How to Change the Light Bulb on the License Plate of an ES300

by Cassandra Tribe

Making sure that all of the lights are working on your Lexus ES300 is more than about appearances. You must have operating running lights, headlights, turn signals, brake lights and license plate light to be considered "legal." Most people take care of most of those but forget about the license plate bulb. This bulb, located near the trunk latch above the license plate on the Lexus ES300, is prone to burning out or breaking. Fortunately, it is an easy job to change the license plate light bulb of an ES300.

Open the trunk of your Lexus ES300.

Grab the black plastic runner that sits on top of the lower trunk edge covering the end of the trunk carpeting. It is best to grab the runner near one of its ends. Pull up to remove the runner. Set it aside.

Use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the screws in the retaining clips holding the trunk carpeting to the rear of the trunk (covering the tail lights and license plate). You don't have to remove the screws all the way, just loosen them enough so you can pull off the retaining clips and pull the carpet away from the rear of the trunk exposing the light assemblies.

Remove the license plate light socket. This is the socket that is set into the rear of the auto body, slightly off center (right where the license plate is on the outside). It has wires coming out of it that lead into the driver's side of the car body. Twist the socket until the tabs on the socket line up with the tab holes in the body, and pull it out.

Remove the old light bulb by pinching it between two fingers and pushing it into the socket. Twist the bulb while it is pushed in, and you will feel it release when the tabs on the bulb base line up with the tab channels of the socket. Pull the bulb out and discard.

Dab a small amount of bulb grease on the metallic base of your new bulb. Bulb grease is available at any auto supply store. The grease helps to keep moisture out and prevent the base from corroding and sticking in the socket.

Line up the tabs on the new light bulb with the tab channels in the socket and push the bulb into place. Twist the bulb until the tabs are moved out of the channels and the bulb won't turn anymore. When you release the bulb it should stay firmly in position.

Insert the socket back into place, lining up the tabs with the tab holes and then twisting them to lock the socket. Reassemble your trunk and close the lid.


  • check Check out the various types of light bulbs available for the Lexus ES300. There are a wide variety that are compatible with the car and can provide a long lasting bulb and brighter illumination.


  • close In many cities, driving without your license plate illuminated is cause for a traffic citation. Check to ensure that your license plate light is working on a regular basis, or you could face a serious fine.

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About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.

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