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Chevrolet Malibu License Plate Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out license plate light bulb in a ninth generation 2016 to 2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu

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2020 Malibu Trunk Lid
Left License Plate Light
Right Side Light Housing
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu in changing a burnt out license plate light bulb located in the housing attached to the trunk lid or upgrading both of them to brighter LED units.

The 9th generation Malibu was supposed to undergo a "facelift" in 2022 or 2023 and the refreshed vehicle may have continued being produced into the 2024 and 2025 model years but it will now apparently be discontinued after the 2023 model year.

Owners of other General Motors vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Holden such as the Impala, Corvette, Bolt, Sonic, Spark, Express, Trax, TrailBlazer, Equinox, Traverse, Blazer, Tahoe, Suburban, Colorado, Silverado, Cruze, Volt, Camaro, Encore, Envision, Enclave, Regal, LaCrosse, Canyon, Sierra, Terrain, Acadia, Yukon, Savana, XT4, XT5, XT6, Escalade, CT4, CT5, CT6 and Commodore may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement miniature wedge base light bulb part number is 2825 (also known as "W5W") which is available from various manufacturers such as Sylvania, GE, Bosch and Philips.

If you'd like to have brighter license plate lights that will also last much longer before burning out, install some 2825 LED bulbs.

The only tool needed to access and replace the bulbs is a small flat head screwdriver or a plastic pry bar tool.


Small Notch - Outer Edge
Insert Screwdriver Blade
Gently Pull Out Housing
The procedure for changing the left (driver) side or the right (passenger) side light bulb is the same.

Locate the small notch on the outer edge of the light housing.

Insert the blade of your flat head screwdriver or a plastic pry bar tool into the notch.

Gently push the outer edge of the light housing towards the center line of the trunk and carefully pull it down.

There is a small plastic tab on the outer edge of the light housing and a flexible plastic retaining clip on the inner edge.

Try to avoid using excessive force when you pry out the light to prevent from breaking the housing or scratching the paint on underside of the trunk lid.

Retaining Clip, Inner Edge
Light Housing Removed
Pry Out Right Housing
Repeat the process if you need to remove the other light housing.

Insert the blade of your screwdriver into the notch (cut out section) on the outer edge of the light housing.

Gently push in towards the center and pull down the outer edge of the housing.

Plastic Clip - Inner Edge
Right Housing Removed
Both Housings Removed
Carefully pull the light housing straight out of the opening in the underside of the trunk lid.

Try to avoid pulling or stressing the electrical wires.

1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Bulb Socket Removed
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Rotate the base of the light bulb socket 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before pulling it straight out of the housing.

If the old light bulb was recently turned on, be careful when you remove it since the bulb might still be hot enough to burn your fingers.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing the old bulb due to rust or debris, try gently wiggling it back and forth while carefully pulling it straight out.

Avoid placing excessive pressure on the old bulb to prevent it from breaking between your fingers.

OEM # W5W Bulb
Push In New Light Bulb
New Bulb Installed
The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) miniature wedge bae light bulb was marked as part number "W5W" which is the same as the # 2825 bulb.

Push a new number 2825 bulb straight into the socket.

If you'd like to have brighter license plate lights, install some compatible replacement 2825 LED light bulbs.

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Re-Insert Tab Inner Side
Gently Pop In Clip, Outer
Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to secure it into place.

If you installed an LED bulb, I recommend testing it before re-installing the light housing into the trunk lid.

Tip - If the LED bulb doesn't work, try pulling it out of the socket, rotating it 180 degrees and pushing it back into the socket. Some LED bulbs are polarized and will only work when the "+" positive and "-" negative electrical contacts are in the correct orientation.

Carefully re-insert the wires and the tab on the inner edge of the light housing back into the opening in the underside of the trunk lid.

Gently push on the outer edge of the light housing to secure the plastic retaining clip.

You should hear or feel the flexible plastic retaining clip "click" securely into place.

Right Side Housing
Insert Tab Inner Edge First
Gently Pop In Clip, Outer
Repeat the process to replace the other bulb and re-install the light housing.
Test New Light Bulbs
Light Housing Secured
Bulb Change Complete
To test the new light bulbs, turn on the parking lights or the headlights. You could also press the "Unlock" button on the key fob to re-activate the exterior lights.

Be sure to record the bulb change in your car's service records.

Please check out all of the 2016-2023 GM Chevrolet Malibu DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

If you found this guide to be helpful, please consider making a small donation by clicking on the "Donate" button located to the right of this paragraph. Thank you!
(Note: I am not a registered charity. Donations are not tax deductible.)


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