A license plate light is a lighting device mounted above the rear license plate on a vehicle. Vehicles sold in the United States are required by law to have a license plate light that shines white to highlight the reflective numbers on the license plate. The light must be unobstructed and evenly distributed across the face of the plate so that the numbers can be clearly seen in the dark. While only about half of the states in the country require both front and rear plates, all vehicles must have at least one license plate light, and some vehicles have a pair of lights. The license plate lights turn on anytime the running lights or headlights are switched on.
License plate lights are typically located inside the bumper, directly above the license plate mount. On some vehicles, the lights (and the plate) are found on the liftgate instead. In any case, the surest sign that your vehicle needs a new license plate light is when the bulb is burned out and the light does not come on.
The license plate lights are mounted using a variety of different methods, depending on the vehicle make and model. For instance, on some vehicles, the rear bumper must be removed so a technician can access the lights from behind, whereas, on other vehicles, the lights can be removed from the outside. Still other vehicles require that a trim panel be removed, either from the exterior or the interior, so that the license plate light bulbs can be removed.
In general, a technician must access the bulb sockets, dislodge them from the light housing, remove the bulb(s) and replace with new bulb(s), and reinstall all components.
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