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Q: Cost for replacement of center (third) brake light bulb on 2007 Hyundai Sonata

It was noted by the dealer during a "Fitness Inspection & Treatment Plan" when I took it for other service that the center brake light bulb in the rear window needed replacement. The cost estimate was 73.00. When I inquired why so high, I was told that the rear seat had to be removed to perform the function. I question why a manufacturer would make bulb replacement for safety reasons so hard and expensive to do. Hyudai has had brake light problems with the rear lamps and put out recall notices. I had this addressed previously about 2 years ago. I had a 1999 Sonata prior to this one. Drove it for 7 years, passed it on to my son and never had to replace any brake light bulbs.
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I fought with changing the brake light per the service manual on the Hyundai site. (The manual requires removing trim in the back seat and the "package-tray" in the back window to gain access!) After about an hour, I decided that there had to be a better way. There is no way that a dealer is going to remove all the trim in the back window to change a light bulb. I was determined to find their shortcut.
With the package tray pealed back as best I could, I still could not adequately maneuver the light socket let alone change out a bulb and replace it. I could, however, see the light socket enough to be able to reach into the trunk through the rear seat passenger compartment and marked the spot under the bulb. I then cut my own access hole with a 2-1/4 inch hole-saw through both layers of sheet metal of the trunk "ceiling" directly below the light.
On the 2007 Sonata trunk ceiling (not the lid!) there are raised portions of sheet metal, directly below the light there is one of these raised portions. I cut my hole just aft of the center of the raised portion which just so happened to be about 2-1/4 inches across.
My saw cut though both layers at about 3/4" deep and my pilot bit set maybe an 1/8" further out. I ensured that all wires were clear using a nearby hole. Remember to de-bur your holes before getting your fingers in there!!!
From now on my light bulb changes will be a relatively straight forward procedure. Hope this works for someone else out there! I have posted a photo that may help. Good luck!
16.99. the rear seat does not have to be removed. go to a shop that knows what they are doing.

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