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Acura MDX 3rd Brake Light Bulbs Replacement Guide
How to change a burnt out high mount third brake light bulb in the tailgate of a 1st generation 2001-2006 Acura MDX.

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2006 MDX Rear Window
3rd Brake Lights Housing
Two Small Notches
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically created to assist owners of the first generation (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) Acura MDX in changing a burnt out high mount third brake light bulb located in the housing at the top of the back windshield window on the tailgate cargo area door.

Owners of other Acura or Honda vehicles such as the RDX, ILX, TLX, RLX, TL, CL, RSX, RL, TSX, ZDX, NSX, Integra, Pilot, Accord, Civic, Fit, Clarity, CR-V, CR-Z, HR-V, Odyssey, Element  and Ridgeline may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The compatible replacement light bulb part number is 7440 (also known as W21W).

If you would like to have a brighter third brake light, replace both bulbs with 7440 LED bulbs.

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

Pry Out Access Cover
Access Panel Removed
Brake Light Bulb Socket
The first two steps are to open the tailgate door for the cargo area.

Locate the third brake light housing at the top of the rear window.

There are two small notches at the top of the bulb socket access cover.

To prevent from scratching the plastic surfaces, you may choose to either cover the tip of your screwdriver with a thin micro fiber cloth or instead use a small plastic pry bar tool.

Insert the blade of your small flathead screwdriver into one of the two notches and gently pry out the access cover.

You may need to re-insert the tool into the other notch to fully remove the access panel.

Set the access cover aside in a safe place.

1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
Pull Out Old Light Bulb
Old # 7440 Light Bulb
There are two high mount third brake light bulb sockets.

Rotate the grey plastic bulb socket 1/4 turn counterclockwise before pulling it straight out of the housing.

Pull the old light bulb straight out of the socket.

If you have trouble removing the old light bulb, very gently rock or wiggle it back and forth while pulling it straight out.


Push In New Light Bulb
1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
Other 3rd Brake Light Bulb
Push a new number 7440 (also known as part # W21W) light bulb straight into the socket.

If you'd like to have brighter 3rd brake lights, there are compatible replacement 7440 LED light bulbs available.

Re-insert the bulb socket into the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

If you bought a two pack of new bulbs, you might as well replace the other light bulb at the same time. You can save the old but still working second bulb as an emergency backup spare in the glove box or in one of the cargo area storage compartments.

Bulb Sockets Secured
Bottom - 3 Slots & 3 Tabs
Pop In Clips - Top Edge
Line up the plastic access cover with the housing.

There are three slots on the bottom edge of the cover and three corresponding tabs on the bottom edge of the housing (as seen with the tailgate door fully opened).

Secure Slots Over Tabs
Third Brake Bulbs Replaced
Test New 3rd Brake Lights
Re-insert the top edge of the plastic access cover and gently snap in the bottom edge.

Double check that the access panel is securely in place.

To test the new 3rd brake light bulbs, have an assistant step on the brake pedal.

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

For more, please check out all of my 2001-2006 Acura MDX 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!
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