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How to Change the Third Brake Light on a Golf MK4

Updated July 20, 2017

The Volkswagen Golf MK4, a luxury version of the standard Volkswagen Golf, utilises a 3-light brake light warning system. The high mounted brake light, often called a centre brake light, is an essential part of the system. This light is designed to attract the attention of drivers who might be focusing in the distance, with their eyes scanning higher than usual. The light consists of several small bulbs instead of just one, so a single burnt out bulb will not render the light completely ineffective. However, you should change burnt out bulbs as soon as possible to avoid having more than one out at a time.

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Fold down the car's rear seat to access the boot, to which the light is attached. It might also help to open the boot lid.

Squeeze the locking tabs on the side of the electrical connector and pull it from the light assembly.

Press the three metal retaining clips on the side of the light housing, and pull the housing off the boot lid.

Press the two tabs on the bulb holder to release it from the housing.

Pull out any burnt out bulbs, and replace them with new ones.

Snap the bulb holder back into the housing. You should hear a click when the tab locks into place.

Snap the housing back onto the bracket on the boot lid. You may have to press in the tabs to get it to seat properly and lock into place.

Replace the electrical connector. You can simply slide it into place and the tabs will lock automatically.

Open the hatch and use a small, flat-blade screwdriver to gently pry off the trim along the top edge of the hatch. Cover the screwdriver with a soft cloth to avoid accidental scratches.

Press the bulb holder retaining tabs and pull it out of the housing.

Pull out any burnt out bulbs and replace them with new ones.

Snap the bulb holder back into the housing.

Replace the trim piece by positioning it in the proper locating and gently tapping it with the heel of your palm to lock it into place.


Keep a few spare bulbs in the glove box for quick changes when you are travelling.


Don't touch the glass of the bulbs with your fingers. This leaves traces of oil behind and will cause them to burn out faster.

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Things You'll Need

  • Replacement bulb(s) (#2825)
  • Small flat-blade screwdriver
  • Soft cloth

About the Author

Rex Molder began writing professionally in 1999 and specializes in automotive, technology and travel articles. His articles have appeared at iPad- and SEO-related websites. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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