A diversion from my usual tinkering with the Cortina was brought about recently by the failure of the offside rear lamp on my Nissan Primera. (Yes I do have a “modern” as well.)

Having discovered the failed tail lamp I was perplexed by a seemingly sealed lamp unit which appeared to be invisibly affixed to the body. Now, on the Cortina, you simply unscrew four self-tappers and, low and behold, you have access to the bulb, not so on the Primera. Time for the owners manual.clip_image001


The tiny drawing in the manual gave me a clue. Pulling off a piece of plastic trim, located between the boot lip and the lamp unit, revealed two 10mm bolts, which I undid.





The lamp unit now wobbled around but stayed resolutely attached to the car. It appeared to be clipped.Further study of the manual indicated pulling the lamp away from the car. I gave a gentle tug, nothing happened. Knowing the love manufacturers have for plastic clips, and knowing how  easily they snap I tried again, and again. The lamp unit came away from the car body, the clips stayed intact, success.


The secret is to pull the lamp unit straight out from the car and not to twist it, easier said than done when the clips are both on the same side and there is not enough room to get your fingers in the gap.

clip_image003Although the lamp unit is now free it is still connected by a  multi-plug, which the manual indicates you simple pull out. It does not however indicate how tight it is, and I had to resort to gentle prising with a screw-driver. (Make sure the lamps are switched off before doing this or your next job will involve changing fuses.)


One the unit is free of the car place it face down on a clean cloth, (the plastic lens scratches easily), and remove the three self tapping screws holding the plastic bulb holder assembly from the lamp unit.




The relevant failed bulb can now be changed.

Assembly  is simply the reverse of pulling it apart, I would however recommend checking everything works before attaching the lamp unit back to the car, otherwise a second fight with the plastic clips will be required.



Despite initial misgivings I was pleasantly  surprised with the thought Nissan had put into this. Being able to remove the lamp unit from the car to carry out fault finding and diagnostic work is really useful, especially as the car gets older and contacts get tarnished.

The only downside is that this is not a five-minute job on the side of the road, especially on a cold wet night. (I was working in my drive on a warm pleasant spring day). I always carry at least one bulb kit in my cars, but I had to use a 10mm socket to undo the two securing screws and a socket set is not something I routinely carry around in a modern car in case of bulb failure. Maybe I will in future or perhaps I will just call out the AA.