How to Change the Bulb in the Rear Number Plate on a 2004 Malibu LS

by Chris Gilliland Google

    The 2004 Chevy Malibu LS relied on a pair of downward-facing lamps that are built into the rear compartment lid to illuminate the license plate. In order to replace a faulty license plate bulb, you must partially disassemble the trunk compartment lid's chrome applique piece to access the lamps. This may sound difficult, but the job is simple enough for most Malibu owners to accomplish with a pair of screwdrivers.

    Items you will need

    • Phillips screwdriver
    • Flat-head screwdriver
    • Shop towel or cloth
    • No.194 bulbs
    Step 1

    Open the trunk compartment lid and raise it until you can see three screws along the top of the license plate recess.These screws secure the chrome applique -- the chromed bar with the Chevrolet logo -- to the compartment lid. Unscrew the three applique screws, using a Phillips screwdriver.

    Step 2

    Open the lid completely to provide complete access of the license plate lamps at the top of the license plate recess. Slip a thin flat-head screwdriver into the sides of the license plate lamp lens to release the mounting tabs.

    Step 3

    Pull the applique away from the compartment lid until you have enough room to push the license plate lamps out of place. Hold the lamp lens in one hand and twist the bulb socket a quarter-turn counterclockwise until you can pull it free. Pull the bulb out of the socket.

    Step 4

    Grasp a new No.194 bulb with a clean shop towel or cloth and push it into the license plate lamp socket. Push the socket into the license plate lamp lens and twist it clockwise until it locks into place.

    Step 5

    Pull the applique away from the compartment lid and push the license plate lamp into license plate recess.

    Step 6

    Repeat steps 2 through 5 to replace the bulb in the remaining license plate lamp, if needed.

    Step 7

    Screw the applique screws snugly into place and close the compartment lid.


    • Avoid touching the glass portion of the license plate lamp bulb with your bare skin. The oils present on human skin can permanently damage the bulb.


    • Mitchell ProDemand: 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS; Service Manual; Lighting Systems; License Lamp Replacement