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How do I change license plate lights on 1998 Nissan Pathfinder

My Pathfinder has the license palate in the middle/center of the hatchback door, with one light on the left and one on the right. I cannot figure out how to change the bulbs and my manual is no help; it shows the process for a different location of the plate on the door, maybe a different version of my year model.

Have you checked the owner's manual to see if it has the instructions?

From what I remember…

From the outside…the cover pops off…and then you just twist the bulb off.

Looks like three screws are removed to remove the lens then the lamp is replaced.


Joseph, yes, I checked the owner’s manual and it describes the procedure for a tailgate that has a different license plate arrangement than mine. Not sure why this is. Maybe two arrangements for the same year model?

MikeInNH, how does it pop off? There is a little ledge just inside the fixture; should I pry on the ledge to get the lens open? It already has a chip in it so I’m leary about prying on it unless it’s the right thing to do.

Tester, no screws are visible on either of the fixtures.

Thanks for your help everyone; I’m going to try to attach a photo to this email.


Just a follow-up comment. I just spent a little time downloading the user manual for my Pathfinder and found the same thing as in my copy of the manual: the manual shows two types of tailgates: one with the license plate on the left side (the model with the spare tire covering the center of the tailgate), and one with the license plate in the center of the tailgate (spare tire under the vehicle). But the manual OMITS the procedure for replacing the bulbs for the version with the plate in the center of the tailgate. Very frustrating. Its there in the diagram in the manual but no explanation for that version.

Well, I found the answer in another forum. I guess I have to remove the “trim panel” on the inside of the tailgate to get to bulbs. Involves removing a handle in the center of the inside of the tail gate then lifting the trip “up and out.” Jeeeeze. Just to change two bulbs.