Replace incandescent rear license plate lights with LEDs

Replace incandescent rear license plate lights with LEDs

Anyone tried this?

Seems like it might be a good idea. The LEDs are brighter, last longer, and use less power. Not sure why Tesla wouldn't have used LEDs to begin with. Seems like a rather non-invasive upgrade. Anyone see any downside?

GoTeslaChicago | February 1, 2013

Ordered mine 2 days ago. Will post when installed.

HansJ | February 1, 2013

I did mine. No downside. You can see the difference here with the LED on the left and the original bulb on the right.

Darmok | February 1, 2013

There's an extensive thread on it over at TMC, it seems to be quite a popular project.

mkh1437 | February 1, 2013

Just ordered a set of bulbs myself. I'll give it a shot.

TS | February 1, 2013

Why use halogen lamps in this car in the first place ?? Just a matter of cost?

The Prius comes with optional LED head lamps. Would be better for the range vs. halogen and xenon | February 1, 2013

Not sure why LEDs were not used on the license plate - the Model S prototype in 2009 had 6 LEDs. I suspect it might be more about the molded lens. Perhap they got an assembly from the Benz or Toyota parts that fit, and the LEDs would have required something custom (with more time and effort). It's really not that big a deal - but I do think the LEDs look better.

They could have used the current assembly and use the same LED we are buying, but perhaps there is a concern they could rotate under vibration and not shine downward? I haven't seen any problems in a week of use.

As for the LED in the headlights, I suspect it is a matter of cost and maybe additional engineering effort that they needed focused on more critical areas. LED headlights are clearly much more expensive that halogen or xenon.

dayoreo | February 1, 2013

They look great.

Just for ha ha s.......

18 hours of night driving, saving 18 watts of battery per hour will give you 1 extra mile.


olanmills | February 3, 2013

I definitely want to do this at some point.

Now, if anyone figures out how to replace the side blinkers with LED's that would be nice.

mkh1437 | February 9, 2013

FYI, I completed this mod this morning. It was very easy, and looks great! Every little amp saved helps!

lightly | February 9, 2013

Got my LED's yesterday!!!! Now if only I had my Model S. :(

Stgwbrown | February 9, 2013

Can someone recommend an online store to purchase the LED? How hard is it to install. I am getting my car on Monday!

c.bussert67 | February 9, 2013

I've used VLEDS for years. They are a bit more, but I've tried other sites that are a few bucks cheaper, but they have failed over time. The VLED units are still going. Here is a link for the part.

You can choose between 5K (pure white), or 6K (blue tint). I used the 5K.

mkh1437 | February 9, 2013 If you follow the link in the original post, that article has a link to the eBay store where you can buy them. That is where I bought mine. $5.99 for two, free shipping. They were a piece of cake to install. Only took about 10 minutes. All you need is a Philips screwdriver.

Stgwbrown | February 9, 2013

mkh1437 and super67cobra - Thanks for the assist

Steve P5664 | February 9, 2013

Can someone tell us (those awaiting delivery) what LED size is correct to order? Light model # ?

While I await delivery ( hopefully this week although I'm sure this NE blizzard will slow down the pace a day or two) I'd like to order them to help pass the time.

mkh1437 | February 9, 2013

@SteveP5664 Follow the link at the top of the thread. It has a link to the exact item to buy on eBay.

Schlermie | February 9, 2013

I installed mine this morning too. I had to install mine twice, because I installed both of them backwards the first time. Make sure you test them by turning on the the lights first before you put the screws back in. There's no polarity indication on the LEDs, so you need to guess and hope you put them in the right direction. If they don't light up, just flip them around the other way.

July10Models | February 9, 2013

Has anyone tested their AM radio reception with these. Changing passive resistive components to active components may cause RF interference to nearby radios. 1 watt is a lot of juice and may saturate the freq spectrum of your AM tuner if it happen to leak in the RF band. I just ordered some but don!t really listen to AM radio anyway.

nickjhowe | February 9, 2013

Thanks @Schlermie - I forgot to check mine! One was working, one wasn't. Quick turn and I was good to go.

Schlermie | February 9, 2013

I checked a moderately strong AM station and flipped the lights off & on, but there was no audible change in the reception. Even though the LEDs are active devices technically, it's just DC current flowing through them, so I wouldn't expect any interference.

Brian H | February 10, 2013

Exactly. The "frequency" of DC is zero, hence no RF.

GReese | July 10, 2013

I did this mod. Piece of cake and it looks great!

saprolf | August 31, 2013

No problem to install. Looks great and is easy. Saves some energy as well.

pencil2man | August 31, 2013

just to be sure, i ordered the led lights with 2 leds per light. it seemed to be what was indicated. is the correct?

Alex K | August 31, 2013

@pencil2man | AUGUST 31, 2013: just to be sure, i ordered the led lights with 2 leds per light. it seemed to be what was indicated. is the correct?

These are the ones I used. Bought from eBay for $5.99 including shipping (click on image for eBay link):

suratchai | August 31, 2013
cfOH | August 31, 2013

I got the AGT LEDs from ebay as well and they work perfectly. Took all of 5 minutes and a Philips-head screwdriver to swap them out.

seegem | October 8, 2013

Can anyone tell me why mine keep burning out? First they begin to flicker, then fail entirely. It takes about 2 weeks. I've tried so many different brands too...

mkh1437 | October 8, 2013

@seegem no idea. That has not been my experience. I replaced mine in February, and have had no problems so far. | October 8, 2013

Very strange. Had mine for about 7-8 months without a problem.

Pungoteague_Dave | October 8, 2013

Mine are fine after 8 months. Seems strange that they would not be included on a car with LED's everywhere else. Best dirt cheap upgrade so far...

Chuck Lusin | October 8, 2013


The car already has several hundred LED’s already, four more should not make any difference.

JPPTM | October 8, 2013

My eBay LED replacements still good at 5 months. Dave, BTW, I assume that TM buys the license plate lamp assemblies as is from an OEM (?Mercedes) supplier pre-lamped with incandescent lamps. Obviously no urgency for them to reengineer/refit these with LEDs, even though there is an esthetic issue.

Gizmotoy | October 8, 2013

Are LEDs legal for license plates in all states? I know a few have very strict guidelines for the color temperature of the license plate lights. I wonder if this stems from that. Otherwise, the already shared parts hypothesis seems like the most likely scenario.

Brian H | October 8, 2013

Voltage? Water leaks? Installation errors?

seegem | October 9, 2013

Brian H: it does seem to suggest over voltage. In fact the resistors on the led modules seemed blacked on some. Ill do a voltage check this weekend and report back. No evidence of water leaks. I'm pretty sure my installation was decent :)

stevenmaifert | October 9, 2013

One of my two eBay LED replacements failed after a month. Replaced with one I bought on All good for last 4 months.

ModelSD | December 24, 2013

TeslaTap's link to the eBay search is broken and when I try searching "1W LED," it's a mess. Does anyone have a better eBay link?

stevenmaifert | December 24, 2013
S_X_NJ | December 26, 2013

My tesla isn't here yet, and I'm already shopping accessories! Yeah, I guess I'm one of the obsessed fans.
I picked up
"Super Bright White LED License Plate Lights 1.5" Festoon 6418 C5W 1 WATT" from ebay. $5.99 with free shipping.

Should get these the same day as my car, I hope.

TeslaF1 | January 1, 2014

I just upgraded my lights and it looks much better. Very easy to do and highly recommended. | January 1, 2014

@stevenmaifert - thanks for the note. I've removed eBay (which is always difficult to reference long term) and replaced it with a link to the LED on Amazon.

Note there are plenty of other good sources both in Amazon and eBay, and the prices with shipping are often similar.