Tesla Model S Rear Lighted T
The rear lighted T makes your Tesla Model S distinctive if not unique from
other cars on the road and other Model S’s. This LED powered device is
mounted under Tesla’s standard chrome T and arch on the rear of the car.
When the car ’s running lights are on the T will light red in with a color
and intensity that almost perfectly matches the running lights. When the
brakes are applied the T brightens to an intensity equal to the brake lights,
reminding cars behind you that you are driving a very special vehicle.
TESLA MODEL S REAR LIGHTED T INSTALLATION 1
TESLA MODEL S REAR LIGHTED T INSTALLATION 2
• 5 feet each of blue, yellow, and black 20 gauge stranded wire
• Three 20-22 gauge Posi-taps
• 5 Posi-Lok Connectors, 18-24 gauge
• 2 feet Spectra nylon parachute thread
• 5 spare blue/green plastic retainer clips
• Small tube of clear silicone sealant"
A. Remove liftgate trim pieces
There are four black plastic trim pieces on the interior side of the lift gate: top, right and left
sides, and a large piece covering the lower side of the liftgate. Each is clipped into place with
plastic retainers that snap into a hole on the lift gate metal frame. These must be removed to
proceed with the installation.
1. Begin with the top horizontal piece. Using a plastic pry
tool or your hands, snap the right or left side loose and
remove the piece. Some of the clips may break or remain
stuck in the mounting hole. In the latter case use a u-shaped pry
tool to remove them. Save all the clips that have not been
damaged — you’ll need them for the re-installation.
Replace any broken clips with those in the parts list.
2. Do the same with the right and left pieces.
3. Removal of the large bottom trim piece requires several
First, the two indented handle openings at the bottom of
the piece have to be removed using a pry tool.
The passenger side piece has a wire connection for the lift
gate release. Unplug it.
The upper ends of the trim piece are attached to the lift
gate frame with small black screws. Remove these
4. At this stage there are two alternatives. You can prop up
the large lower trim piece while you install the rear T or
you can disconnect the trim piece’s electrical connections
and set the piece aside. The former option is a bit easier
but requires an assistant and material to hold the trim
piece up while you install the rear T and make its
electrical connections. Point 5 below describes the steps
for the latter option. This piece also had two T-15 screws
holding it in place a the top ends — be sure to remove them.
5. The lower trim piece has several electric connections on
the back side: one each for the two rear speakers, and one
TESLA MODEL S REAR LIGHTED T INSTALLATION 3
for the trunk light. Accessing these connectors is much easier
if the speaker mount piece at the top is removed, which is
clipped in place. Starting with the bottom edge work
the trim piece loose but hold it loosely in place once all
of the retaining clips have been released, taking care
not to stress or break these electrical connectors. Reach
up over the inside of the trim pieces to disconnect
these. The top piece can be problematic as it has a
small retaining tab on the upper side of the connector
6. Once all of the trim pieces have been removed set them
aside in a safe place and keep all of the retainers and
screws in a place where they will be easy to find for
7. When the pieces have been removed you’ll see two
black vinyl sheets on the back of the lift gate. These are
glued on with a tar-like material and need to be
removed to provide access to the electrical connections.
Remove them and set aside
B. Mount the rear lighted T
1. Raise the lift gate to a convenient working level for
working on the T.
2. Using the painters tape outline the existing chrome T
and arch to mark their exact placement. This is a
very important step for correct placement of the
lighted T and arch.
3. Using your fingers push the chrome T and arch from
side to side to loosen them a bit from the double
sided tape with which they are attached to the lift
4. Take a 12” piece of parachute thread and use it to saw
back and forth under the chrome T until it’s loose
and you can remove it. Do the same for the chrome
arch. Set them aside in a safe place. The residue of
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the black double sided tape that attached the T and
arch to the lift gate will remain when the chrome
pieces have been removed. Leave this on the car
as is and do not attempt to clean it off. It serves as
a guide for drilling the holes for the electrical
connections and mounting the lighted T and arch.
5. With a marker, place a spot on the residue double-
sided black tape about 1/8” from the extreme right
edge of the top of the T, centered in the space from
top to bottom. Do the same on right edge of
double-sided black residue tape for the arch. These
are the guide marks for drilling the hole. Take the
light T and arch pieces and match the wire
placement on the backs to be sure the marks are
6. With the drill and bit and using light pressure on
the drill very carefully drill a hole in these spots.
The residue double-sided tape will keep the drill bit
from drifting. As soon as the drill penetrates the
sheet metal stop drilling and back out the drill.
7. Take the T and thread the red and black wire lead through the hole you just drilled. Find
the lead on the underside of the lift gate and temporarily tape it to the lift gate back. Do
the same with the arch.
8. Remove the protective covering from the
3M double side tape on
the back of the T and carefully but lightly align it
in place over the black residue double sided tape.
painters tape also helps) then press it firmly into
place. Do the same with the arch, being sure to
maintain good, even spacing between the top
edge of the T and the bottom edge of the arch.
9. Once you’re happy with the alignment of the T
and arch remove the protective tape from the top of
the lighted T and apply the original Tesla chrome T on top of it, taking care to align it
perfectly. Once aligned press it firmly into place. Do the same with the arch.
TESLA MODEL S REAR LIGHTED T INSTALLATION 5
C. Connect the running and brake light 12v power
1. Locate the black and red leads for the T and arch
on the underside of the lift gate, Using the tube
of silicone place a dab (for water proofing) on the
back of each hole then separate the red and black
wires.. Strip about 1/2 inch of the insulation off
the ends. Twist together the 2 red wires and do
the same with black wires. Then attach a Posi-
Lock Connector on the ends of both the red and
black wires. Then take the red and black leads on
one end of the dual brightness driver and attach
them to the open ends of the Posi-Lock Connector
attached to the red and black leads from the T &
Arch. Leave the yellow, blue,
and white wires from the dual brightness driver
alone — they will be connected in the steps
below. If additional lengths of wire are needed to
make these connections, use the wire provided in
the kit and the Posi-Lock Connectors.
2. Look at the very top of the underside of the lift
gate. You’ll see a black cable with a reddish pink
connector. This cable contains both the LED brake
light and ground connections
3. Trace this cable down the underside of the lift
gate. You want to access it in the passenger side
opening that was revealed when you removed
the black vinyl pieces in step A5. Find the cable
in this opening then pull out so that it’s
accessible. Then remove some of the electrical
tape and open it up so you can access the
individual wires in the cable. The blue wire is for
the brake light connection and the black wire for
4. Place a Positap connector on the blue wire and
slip the yellow lead from the dual brightness
driver into other side of the connector and screw
both ends down as tight as possible.
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5. Place another Posi-tap connector on the black
wire and slip the white lead from the dual
brightness drive into the other side of the
connector. Then screw down both ends as
tight as possible.
6. Just behind the license plate lights on the
interior side of liftgate you’ll find purple wires
that provide power for each license plate light.
Attach a Positap to one of the purple wires and
connect the blue wire from dual brightness
driver to the other end of the Positap.
7. You’re now ready for testing.
D. Test Operation
You will need an assistant for these steps.
1. Using the touchscreen turn all of the lights
on. The rear lighted T should light match the
intensity of the rear running lights. If it
doesn’t light check all of your connections.
2. Have an assistant sit in the car and press the
brake light. The rear lighted T should
brighten to match the intensity of the brake
lights. The video to the right shows proper
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3. Turn on the hazard warning lights. The rear lighted T should ﬂash in sync with the other
E. Reinstall liftgate trim pieces
This is the most difﬁcult step of the
install and unless you have extensive
experience and skill with mounting
large trim pieces with plastic clip
retainers we recommend you leave
this work to an installation
professional such as an auto
aftermarket sound-system shop.
If you want to attempt this yourself
will need an assistant. Help is
essential for reinstallation the large
trim piece, as it has to be held up in
place while the cable connections are
If you’ve disconnected the electrical connectors on the large trim piece, below is a guide for
Warning note: The wiring for the rear two speakers has the same connector as the trunk
light. You could accidentally plug in the 12 volt supply to the speaker so be careful to
follow these connections:
Drivers side speaker: Light blue with black stripe
Passenger side speaker: – Light Green with Black stripe
Trunk light -Black with white stripe
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