Having a license plate light out may not seem like a big deal; however, it can draw the attention of law enforcement and that can be a big deal. If you have ever changed a Mustang license plate light bulb, you may have seen how the heat from the bulb melted the license light bulb socket. Often the bulb may be good; it is the socket that has melted down. Another problem area is the license light lens. These get dirty and faded, or again, the heat from the bulb has caused them to melt or crack. This causes the light shining on the license plate to be dim (another way to get attention from the law) or non-existant. If you have a license light bulb out or noticed that the light is barely noticeable, take a look at this quick and easy fix. While this install was done on a 94-04 Mustang, the process is nearly identical to the 79-93 Mustang License Plate Light Lens. Only the attaching hardware is different!
Open the trunk/deck lid. This makes access to the license light lens easier. You will notice there are two screws per lens.
Use the screw driver to loosen the screws. You may need to use another screwdriver or tool to pry on the screw to help remove it. Remove all screw/attaching hardware.
Pull lens out of trunk panel. Twist the bulb socket to remove it from the lens.
With both lenses removed from socket you can now pull the bulb sockets through to inner trunk panel. This gives you more room to wire in the new sockets.
Use a razor or knife to cut back the tape on the wire loom to give you more workable wire for use during new socket installation
Prep the new bulb socket. This is where you have a few different ways to make the connections. We decided to solder the new bulb socket in place. You can use also use butt connectors, but it is a less desirable connection. Start by trimming the replacement socket wiring to a manageable length. Next use the wire stripper to strip back about half an inch of each wire. Now you can cut the old burnt bulb socket off. Prep the wires on the socket wiring harness by stripping the wire back roughly half an inch. Now slide a one to two inch piece of heat shrink tubing on each wire of the new bulb socket for use later.
If you are using butt-splice crimp connectors, line up the connectors and crimp the wires into the connectors. If you are soldering the wiring you will need to create a tight connection by twisting the new bulb socket wire around the wiring harness wire. With a good tight connection being made you can take the soldering gun, heat the wires & allow the solder to flow into the connection. If you have not soldered before go to YouTube and check out the many “How To” videos covering soldering basics. We used what is referred to as a third hand soldering station which can be picked up at your local tool store (example: Harbor Freight). This helps hold the wires steady so you have both hands available to solder. Once you have soldered wires together slide the heat shrink over the solder joint & heat it to seal the connection. Wrap the connections with 3M Super 33+ electrical tape. Once all wire connections are made, use the 3M Super 33+ electrical tape to close the wire loom back up around the new connections.
With the wiring done, you can now re-route the new sockets back out to outer trunk panel.
Install new 194 bulbs. We opted to go with the LED 194 Bulbs because they emit very little heat and will not melt the socket back down. Not to mention they emit a much brighter white light. Law enforcement won’t have to guess if they are on or off.
Install the new license light lens on the socket
Remove the screw portion of the new hardware & slide the push pin portion in to the new lens. With the lense positioned in the trunk lid, install the screw portion of the hardware. Screw the lens into place and enjoy the new license lights. If you use the LED bulbs you will definitely turn a few heads at night.
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