Guide: How to replace license plate bulbs

Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
I just put LEDs in my interior fixtures/cargo hatch (can't wait for it to get dark out so I can see how they look). The kit came with LED bulbs for the license plate lights as well.

Can anyone tell me how to get the covers off of the two license plate light fixtures?

I found this in the manuals on Mazda.org:

License plate.jpg


It looks like it pries from the side and not the front/bottom, but I can't seem to get it to free up. I've been using plastic trim tools instead of screwdrivers on the fixtures. Maybe I need a metal shaft to get enough force on the exterior ones.

It seems to be made of way thicker plastic that the covers on the interior fixtures.
I don't want to break it.
 

Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
Aren't the license plate bulbs already LEDs? I know they are on my 2019.
Are they?

The manual is so confusing on some of this stuff.

I think someone else mentioned this in another thread on LED bulbs. Perhaps they were included because this kit spans model years from 2013-2019. I didn't think of that.

Heck, I'll take a look. Thanks!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
L
Canada
V
'18 CX-9 Signature
AD, any chance you can snap a photo of your LED bulb covers? Mine (on my CX-9) look just like the ones shown in the diagram.

Here's a resource that describes the cover removal in detail. It also includes a video of someone removing the cover.

There's also some info from an Australian owner with a 2019 CX-9 - apparently his license plate lights were LED from the factory (and thus, are "sealed" units).
 
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V
CX5 GT +pp 2018
2019 (at least Touring, GT and higher that I checked) have led license plate bulbs.
Assume the Sport too.
 

Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
AD, any chance you can snap a photo of your LED bulb covers? Mine (on my CX-9) look just like the ones shown in the diagram.

Here's a resource that describes the cover removal in detail. It also includes a video of someone removing the cover.

There's also some info from an Australian owner with a 2019 CX-9 - apparently his license plate lights were LED from the factory (and thus, are "sealed" units).
Here you go:

Lights.jpg


By the way, the links in your message did not come through.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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L
Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
Here you go:

View attachment 222363

By the way, the links in your message did not come through.
Oops, I must have forgotten to add the hyperlink. It's been added now, but I don't think you'll need it.

I looked into it further, and while they look similar, this diagram shows that the license plate lamp is one unit, and that the cover doesn't come off. The part number is GSJ1-51-26YA, and it is the same part number for the 2019 CX-9. However, for the 2018 CX-9, the part number is TK48-51-270, and the diagram shows that the lens and bulb are removable/replaceable.

Your 2019 GT Reserve should already have LED license plate bulbs, so you can use the bulbs that came in the kit as backups, or sell them off.

EDIT: If you still want to swap the bulbs, Shimian posted some info in the resource I linked about accessing the LEDs from the interior. Since the 2019 CX-5 and 2019 CX-9 license plate lamps share the same part number, you can probably swap the bulbs just like they did. Unfortunately, Shimian's info details the process for the CX-9, so I'm not sure how much of the panel removal process would apply to the CX-5. Shimian referenced (and posted) a video for a 2014 CX-5, which might be of some help.
 
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Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
Thanks for that.

There's no sense in messing with it if the originals are already LED. Those bulbs don't fit anything else. You can see the 2 types of cartridge bulbs (clips in on either end) for the interior lights/hatch light, and the pair of plug-ins for the license plate:



I do like the light that the LEDs give off from the dome fixtures. It just looks higher-end than the incandescents.
 
V
CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
I put a low power red LED in the passenger side map light in the front and a higher power red LED in one of the back seat map lights.

The red can be left on without disturbing my night vision and it sufficient to easily see things and read maps.
 

Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
I put a low power red LED in the passenger side map light in the front and a higher power red LED in one of the back seat map lights.

The red can be left on without disturbing my night vision and it sufficient to easily see things and read maps.
That's an interesting idea.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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L
Canada
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'18 CX-9 Signature
I put a low power red LED in the passenger side map light in the front and a higher power red LED in one of the back seat map lights.

The red can be left on without disturbing my night vision and it sufficient to easily see things and read maps.
That's an interesting idea.
I was curious about the legality of driving around with a cabin light on at night, so I did a quick search and found this:

The author is from Australia, but if it were me, I'd check my local legislation to avoid being pulled over or ticketed/fined.
 

Avoidin Deer

Central Virginia
Contributor
V
2019 CX-5 Reserve
Interesting point, sm1ke.

The only thing I could find said it might be construed as falling under vague "distraction/vision obstructing" laws. But that article admitted that such a charge would be a stretch.

Gee, I always thought it was black letter law illegal.
 
V
CX-5 Sport 16.5 6M
On the front passengers' red LED I left the lens off and made a black 'shade' around the perimeter using black tape. It doesn't show from outside the vehicle.

It is bright enough to illuminate the front area especially around the center console but is totally non distracting. Unfortunately it doesn't illuminate the door area very well nor the floor area.

Otherwise it works remarkably well as ambient lighting for about $3.
 
V
2019 CX-5 Signature
This should help with replacing license plate bulbs:

 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
L
Canada
V
'18 CX-9 Signature
This should help with replacing license plate bulbs:

Candurin, I see that you have a 2019 CX-5 Signature. Were you able to use the method described in that guide to pop the plastic covers off from outside with a screwdriver?
 
V
2014 & 2019 CX-5 Touring(s)
Candurin, I see that you have a 2019 CX-5 Signature. Were you able to use the method described in that guide to pop the plastic covers off from outside with a screwdriver?
Read through that thread Candurin posted. You'll see this:

Just a note, this guide may not be applicable for newer models (2019+ CX-9 and CX-5). This is because Mazda moved to LED license plate bulbs and changed the housing. The new housing can't be opened as described in this DIY - instead you'd have to do something similar to what Shimian did above.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
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L
Canada
V
'18 CX-9 Signature
Read through that thread Candurin posted. You'll see this:
Yep I was the one who wrote that guide and I also added that last post right before I posted my question to Candurin. I wanted to see if Candurin had used the guide himself to change his bulbs because earlier in this thread, we found that Avoidin Deer (who owns a 2019 GT Reserve) has "sealed" LED housings. It's possible Candurin was just providing a reference and was unaware of the change Mazda made to 2019 CX-5s and CX-9s.
 
V
2019 CX-5 Signature
I didn’t change my bulbs in my 2019 sig as they’re already LED and I’ve only got 3k miles :)

I did use your guide to replace the bulbs in my wife’s 2018 CX-9 GT.
 
V
2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Premium
On a CX-5 the dome light lenses snap off if you insert a thin plastic pry tool (or thin flat head screwdriver covered with painter's tape) near the hinge part of the lens on each side. When facing forward, that area would be the part of the lens that is closer to the front of the car. Today I replaced my dome lights, vanity mirror lights, and rear hatch light with LEDs using this procedure. I bought dome lights that would fade like incandescents, as that is a nice feature of the CX-5.

Click HERE for a great video.
 

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