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Old 11-13-2019, 08:27 PM   #1
paulsome
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Third brake light bulb

Hi all,

I have two of the center brake light bulbs burned out on my '03 Ion. The owners manual says they are a PC-175 bulb, but none of the auto parts stores around me seem to carry that bulb type.

My question is: is the yellow socket that twists into the brake light assembly supposed to be replaced with the bulb? I initially tried replacing just the bulb itself with the closest bulb the store carried - a Sylvania 194. The bulbs themselves have the same base, but the metal contacts are slightly different, and I only got one of the two to work.

I've had the car for almost a decade, and this is the first time I've ever had to replace a center mount brake light bulb. To any of you who have replaced one of these, did you replace the bulb/socket combo, or just the bulb?

An online search yielded this:
https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/LMAPC175

Thanks,
Paul

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Old 11-14-2019, 12:04 AM   #2
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Third brake light lamps may be the oddball ones. I had the same issue with my L300 when trying to replace them Mine are a different number but basically the same type of bulb with plastic bayonet holder. They're one piece units, lamp with bulb holder and replaced as a unit. A quarter turn ccw to remove, quarter turn to lock and connect. When I couldn't find the exact replacements I did the next best repair - buying just the lamps, cutting the leads off the dead bulbs, inserting the new ones in and finagling the wiring to connect the holder to lamp. Testing ensures light operation. A few lamps were replaced over the years. Online exact replacements are just as expensive as the NAPA price per lamp assembly. Lamp packs of two or three are cheaper but you have to setup the lamp wires to connect to the base correctly in order to reuse the bases. Your only option besides this is buying the NAPA bulb as long as the base fits the third brake light sockets.

Other Ion members may have better ideas or links for replacement lights.

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Old 11-14-2019, 03:06 AM   #3
ruley73
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2007 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Re: Third brake light bulb

PC175 bulbs are correct, but PC168 bulbs will also work. You have a couple different options.

You can buy six PC175 bulbs from RockAuto for about $12 (including tax, shipping and 5% discount).

You can also buy T10 twist lock bases/sockets from eBay or Amazon for about $7. This would allow you to install the cheaper, more common 194/168 bulbs or equivalent LEDs.

If you install LEDs, make sure they are red (not white) and make sure they project light out of the sides as well as the top. You may be able to find a set of LEDs that come with the correct T10 bases for less than $10.

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Old 11-15-2019, 07:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
When I couldn't find the exact replacements I did the next best repair - buying just the lamps, cutting the leads off the dead bulbs, inserting the new ones in and finagling the wiring to connect the holder to lamp. Testing ensures light operation.
This is pretty much how I got one of the two to work - the first bulb had broken when trying to remove it, and the leads from the old one were still wedged in the socket, so my replacement 198 bulb worked. For the second, the dead bulb came out cleanly, so the leads for the new bulb didn't match up. So I tried the same process as the first bulb, but couldn't get the leads to cooperate.

Thanks, everyone. I was able to find a 2-pack of the PC168 bulbs for a decent price, so I'll probably give those a shot. Here is the link if anyone else is interested:
https://www.topbulb.com/pc168-bulb-2...hilips-pc168b2

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Old 11-15-2019, 07:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsome View Post
I was able to find a 2-pack of the PC168 bulbs for a decent price, so I'll probably give those a shot. Here is the link if anyone else is interested:
https://www.topbulb.com/pc168-bulb-2...hilips-pc168b2
Never mind, turns out you need to spend a minimum of $50 to get that price...

After more searching I was able to find the PC168 bulb for $1.50 at NAPA though.

Thanks again.

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Old 11-16-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Oddball place but Home Depot...lol. Free ship to store if not in stock.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Wagner-L...C175/309151105

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Old 11-17-2019, 01:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by imaddicted2u View Post
Oddball place but Home Depot...lol. Free ship to store if not in stock.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Wagner-L...C175/309151105
As I posted earlier, you can buy all six PC175 bulbs from Rockauto for $12 shipped. You'd be crazy to pay $5/bulb for them elsewhere.

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Old 11-17-2019, 02:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Third brake light bulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruley73 View Post
As I posted earlier, you can buy all six PC175 bulbs from Rockauto for $12 shipped. You'd be crazy to pay $5/bulb for them elsewhere.
I saw that just posted it because Home Depot is local.

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