How to Remove High Mounted Rear Stop Lights on a 2009 Sonata

by Justin Cupler

Hyundai added the Sonata to its lineup for the 1989 model year. Between 1989 and 2011, the Sonata went through seven generational changes. The sixth generation brought mostly performance enhancements, as the horsepower in V-6 and four-cylinder engines increased significantly. Hyundai carried over the headlight and taillight designs from the fifth generation. The 2009 sonata had a total of three brake lights: two just above the bumper and one on the rear window deck lid -- known as the center high-mount stop light. Replacing the center high-mount stop light bulb requires removing the rear window deck trim.

Open the Sonata's trunk and locate the center high-mount stop light's wiring harness -- the one going up to the rear window deck. Unplug this harness by pressing the locking button and pulling the harness from the receptacle.

Lower the Sonata's rear seat backs, exposing the four retaining screws on the rear window deck trim. Remove these screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

Lift up on the rear window deck trim and pry the retaining clips free, using a trim stick.

Pull the rear window deck trim from the rear window deck -- it remains attached to the seat belts, so use the seat belts as a guide until the underside of the trim piece is visible.

Grab the bulb socket on the underside of the rear window deck trim and twist it counterclockwise to unlock it. Pull the socket and bulb from the trim piece.

Grab the burned-out bulb and pull it from the socket, using a slight wiggling motion. Grab a new 921 light bulb, using a clean, lint-free cloth, and press it into the socket. Touching the bulb with your bare hands may cause premature bulb failure.

Insert the socket and new bulb into the rear window deck trim and twist it clockwise to lock it in place.

Set the rear window deck trim in place on the rear window deck and press down to engage the retaining clips. Tighten the four retaining screws, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Return to the Sonata's trunk and reconnect the center high-mount stop lamp wiring harness . Close the Sonata's trunk.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.