9/26/14 10:40 a.m.

Anyone else try to replace the bulb in the third brake light on a 2006-2010 Hyundai Sonata? I got to experience this silliness this week. In the trunk there's an access hole and it is strategically placed about three inches to one side. I was barely able to twist off the connector but then there wasn't enough clearance to actually remove it. Internet research revealed that this is a widely-known and -lamented problem, along with some good solutions and some poor solutions. The best solution seems to be using a hole saw to cut your own access hole. I didn't have a hole saw and I'm leery of cutting holes in my chassis. I was able to remove the cover (inside the car) without removing the rear seat and parcel shelf as the factory recommends. I cut about 3/4" off the end of the connector so it would clearance, reinstalled it in the cover, squooshed the parcel shelf down and managed to squeeze the cover back into place.

Internet lore says that the U.S. is the only market requiring third brake lights so we got a tacked-on afterthought with no solution for bulb replacement.

Anyone else get to have this fun? What was your solution?


DrBoost UltimaDork
9/26/14 11:00 a.m.

I bought a miata when my third brake light went out. I did disclose the burned out bulb to the new buyer though.
Just kidding, never had to deal with it. But I'd go about replacing it from the inside before I cut metal.

wlkelley3 SuperDork
9/26/14 11:31 a.m.

Hmmn, interesting. SWMBO has a 2010 Sonata. Fortunately this hasn't gone out yet but when it does She'll probably have me take it to the dealer to get fixed anyway.

failboat UltraDork
9/26/14 12:50 p.m.

I think the procedure to replace the spoiler mounted led third brake light on my hyundai accent hatchback....is to replace the whole berkeleying spoiler with the light.

Bobzilla PowerDork
9/26/14 1:38 p.m.

I've replaced one brake light bulb (and one license bulb) in 13 years of Hyundai/Kia ownership. The Accent was easy peasey on the hmsl. it was easy to get to and was the only bulb I ever had to replace on that car in 250k miles. Had a pair of license lights go out on the Elantra after about 9 years. They sucked and I think that one repair made me bleed more than all the others combined.

I got nothin'....

1988RedT2 PowerDork
9/26/14 1:43 p.m.

I could only hope that the extent of our worries with the Sonata was the third brake light bulb. Oddly, we did not experience that particular problem in the brief span we owned the car.

Klayfish UltraDork
9/26/14 1:59 p.m.

Maybe it's a Kia/Hyundai thing to hide the bulbs. Our '06 Sedona drivers side headlight assembly is a mother to get access to. The turn signal is currently out on mine...need to try to figure out how to get to it.

Bobzilla PowerDork
9/26/14 2:09 p.m.
Klayfish wrote: Maybe it's a Kia/Hyundai thing to hide the bulbs. Our '06 Sedona drivers side headlight assembly is a mother to get access to. The turn signal is currently out on mine...need to try to figure out how to get to it.

The whole housings usually come out with 3-10mm bolts and one large electrical plug. Makes changing those super easy. That was the one bulb that always burned out on the Elantra, the low beam headlight bulb (H11). The accent was almost bulb free (minus the one HMSL). In fact, I changed the turn signal bulbs because all the orange had peeled off but they still worked. I did it to make them more visible!

novaderrik PowerDork
9/26/14 5:06 p.m.

drilling/cutting/torching an access hole in the package tray to get to the bulb won't affect the structural integrity of the car...

9/26/14 9:31 p.m.

In reply to novaderrik:

The hole would actually be cut into the chassis, but I don't think it would affect anything. It would be just inside the upper lip of the trunk, and only need to be 2-3" across.

I would have done it if I had the hole saw. It's the "right" solution and would make future bulb changes take thirty seconds. The way I went about it was more of a PITA and will be more of a PITA in the future, but didn't require a hole saw. I should have used the situation as justification to make a trip to Harbor Freight...

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