new assembly and go? Dealer made it sound like there was extensive electrical work but I am doubting that given what I have known about other cars tail light housing. Housing I am looking to purchase is:

http://www.mazda-parts.com/2018-mazda-cx_9-signature-gas_2.5_4-transaxle_automatic_6-electrical-combination_lamps-tail_lamp_assy_TK4951150A-item/

Any help would be greatly appreciated
 

sm1ke

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'18 CX-9 Signature
In the same vain, I stumbled on this forum and was hoping you could tell me anything about swapping out the entire tail light assembly. My wife's car has a crack in it and need to swap it with new one. Can I just remove the old assembly, plug in new assembly and go? Dealer made it sound like there was extensive electrical work but I am doubting that given what I have known about other cars tail light housing. Housing I am looking to purchase is:

http://www.mazda-parts.com/2018-mazda-cx_9-signature-gas_2.5_4-transaxle_automatic_6-electrical-combination_lamps-tail_lamp_assy_TK4951150A-item/

Any help would be greatly appreciated
Oops, didn't realize you had posted in here. I replied to your PM a few hours ago, but based on what I saw when I changed my turn signal bulbs, it looks like it's just plug and play. It's likely your service dept just wanted to squeeze you for a few extra bucks.
 
V
2019 CX-9 GT AWD
Thanks for this writeup and videos- fantastic! I'm almost 3 months in on a '19 CX-9 GT and have been confused about Mazda's copious use of LED lighting except for the turn signals. I see it with many brands that seem to be in a "state of transition" between incandescent/halogen to LED, but Mazda seems to have gone in whole hog (almost) for many years now.

It seems the updated version of these bulbs are dimmer, which was the first thing that jumped out at me in the video-- those seem really bright! As a motorcyclist especially, I can say that brighter is not always better as blinding the people behind you doesn't always increase safety. Glad to see the manufacturer addressed that.

Looking forward to checking out your other mods-- already did the pedal covers!
 

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