How to Replace the rear bulbs on the Gen 3/Z12

It happens to everyone, a rear bulb goes out and some helpful citizen shouts at you from another car, usually followed or preceded by something about the weird car your in! The lights aren’t accessed from inside the car like many other models so you’ll probably find the kid from halfords with the basic tool kit you just paid £5 to fit your new bulb to looking puzzled as they didn’t have one of these on the training video. So to get into the rear light bulbs to swap them over you need to go through the following procedure.

Standard disclaimer time.

  • Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
  • You follow these instructions at your own risk and I nor do the Nissan cube owners club or any of its organisers or members take any responsibility for any damage or loss incurred by you carrying out these works.
  • Don’t force anything as you can break the light housings if you hit them.
  • If you’re not sure get a qualified auto electrician to do the work for you.


  • Large flat blade screw driver (for popping body clips).
  • Small flat blade screw driver (for separating wiring plugs).
  • Socket set with an extension bar.

So first things first, make sure you have any stereo codes if you need and disconnect the battery. You’re going to be working on the electrics and I don’t want anyone fried but if you choose not to that’s up to you!

To remove the rear light housing open the rear door and take off the centre top finisher. This is 2 press clips that you lift the centre area of to release and then lift clear.

Removal exposes the fixings for the cube logo finisher which is removed by quarter turning the 2 square pegs on the left and right. THESE AREN’T SCREWS! They will break if you try to turn them more than as far as aligning with the hole. Once the panel is free remove the clips from the car body and install them in the trim panel as it’s far easier to push the panel back on with them this way around.

twist clip

You can now see 2 bolt heads (one at the end of each light)and these are the final solid fixings. Use the socket set to undo these and then it’s just fingers to pry.


The light unit is now free apart from some small clips in behind the unit that free as you prise the unit out. Starting at the centre of the car gently pull the unit free until you can get a grip of the unit at the top nearer the outside of the car and gentle ease it out. They are fairly stubborn to free from the body but they will come with the last clip being top outer edge on the light.

Once free check that the clips have pulled free of the holders and not the holders free of the car. It’s not a problem if the holder has come out the panel but it’s not possible to put the light back in with the holder on the clip so you need to take it off and put it back in the car before you reinstall the light.

From here each of the bulbs is free to twist out of the unit.

The bulbs for the uk car are –

Reversing – W16W – 921

Indicator – PY21W – 581 (swap them out for the silver Philips versions and it will look a lot nicer!)

Brake – W21/5W – R580

Fog – W16W – 921

Reassembly is the reverse of removal obviously. Key points to take special care of are that when putting the light unit back in go gently, it’s fiddly to get the pegs into the locator clips but it shouldn’t be too hard to do so don’t hit the unit as you’ll crack the cover! Also the black finisher above the light doesn’t seem to wrap all the way over the light unit so it sits slightly proud at the front edge so again don’t hit it to get it flush!!!

2 thoughts on “How to Replace the rear bulbs on the Gen 3/Z12

  1. Hi, I have quite a basic 2004 Cube
    Which has some cill & wheel arch damage.. I was thinking to add a funky Bumper, Trims & skirt.. Instead of just getting them repaired.. But I’m finding it really difficult to source any..?

    I’m in the Manchester area of the UK..

    Could you advise me please..

    Need help..




    • Unfortunately Jae aftermarket parts for the Cube are rare in the UK whichever generation you have. We have members who have used after market universal over arches to achieve a good look on the Gen 2 and people who have used various facia board materials to make skirts and cills for the base of the car. If you take a look at the facebook group you should get plenty of inspiration and be able to ask how the various looks were achieved.

      Our most common answer as to where to get Cube mods though…

      B&Q and Toys r Us!


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