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02 August 2006

European Tail Lights with Amber Turn Signals

Why does the US A3 have red rear turn signals? Seriously, why? I don't care that they look red when off, but turn signals that flash red are dangerously ambiguous compared to the very unambiguous amber flash that is mandatory in the rest of the world. Why go through the effort and expense of making less safe & functional ones just for the US market? I knew that the lenses were a direct swap for the Euro-spec ones before I got the car, so I knew that I could fix the problem easily. The only difficult part was the cost - on a tight budget, I wasn't going to spend the money to buy a set of lenses that Audi should have put on the car to begin with.

On the other hand, no matter where you are in the world it seems like the grass is always greener elsewhere. There must be somebody in Europe who really wants 'US Style' rear lights on their A3, all I had to do was find that person.... I posted on a few German A3 forums, but got no serious takers. Finally a fellow member of the VWVortex/Fourtitiude A3 forum said that he wanted US taillamps with red signals on his A3 in Turkey. We agreed to a swap. I borrowed a set of US lenses from someone who had already done the upgrade, and with only a little bit of waiting and the cost of shipping, the exchange was made! My original taillight lenses now live in Turkey, and my car now has proper amber turn signals.

You can order these from several vendors in the US such as World Impex, or it may be cheaper actually to have them shipped over from VAGParts.

The part numbers you will need are:
8P4 945 096 C Left side
8P4 945 095 C Right side

Note: Also see my article on Rear Fog Lights

The part to be replaced:

Only the outboard lens assembly needs to be replaced. The part on the hatch is the same worldwide.

Amber turn signals:

As you can see, they still look 'all red' when off, but illuminate amber.


Use a flat screwdriver to pop out these covers on the inside of the cargo area behind the lights. (Left side shown here.)

On the right side (shown here), be careful of this red plastic line - it's the emergency release for the fuel-filler lid in case the electrical opening fails.

There is a long plastic nut holding in the taillight lens (one on each side, shown here removed). It has a slot in the top so you may be able to remove it with a screwdriver, but if it's very tight that may damage it, so have a socket on hand just in case.

When that nut is removed, you can pull the lens out slightly. Do not pull it out more than this, you will break the tabs on the other end.

The other end of the lens has two ball tabs that seat in rubber grommets. This is very awkward to remove, be careful not to break the tabs or damage your fender when working it out!

Unplug the electrical connection from the light assembly. (This is also how you replace the two outboard taillamp bulbs and the turn signal bulb if they burn out - they are 7506 (P21W) bulbs.)

Installation of the new lenses is the reverse of removal.

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