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Get a pencil tester and check you have power to the socket containing the bulb. If not, it is likely that the loom running up to your boot lid has some wires which have cracked inside. Common problem, happens where the loom bends when the boot is shut. Not easy to fix, but plenty of advice on the web.
 

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Yes, as mentioned earlier, due to opening and closing of the boot it causes the wires to break on the e36 and e46. My number plate lights stopped working and the boot release wouldnt work. This happened at the same time. I read that broken wires could be the cause. I was reluctant to cut the rubber sheath between the boot lid and car body but i was running out of ideas. But after cutting revealed this...




I had to reconnect about 6 wires. After that it took the off the red number plate warning lights on the dash, the number plate lights worked and the boot realese worked. I wes pretty please.
 
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