How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Technical info on the Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix including do-it-yourself info
AdmRose
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:04 am

How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Postby AdmRose » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:16 am

I've never been able to find a how to on this specifically and since I had to do it anyway today I thought I'd be helpful and take some pics/give a step by step.

1) Ensure you have the proper bulbs:

2) Remove the radio trim. Do so by prying up the bottom and slowly and carefully pulling it out from the bottom up.

3) Remove all connectors from the radio trim plate. This includes the defrost and hazard buttons, the passenger airbag display, the A/C button and recirculation cable. With the exception of the cable all are harness wire connectors that detach when the clip on top is depressed. The cable is held in place by two clips (though I didn't, I see a strong potential of these two clips being broken while removing the cable - caution advised.)

4) Set the radio trim aside.

5) Remove the radio. It is held in place by these four screws:



6) Disconnect the radio wire harness and antenna. Set radio aside.

7) Start car, SET PARKING BRAKE and put car in "L."

8) Pry up trim around shift knob with a flat headed screwdriver. Do so carefully to avoid damaging the trim.

9) Once trim is up, remove fan speed control knob (it just pulls off) and remove the Philips head screw underneath.

10) You can now remove the trim from around the gear shifter (lift it up and over the knob), the HVAC controls and the 120V outlet and cigarette lighter. The trim is all one piece and is held in place by clips at the top. A little prying will get them off.

11) Another how-to stated to remove all the wiring from this trim piece. I found it easier just to let it hang towards the driver's side.

12) Now you should be looking at this. My little screwdriver is pointing to the two light bulbs you'll be changing:


You might also have noticed the paper - its there for a reason. Make sure you slide a piece of paper under the HVAC controls to catch the bulbs when you remove them or if you drop them installing the new ones (this WILL happen). This way when you drop them they simply land on the paper for easy retrieval as opposed to be lost in the innards of your Vibe's console.

13) Using a small flat head screwdriver, turn the bases of the bulbs so the two brown prongs line up with the corresponding holes in their mount. Then simply push them with a finger and they will fall out.

14) Now the hard part - putting the new bulbs in. For the passenger side bulb I found it easier to unclip the HVAC console using the two clips on each side of the console (if you look just behind the silver trim on the sides you will see them - a long enough screwdriver will undo them, just push down on the top and pull forward slightly) then pulling the passenger side forward until I could simply reach down, put the bulb in, hold it there and with a thin flat head screwdriver twist the bulb 1/4 turn to the left to lock it in place (it will take a little work to do this - make sure you do it from the front and not the back - putting the screwdriver behind the upper most prong and pushing hard while holding it in place with a finger worked for me). Push the HVAC console back into the dash until the clips on either side reengage.

15) The driver's side bulb is even harder - there is no easy way to reach it without doing more harm than good, so I devised the following. Take a little white grease from anywhere in the console and smear it on the fingertip that you'll be snaking behind the HVAC console to install the bulb. Place the new bulb on the fingertip and make sure its seated snugly. Next, snake your finger back behind the HVAC console and up to the bulb mounting - the grease will keep the bulb in place if done properly. Once you get the bulb in the hole simply hold it there with your finger and repeat the process from step 14 for securing it there. Once it's secure you're done.

16) Reinstall all trim pieces and connectors in the opposite order you removed them.

Hope this wasn't too complicated to follow but it was a frustrating experience and figured some advice could help others down the line.

2004 AWD Vibe - "The Indignant"- Traded in 7/9/12
2010 Honda Insight EX - Current ride

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Wolfman213
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:58 am
Location: Anderson, IN

Postby Wolfman213 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:04 am

Nice write up!
A word of advice for those of you switching out these bulbs for the LEDs, make sure to test the polarity before putting everything back together. Last thing you want to do is put everything back together just for it not to work and then realize the the bulb need to go another 180 degrees to match polarity lol
April 2010 Co-MOTM * Custom LED Gauge Cluster swap * LED dome, HVAC, and shifter * Retrofit projector w/ blue halo * Kenwood KDC-HD942U * Herculined cargo area * Debadged *
Wolfman's Garage

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Ls1jorge
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:26 am

Postby Ls1jorge » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:55 am

I'm in the process of switchin out the red stock bulbs from the gauge cluster to blue & white, for the HVAC lighting area is there anyway we can change the color from (stock red) to LED blue?? Is there any red Flim/Tint behind the HVAC that gives the color? Or is it jus the bulbs that I have to change??
05 Vibe-Pioneer indash touch, Remote Start Alarm, TSW 18 inch.
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99 Camaro z28- Cammed/Stalled/Full Bolt Ons
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KITT222
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:45 pm
Location: Flint, Michigan

Re: (Ls1jorge)

Postby KITT222 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:59 am

The bulbs themselves are white, which is why the light looks pink at dusk/dawn. Its not a film, but it serves the same purpose as a film to turn the white light red.

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Wolfman213
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:58 am
Location: Anderson, IN

Postby Wolfman213 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:20 pm

LS1: There is red tint behind the HVAC controls. If you look in my garage, I managed to get blue behind the HVAC controls BUT and that is a BIG BUT, you cannot do it by simply replacing them with a standard blue LED. The red will essentially difuse the blue and minimal to no light will pass through. The trick I done was I wired up a 19" flexible blue LED strip from oznium.com. It was tricky getting it in there as I had to zip tie a couple sections. Plus making sure the polarity was correct when I soldered the strip to the bulb. It was a hassle, but I really love the output. The parts that are more white shine brighter blue, but the parts that are more red shine a darker blue, almost purple. The reason that they are able to shine through even though it's a blue LED coming through a red film/tint is because it is right up on it. You will realize what I'm saying when you begin to push the panel back into place lol.
April 2010 Co-MOTM * Custom LED Gauge Cluster swap * LED dome, HVAC, and shifter * Retrofit projector w/ blue halo * Kenwood KDC-HD942U * Herculined cargo area * Debadged *
Wolfman's Garage

savoirfaire
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:06 am

Re: How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Postby savoirfaire » Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:22 pm

This is great! I wish I had seen this tutorial before I attempted replacing my HAVC bulb! The piece of paper is a great idea. I did not think to take that precaution and lost one of the replacement bulbs into the abyss. Even worse, I set my iPhone down and knocked it into the hole as well! Fortunately, I just had to remove the little storage compartment below and I was able to see the phone, grab it, and pull it out through the narrow opening down there. Could have been a disaster!

treesleavedents
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Location: phoenix

Re: How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Postby treesleavedents » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:07 am

Not sure if this is because I have an aftermarket radio or because I've got a manual transmission, but I found I didn't have to remove the radio in my car to do this. I only had to pop off the radio trim bezel and rotate it up towards the steering wheel out of the way. Everything else went as planned. Thanks for the write up!!
2003 Vibe GT navigation(swapped for MVH-x560BT). Supertones, 3M tint, Eibachs, Injen, stereo, custom upholstery, and an ultraguage. http://forums.genvibe.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=44330 Need to install my PPE header and midpipe.

aholeinthewor1d
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:48 am

Re: How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Postby aholeinthewor1d » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:19 pm

Going to be purchasing a used 08 vibe with a bulb out also. Really wish the pictures still worked. I've searched everywhere for another tutorial or video does anyone know where another one is? Thanks

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vibrologist
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Re: How To: HVAC Backlight Replacement

Postby vibrologist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:43 pm

aholeinthewor1d wrote:Going to be purchasing a used 08 vibe with a bulb out also. Really wish the pictures still worked. I've searched everywhere for another tutorial or video does anyone know where another one is? Thanks


I find this to be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECHAoRYZXJY
Vibrologist
'05 Vibe

"It is important to know the difference between 'accurate' and 'precise' even if you are neither!"

http://forums.genvibe.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=43476


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