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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help! I have to replace the passenger tail light assembly on my 2016 xc90 but apparently this is not meant to be done by the average user! Every other car I've owned has tail lights easily removed with one or two fasteners, including my other volvo.

But the fasteners are not easily accessible on the xc90: the bottom fastener looks to be hidden somewhere under the bumper. The top fastener hidden behind the pillar.

Does anyone have instructions or guidance on how to replace the tail light assembly?? The volvo dealer where I purchased the replacement was of no help. They want me to pay them to install it!!

I do not understand why volvo would design the light this way for the new xc90. Even with LEDs that are meant to last forever, the plastic lens is bound to crack due to accidents (as in my case) so this should be a part that is easily replaced!

Anyone can help me before I start tearing apart my bumper and rear interior trim in search of the fasteners?? I found zero results in this forum and nothing on google and youtube except for the older xc90 which was a different design (and easy replaced).

Thanks in advance.

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I remember seeing a thread where someone replaced the US spec SPA taillight with one that lights up amber. I think the pictures there could be useful. I don't remember if it was a SPA xc90 or SPA xc60 though.
 

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you'd have to take off the bumper and take carpeting off the back. you will, as well, need a pretty long extension for the nut, that is magnetic, otherwise you will loose it, an access to it thru the pillar is thru the very small hole. most likely you will need a helper that will squeeze the flashlight into various holes (in the car), so you can see the nut
 

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I went to look at the US spec tail lights that came with mine for that day when we relocate and pulled open the area to see what you are talking about. Doesn't look like it is going to be easy. The left rear might be easier but on both sides the upper pillar houses an airbag which looks like it will be very near to the upper bolt attachment on the light assembly. Also looks like you will need to remove the rear bumper to reach the lower bolt.

I imagine this guy isn't far off with this XC60 walk through- some of the photos look very similar to the areas you may need to reach. Not the SPA but might give you ideas should you try to do the work yourself.
http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/...Tail-Light-Bulbs-Replacement-Guide/index.html
 

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2018 Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design with air suspension and B&W Sound system
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2018 Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design with air suspension and B&W Sound system
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I just did this to install my euro tail lights... It is not easy, but not impossible either. The rear bumper needs to come off although I only released the upper part and kept the lower 4 bolts still attached. Getting to the upper tail light bolt is a pain... it requires removing all 3 C pillar covers in order to access it. There is one bolt hidden behind the Airbag symbol which removes the top C pillar cover. Then you have to remove a nut for the second C pillar cover where the seatbelt comes out of. The lower rear panel requires removal of a bolt that is hidden behind the chrome cargo latch. The rest is just clips that require a good tug. The upper tail light bolt is through a small hole behind the upper C pillar cover that I was able to reach with an extension. I was able to remove the bolt by carefully removing the socket but a magnetic socket would make this less problematic ( I did not have one). To install I used a little painters tape to attach the bolt to the socket which once tightened the tape would release. I tried taking some pics but it was hard to show the bolt locations. For the rear bumper cover removal I just used the Invisihitch installation instructions.

in summary, there are 3 bolts holding the tail lights in... the top bolt is behind the upper C pillar cover which is accessed through a small hole in the body shell, the second is a nut on the inside behind the lower C pillar cover (Rear cargo carpet area) and required removing a round foam plug to access, the final and 3rd bolt is outside behind the bumper cover by the hatch opening.
 

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2018 Volvo XC90 T6 R-Design with air suspension and B&W Sound system
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Big thanks to all the replies!! Well I finally made some time to install the new tail light assembly on my 2016 XC90. I combined all the suggestions from different people above.
It took me about 2 hours.

The tools I required:
- T25 torx
- 8mm socket
- 10mm socket
- socket extension
- magnetic pickup tool
- plastic pry tool for trim removal
- flashlight

Here's my step-by-step guide for installing a new passenger side tail light, along with pictures. I assume steps for the driver side are similar. I hope this is helpful for everyone!

Step 1: Remove first pillar cover. You need to first remove the plastic "airbag" cap to expose the bolt. Then use 8mm socket to remove the bolt. Then give a good tug on the cover to remove it.


Step 2: Remove second pillar cover. You need to use a 10mm socket to remove the bolt which is next to the airbag. Then pull the cover off.


Step 3: After removing the second pillar cover, you will see the hole in the pillar which will be used to access the top bolt securing the tail light.


Step 4: Here is the tricky part! This step to remove the top bolt from the tail light took me the longest time (about 15 minutes) because I worked very carefully and did not want to drop the bolt inside the pillar! You also will need a flashlight and maneuver the light thru the hole to find the bolt. Use a 8mm socket with an extension to loosen the bolt. I did NOT completely remove the bolt with the socket. After loosening the bolt, I used a magnetic pickup tool to finish loosening the bolt and then remove the bolt from the hole. You may have a better idea to get this done, or if you have a magnetic socket extension it will be easy, but just be careful here!


Step 5: To access the second tail light bolt, you have to remove an interior panel of the cargo area. First, pull the tray out. Then use 8mm socket to remove 2 bolts behind the chrome cargo anchors.




Step 6: Pull the panel out. This required a few good tugs. You do not need to completely remove the panel. Just enough to leave space at the rear to access the electrical connector and the bolt.


Step 7: Disconnect the electrical connector from the tail light. Press firmly on the top part of the connector and then pull it out.


Step 8: To get access to the second tail light bolt, someone else above mentioned they removed the round foam plug. I just pulled back the insulation to expose the bolt and give me more room to work. Try whatever works for you to expose the bolt. Then using a 8mm socket remove the bolt from the the tail light.


Step 9: Now we have to access the third and final tail light bolt which is hidden under the bumper cover. First, remove the wheel trim. Starting from the front, pull firmly on the trim away from the vehicle to release the clips, then work carefully towards the rear. Make sure not to bend the trim too much.


Step 10: Using a T25 torx wrench, remove the 5 screws from the wheel well. (I am not sure if this step is really necessary... but I was following the steps for bumper removal from the Invisihitch installation.).


Step 11: Remove the rubber stop from the cargo area. No tools needed. Just turn counter-clockwise and pull out.


Step 12: Remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the bumper cover using a T25 torx. (This step may also not be necessary. But I didn't want to take a chance and bend the bumper cover so I did this step).


Step 13: Now back to the wheel well. Using a plastic pry tool, release the 3 clips holding the bumper cover to the wheel well.


Step 14: Working from the wheel well towards the back of the vehicle, pull the bumper cover to release the clips. I did not need to completely remove the bumper cover, just move it enough to expose the tail light bolt.


Step 15: Finally, you will see the third bolt holding the tail light. Using a 8mm socket remove the bolt.


Step 16: With the third bolt removed, now you can remove the tail light assembly!

Steps 17+... Install your new tail light assembly and then reverse all the steps above.

Now you have saved yourself $$$. My dealer wanted to charge me over $200 just for labor!!

I find this process is something we all will have to do at one point or another because the white back-up light bulb is not LED. Eventually the back-up light bulb will burn out and you will have to remove the entire tail light assembly just to replace the bulb. Bad design on Volvo's part. I do not understand why they made all other lights LEDs except this one bulb.

Hope this saves you some time and money. Thanks to all for good advice!!!
 

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I combined all the suggestions from different people above.
Thank you for putting them all together into one concise howto with pictures. :)

This is insane. Is it intentional to make it this complex?
In the grand scheme of things, design for serviceability ranges quite widely imho. Here's one side of extreme:
https://www.autoblog.com/2018/07/19/watch-bugatti-veyron-21-000-oil-change/
Changing the oil on one of the supercars starts with needing specialty GoJack car dollies to get underneath and hoist the lowered body high enough to get it on the shop's lift. Then, you have to remove the wheels on both sides, rear fender and carbon-fiber panel, carbon fiber wheel-well panels, the fuel filler ... and on and on and on.

Also, where most modern cars have one or two drain plugs, the Veyron has 16. The mechanics managed to drain 16.5 quarts of oil from the quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 engine.

Rather do it yourself? Well, the mechanics estimate the difficulty of the oil change ranked a 20 on a 1-to-10 scale. At least for the first hour or so, until they managed to pry off the rear panel.
 

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Considering how easy it is to remove one of the tail lights on a first generation XC90, why on earth did they make it so difficult this time??
 

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Wow, thanks for posting. if I'd have read the directions without the pics, I wouldn't have believed it!
 

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thanks! i might need to do it as well, one of the tail lights is really weird in a way that it touches the body at the top and the bottom while has the proper gap in the middle. the other one has the uniform gap along its entire length. i wonder if something broke inside
 

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Dropping the bolt down the pillar is one of those diabolical possibilities that makes $200 seem absolutely cheap!
 

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This is great - thanks!
 
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