Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by veteran » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:50 pm

Rum4mo,

With reference to the lettering on the bulb, if I'm not mistaken, you seem to have thought that I'd not noticed that (apparently) the bulb in question was written on the glass as being '16W'. On the contrary, that's why, at the time, I did a double-take on what was written on the glass envelope. But you and others perhaps shouldn't immediately jump to conclusions; that '12VW16W' was written on the glass without spaces in between and so was most likely some sort of VW cross-referencing no., not an indication that the bulb, as fitted, was a 16 watt one. It's quite possible that Toshiba have been making some of these bulbs especially for VW. In contrast, the last lettering on the glass was '12V 18W'. That is, with a space. And therefore I take that as being the actual voltage and wattage rating of it.

I found, in my case, that only two of the actual bulbs fitted were marked on the outside of the bulb carrier. I kinda sensed that there must be more bulbs fitted than that, and so that's why I took the cluster assembly fully apart and then took each bulb out and, one at a time, recorded its shape, length, and type, as well as confirming its working wattage.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:46 am

Any update on what the 11th letter in from the start of the VIN is yet?

I can't think of why some of the bulb type identities are missing from your rear cluster back plates, the only one that was tricky to spot was the W16W one, more so on one side than the other due to the projections on the back plate probably due to tracks being near these points. By the way, it looks like all these rear light clusters are being manufactured in Spain, so the one on my wife's South African assembled Polo has not been sourced locally.

Finally, the 16 watt or is it 18 watt debate, all I can use are the facts of what I've read, found in car parts shops and seen on that car - but I did not remove all the bulbs, only the indicator one to check if it had off set pins before checking its actual type which would have assured me that it must have off set pins!
So:- the official parts listing for VW gives this bulb, as a comment "16W" it also correctly gives the correct wattage of all the other filament bulbs: the backplate of the cluster at the point where this bulb is located identifies it as W16W and also identifies all the other filament bulbs correct by type which always includes their wattage and not the industry generic three number profile code: when I did a search on a VW Group parts listing (not the official one, it shows this part as being in use on VWs since 2009, and indeed if you search in Halfords (certainly not the best place to confirm anything agreed!), you will only find a 16 watt version of this bulb, ie W16W. So, for me that is enough for me to work out that it is safe enough for me to commit myself to buying a W16W to start converting an existing older spare bulb kit.

Just one final comment, so far, I have not been able to find an up to date bulb applications listing that includes the 6C Polo, to add to that, any that loosely imply they include it are not correct, so, anyone thinking that they can do a bit of surfing and come up with the correct list of which bulbs their 6C Polo will have - beware! That does not seem right for a car that has been on sale for maybe almost 3 years, does it?

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by Dink » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:23 am

quick back of the fag packet maths

the 35w lamp might pull around 3.5A

which is around about the max for a 0.5mm2 conductor

so it looks like i might get one and then see if i get my massive hands to remove the tail light

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:08 pm

Dink, if nothing else you will have found a reason to get in there and see what this is all about, maybe doing this sooner than later would avoid you getting a nasty surprise when or if you need to change a bulb. Also as your car will have been built in a German car plant, it would be interesting to see if that retaining screw is easier than some to remove. If you do find it very tight, then maybe do what I eventually did and use a set of pipe wrenches and grip over the spring itself as the complete assembly will rotate - or did on mine as that spring preload is very high!

To anyone else still bothering to read this, I'm not trying to trash anything that veteran is saying, all I'm trying to do, as far as the list of bulb types is concerned is to make sure that there is an accurate list of these bulbs and their types somewhere on the internet, okay the front end listing will vary model to model and headlight type to headlight type, but the rears should all be the same for the 6C Polo. Knowing the VW Group part numbers is good, knowing that and the bulb type is even better as most of us probably buy bulbs at either our local car parts shop or Halfords, or on line from bulb only suppliers.

I'm not suggesting that this is okay, but I used the second rear foglight position in my previous 2000 VW Passat, and did not knowingly suffer any issues, and rear foglights tend to get used for longer than a reversing light - though I have not examined the method of switching employed way back in 2000 on that car.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by veteran » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:59 pm

I concur wholeheartedly with your desire to determine what these rear-cluster assemblies contain as regards bulbs, and to let other interested Polo owners know so that they can, if they wish, put together their own emergency kit of spares and keep onboard. That's been my intention also. Incidentally, doing a bit of googling, I've found that european law on what and what isn't compulsory to carry in the car is highly varied across member countries. As far as UK law's concerned, I think I'm now right in saying that it's NOT compulsory to have a spare set of bulbs in the car; it's merely recommended that you do. But clearly the sooner you can replace a blown bulb, the safer it's going to be for both you and other road-users.

Most car dealerships, car breakdown services, and even tyre-and-battery businesses, will offer to do bulb replacements for the motorist, but of course the dealerships in particular may well require that the car be left with them and be fitted into their jobs schedules. So, it can sometimes involve a good deal of inconvenience, and in some cases maybe even requiring taking time off work. That said, having discovered for myself just how difficult it's been to access the rear-cluster bulbs on my 2017 Polo it's demonstrated that it's not necessarily a 5-minute job.

Having now fully accessed the RH rear cluster as well, I can tell you that, as with yourself Rum4mo, I had to use a pipewrench on that accursed nylon screw before it even began to move! Beyond that stage, great care had to be exercised throughout the task, to avoid breaking things or contaminating the glass envelopes with my fingers. Especially with halogen bulbs, it's advisable to avoid touching the glass, and to have some lintless tissues to hand and some IPA (cleaning alcohol), in case you mess up. So I can understand why, in the Driver's Manual, VW recommends that any changing of bulbs be done by their own dealership workshops. As you yourself have so rightly said, the trouble is that the attendant cost of such work could outweigh the cost of the new bulb itself. So learning how to do this for oneself is no bad thing, IMHO; the bulb failure is likely to be rectified more quickly. On these Polos, doing bulb replacement is not for everyone, though. Much depends on the driver's knowledge, practical skills and personal diligence.

Yes, on the RH cluster I found an H21W miniature halogen (Phillips) with offset bayonet pins. All rear bulbs have turned out to be single filament, and although it's obvious that the coloured PY bulbs are direction-indicators and that the H21W is a foglight, it's still not clear to me what the remainder are. For instance, is that central bulb (the Toshiba 18W wedge job, found in both of the rear clusters) a reversing light? And which one is the brake light? In fact, on this Match Edition are there supposed to be two brakelights, one in the cluster and the other the high-level LED assembly? I'll have to get someone to observe the rear clusters as I dab the brake-pedal and put the gears into reverse.

I don't think the H21W miniature will be easy to find in car accessory emporia, and the same will be the case for that middle-position 18W wedge type. For myself, I think that rather than me spending time and money searching around the highstreets for these 'specials' or risk buying them via the Web, I'd prefer to purchase them from my VW dealer. They'll probably be quite expensive, but at least I'll now know exactly which ones I'll want, and how to change them, if and when the time ever comes. More-standard ones like PY21W, W5W wedge, and P21W can be got at, say, Halfords.

I'm enduring diabolical backpain at present but sometime soon I'll be exploring the lights on the front of the car too. And then there are a few interior lights to consider also. I've already done the boot compartment light and number-plate light. In the Driver's Manual, the diagrams of the headlight assemblies don't seem to fit with mine. As I said before, some features on these Polos are like dealing with moving targets - VW seem to be constantly chopping and changing things. I guess that, for them, a lot of it is cost-driven. A label on the back of my headlight assemblies nonetheless describes them as H7's. Am not sure at this stage whether my fronts include any LED arrays; I don't think so.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:41 pm

veteran, good so far!
I listed all the bulbs, their types, functions and their relative positions in the RHS RHD rear cluster and the LHS RHD rear cluster, so that should clear up any doubts you have apart from the W16W or is it W18W issue.
I managed to buy the W16W and H21W in Halfords, though the H21W is packaged in Halfords own packaging - maybe better than nothing. I left out buying the front indicator bulb which on all versions of Polo seems to be WY21W as I had not done a full search of what was in there and Halfords also sell a slightly smaller orange coloured wedge bulb, but now that I know it is definitely a WY21W, I'll buy one the next time I am near a Halfords.

Polo having two brake lights, yes, all new cars must have a high level brake light, which includes Polos, so there is a P21W bulb in each cluster and the strip of maybe/hopefully LEDs at the top of the rear hatch.

Obviously, the small halogen is, so far the most expensive bulb I've bought at £6, the W16W cost £4.50 for a pack of two, from Bosch "Original Quality" - if I buy a spare front foglight bulb I think that it will cost about £15 again Halfords own packaging.

I seem to remember getting caught out buying bulbs from Halfords in the past, bought a double pack of Bosch PY21W to change my indicator bulbs before an MOT and discovered inside that they might not even have been manufactured by Bosch and made in Slovenia, next time, for my wife's car I just bought Halfords own packaged PY21W - and yes, you might have guess, same identification as the more expensive Bosch ones. I do agree with you that at least VW Group and Ford, plus maybe many others due tend to fit premium quality bulbs to the cars at the factory.

I just wish that I could source indicator bulbs that were made using orange glass and not just clear glass dipped in orange lacquer which means the coating flaks off a bit and you get an MOT failure, it is good for someone though!!

I've now had a look/feel at the indicators on my wife's 2015 Polo SEL, and yes there is a removable cover on the underside of the front clusters, but I'd guess that the cluster needs to get removed to reach the bulb after removing that cover - I've still got to read the owners handbook on that topic - though I might be disappointed!

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by iichel » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:31 pm

someone on whatsapp already told me, "there's now two of them :mrgreen: :mrgreen: " probably aiming at the longer posts from RUM4MO
but fair play, I enjoy the long stories you both write, they are very informative. keep up the good work! good to read the tail light has finally given way and came off.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:38 pm

Yes well, what can I say to that, I pick and choose which threads I read and post to, ie are they relevant to me or can I help or try to inform, if there is someone out there that feels the need to slavishly read every word on every posting in every thread - then maybe they need to find a better way to use the internet?

For me, the flip side of veteran creating this thread is that I've discovered an obstacle that I didn't know existed, and for that I'm grateful, and a bit annoyed that VW have not designed these lights with a bit of thought for how the owner could keep their car legal for use on the road as far as lights are concerned. I've yet to work out what is involved with replacing a front indicator bulb, looks a bit under there, also my 2011 Audi S4, and every A4 of that B8 version, seems to have a unique front indicator bulb and holder assembly - which seems to be a bit odd - but better to know these things maybe?

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by veteran » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:58 am

Rum4mo,

At the risk of perhaps going off-topic, I'd like to respond to the earlier question you posed concerning the official place of manufacture of my Polo. Mind you, I don't see what relevance it has to the business of the tail lights. But hey, you've clearly learnt a lot about Polos, more than I have thus far, and can see some relevance. Hitherto, I've been a Golf man.

Yes, to answer your question more fully, these are the relevant characters in the VIN no.:

1st three: WVW
10th: H
11th: U

So, this appears to show that the vehicle was of German manufacture, the year of manufacture was 2017, and that the plant was Uitenhage. As far as I can gather, Uitenhage is in South Africa. So, this is tending to agree with your contention that the car was indeed manufactured in SA. However, that particular plant builds just the engines, doesn't it? (The reference I looked at was the Wikipedia one). Otherwise, why would a plant that far away from the UK ship completed vehicles (RHD ones) all the way to Europe? But hey, perhaps they do?!

I don't see how this squares with what my dealer told me, either. Because the dealer simply didn't have in stock a vehicle that met my requirements, the factory was not going to build any more this year in that variation, and he couldn't find one either in the rest of the UK, he searched instead for one abroad and (apparently) found one (a righthand drive, obviously) in northern Germany. A competing VW dealer in fact vied for the self same vehicle and also told me it was located in Germany. So, the purchase went ahead on that basis. Over the succeeding weeks, the dealer kept me informed of the progress in the shipment. On at least two occasions I queried if it was actually coming from Germany, as I myself speculated that it might even have been made in Spain for export to the UK. But I was assured that mine was definitely coming from Germany. I assumed the 5-wk delay was simply because my Polo would be just one of a bigger, single periodic consignment of VW vehicles being shipped from northern Germany. But perhaps the dealer got it all wrong? Or maybe just the engine got built in SA and then was exported, along with countless other VW engines, to Germany, and the remainder of the car put together there? Perhaps that 11th character in the VIN cannot always give the full story, in that it might not always refer to the completed car? Mine's a 5-door Match Edition, BTW.

[Edit: Returning to something else, I found your comment about direction-indicator bulbs and orange glass versus dipped glass rather interesting. Are you 100% certain that orange glass is used at all? Could it be that all the DI bulbs on the market these days are nothing more than coated and that the reason that some don't peel is that they're made to a higher quality standard (higher temperature tolerancing/adherence)? When you looked at what Messrs Halfords had to offer in this regard, could you visibly tell (through the presumed blister packaging) that the Bosch DI's were simply coated ones? Is this particular matter perhaps a good enough reason to, in the end, buy the bulbs from the VW dealer? (that's assuming that the dealerships will sell customers single bulbs and not instead insist that customers necessarily buy a full set at a time). Okay, you end up paying more, but at least nobody (not least VW themselves) can then ever criticise you for not fitting as replacement the OEM version, if it then turns out that the replacement you bought was defective or, after a short while, became unfit for purpose].

[Edit no.2: Afterthought re coated PY21W's: could it be that coloured filament bulbs require just as much careful handling when being fitted as halogens? Perhaps if traces of grease or dirt from fingers are left on the glass, like as with halogens it'll potentially cause a hot-spot and deterioration of the bulb? Maybe then, however good it was in the first place, the coating will start to peel? I've always thought that, regardless of the bulb type, it's a good idea to give the glass envelope a quick last-minute wipe with some IPA (isopropyl alcohol, which you can buy from places like Maplins and CPC Farnell) before putting any such cluster back into place, to remove any contamination from my fingers that might have inadvertently found its way on to the glass].

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:51 pm

Yes, my wife's car is also "U"" so that is where these cars for UK are built! Remember I was only asking that to see if this "over tightened cluster screw" was a specific car assembly plant issue, that was all!

Edit:- Maybe using coloured glass has stopped completely now, you can normally tell if they are clear glass dipped into orange lacquer by traces of that lacquer on the end cap.

Making cheap small cars in cheap labour places works well enough and these huge transporter ships get filled going in both directions - so are cheap per car. Lacquer peeling off - probably caused by poor handling before they are inside packaging.

Getting into my front clusters seem to be easy enough as the clusters can be removed without causing major misalignment.

Edit:- I think that Skoda build most of these small engines, though maybe even worse, South American build the 3 cylinder petrol ones, the 1.2TSI is certainly all from Skoa in CZ.
Last edited by RUM4MO on Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by Dink » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:59 pm

veteran wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:58 am

[Edit no.2: Afterthought re coated PY21W's: could it be that coloured filament bulbs require just as much careful handling when being fitted as halogens? Perhaps if traces of grease or dirt from fingers are left on the glass, like as with halogens it'll potentially cause a hot-spot and deterioration of the bulb? Maybe then, however good it was in the first place, the coating will start to peel? I've always thought that, regardless of the bulb type, it's a good idea to give the glass envelope a quick last-minute wipe with some IPA (isopropyl alcohol, which you can buy from places like Maplins and CPC Farnell) before putting any such cluster back into place, to remove any contamination from my fingers that might have inadvertently found its way on to the glass].
not required on normal lamps as they do not run as hot as halogen's and also do not use quartz glass

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:23 pm

Exactly and add to that these bulbs are only flashed so duty cycle is 50% at worst.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by veteran » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:27 pm

Dink and Rum4mo,

You raise good points!

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by RUM4MO » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:00 pm

Going back to where your car was coming from, I suppose strictly speaking, it was going to be coming from Germany, but it will have been built in South Africa, trained down to the port, loaded on to a huge transporter ship and loaded out turning left and headed up toward the Gulf States, dropping off/picking up some cars, then on via maybe more Gulf States doing the same until it passed through the Suez canal and out the other end and on to Spain off loading/on loading and heading off for probably Holland before ending up at Emden in Northern Germany - where more cars are off loaded and on loaded and its run terminates in Scandi land - I think. Smaller local ship transporters then collect cars from Emden and deliver to areas of Northern Europe - so you car has come from Germany, sort of!
Also, remember Wikipedia is just a collecting point for some facts, in most cases time has moved on and most entries have not been updated, so yes, the VW plant in SA will have an engine plant, or had an engine plant, but now it also builds or assembles certain cars for some RHD countries - and I'd think that that means all RHD countries for some models. How much local content there is in VW products assembled/built in SA I do not know, but certainly not as much as there is Spanish content in SEATs or VWs that are being built in Spain.

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Re: Anyone accessed tail lights on 2014-17 Polo 1.2 TSI or similar?

Post by veteran » Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:25 pm

Well, the way that I now look at it is that either it came from SA exactly in the way you've now described, or it was sitting in Emden already, as a 'leftover' from a previous mass shipment from SA. Either way, its world cruise doesn't seem to have done it any harm; it was handed over to me in what seemed to be immaculate condition. Okay, I've found the odd press-stud and box-section grommet missing since then, but that'd be quibbling in the extreme.

This morning (23rd) I had a go at removing the righthand headlight and the daylight-running unit, so that I could compile a list of front backup bulbs for myself in much the same way as for the rear clusters. After faffing around for nearly two hours I had to abandon the exercise because I couldn't get the units out. As you'll know, you can't remove the front bulbs without first taking the headlight and DR unit out.

Because this particular thread is supposed to be all about the tail light assemblies, I'm now starting a completely new thread devoted to discussion of the headlight units.

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