Acura RSX Upgrade Light Bulbs to LED

My latest project is to upgrade my interior and exterior lights to LED for my 2002 model vehicle.  LED bulbs are fairly inexpensive on ebay, especially shipped from China.

With LED bulbs, you can get a bright white light and you  won’t have a dead battery the next day if you leave your dome light on.   There are two styles of LED bulbs – one made with modules and COB (chip on board) where the lighting element is directly mounted onto the board.  COB should be theoretically more reliable with less solder connections.

Here is a listing of the bulbs for 2002-2003 Acura RSX from my research –


Map light (x2) – DE3175
Dome light –  DE3175
Glove box light – DE3021 (DE3175 will fit if it’s narrow)
Trunk light – 168
Cup holder light – T5 mini
High mount stop light – 7440

Exterior (not including headlights)

License plate – 168
Front side marker (x2) – 168 AMBER – these are visible so get nice looking ones
Front turn signal (x2) – 7440
Rear turn signal (x2) – 7440
Rear side marker (x2) – 168
Rear tailight/brake (x4) – 7443 (incandescent bulbs are dual filament with 4 leads and 2 levels of brightness)
Backup (x2) – 7440

Most of the interior bulbs can be accessed by popping off the plastic lens cover with a narrow flat blade.  Exterior bulbs are typically removed by turning the holder 1/4 turn counter clockwise.  LED bulbs have polarity so flip them around if they don’t light up.

DE3175  LED bulbs can be quite wide to provide the surface area for the module.  Be careful when choosing from the many different versions.

Update 1: My DE3175’s arrived and were fairly easy to install.  I used a 1″ scraper to pop off the covers.  The bulbs I bought fit the glove box light as well.  To access this bulb, it is easier to pop the glove box stoppers out from the sides.  Empty the glove box  and push the stopper from the outside towards the inside and it should pop out.  The glove box can now flip all the way down and out of the way.  You now have better access to replace the bulb.  Note that the sidelights need to be turned on for the glove box light to come on.

Update 2: My 168 bulbs came in.  I ordered COB LED rated at 80 lumens and 1W.  The old incandescent bulbs are marked 5W which convert to 75 lumens so the LEDs should be slightly brighter.  194 bulbs are 3.8W for incandescent and compatible with the LED version.

Update 3: My 7440/7443 COB LED bulbs came in.  They are very bright.  For the turn signals, the lower power is causing the flasher to hyperblink (blink fast) which usually happens if you have a burnt out bulb.  I have ordered a new flasher module that is LED compatible in order to use the LED bulbs.

For the tail/brake lights, the bulbs are not making good contact on the low side but work ok on the high (brake) side.  The wires on the LED are a bit thinner than the incandescent bulbs  and I need to figure out where contact is being lost.

Update 4: The T5 mini’s came in for the cup holder.  Pry the assembly out with a small screwdriver and twist the holder to access the bulb.  It will pull straight out.    The LED replacements  are a bit long and the lens is a narrow slit so the light doesn’t hit it properly.  There isn’t much light coming from the cup holder so I put the incandescent bulb back in.

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