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Signs You Need A Brake Light Replacement
Here’s how to tell if you need to replace your brake light:
1. Brake Lights Don’t Turn On
When your brake lights burn out, they won’t emit any light when you press the brake pedal.
Now, you won’t be able to see that happen unless you’re standing behind your car.
So, it’s a good idea to occasionally check your exterior lights by having someone stand around your car while you test all your car lights. This’ll include headlight bulbs, high beams, blinkers, tail lights (tail lamps), parking lights, and brake lights.
Also, when you get your oil changed, your mechanic will usually check if you have burnt out bulbs or a brake light problem.
2. Warning Light Comes On
Most modern cars have warning lights to let you know when certain exterior lights are no longer working. If your car flashes the symbol that looks like a light bulb, you may have a brake light problem that needs to be fixed — so don’t ignore it.Note: Brake light problems can also occur due to a blown fuse or a faulty brake light switch. If that’s the case, replace the blown fuse or get the brake light switch repaired.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Brake Light Bulb?
It’s super inexpensive to get a brake light bulb replacement done because a replacement bulb usually costs around $5-$10. Add to that the labor charge may be between $10-$20, depending on your locality.
However, do remember the light bulb prices for some can be higher depending on their designs.
How Urgent Is A Brake Light Replacement?
It’s extremely important to have functioning brake lights at all times. If you have a bad brake light, it doesn’t provide a brake warning for the cars behind you — making you prone to getting rear-ended.
Moreover, law enforcement officers will hand out fix-it tickets for non-functional brake lights. So it’s best to get your damaged, old brake light replaced immediately.
7 FAQs About Brake Light
Here are the answers to some quick FAQs regarding brake lights:
1. What Is A Brake Light?
The brake light is a light that turns on when you use your brakes. It’s located at the back of your car, near the rear tail lights. Sometimes you can find the brake light around your rear windshield too.
Whenever you press the brake pedal, the light turns on, flashing a bright red color behind your car. This lets people behind you know that you’re braking, allowing them to slow down instead of running into you.
Your brake pedal, when resting naturally, presses on the brake light switch to keep the light off. And when you depress the brake pedal, the pressure on the brake light switch is removed — turning on the brake light. The light stays illuminated until you let go of the brake pedal again.
As for the light itself, it’s just a tiny light bulb with wiring used in standard bulbs.
3. What Should I Consider Before Buying Brake Light Bulbs?
Here are a few things to keep in mind while purchasing brake light bulbs:
A. Look For Specific Make
A brake light bulb for replacement comes in specific sizes for your car. So search for light bulbs made for your car’s make and model to ensure proper fit. Without an effective fit, your brake light won’t work properly.
B. Choose Bright LED Bulbs
It’s always a smart choice to buy an LED light bulb instead of a halogen because it’s long-lasting.
An LED bulb also produces a crisp, sharp light. This is very important as only an LED brake light can cut through the rain, fog, or snowfall, to produce a sharp signal light.
4. Can I Replace A Brake Light Myself?
Eventually, all light bulbs burn out, and so do your brake lights. Changing a faulty brake light is quite simple, and you can DIY it.
Note: If you’re unfamiliar with automotive repairs, it’s always reasonable to let a professional automotive mechanic perform a brake light replacement. They’ll typically use quality auto parts and offer warranties.
Here’s a quick brake light bulb replacement DIY guide:
Step 1: Gather the tools you’ll need, including a flashlight, dielectric grease, and a new brake light bulb to replace the old bulb. Do check if you need more than one new brake light bulb.
Step 2: There are usually many light bulbs under each tail light lens — and one of these bulbs is the brake light.
Ask someone to sit in your car and press and release the brake pedal multiple times. While they do so, you can stand behind the car to identify which bulb is the faulty brake light under the tail light lens cover.
Step 3: Most modern vehicles allow access to all tail light bulbs from inside the trunk. So open the trunk lid to see the wire harnesses and a plastic base where each tail light bulb is positioned.
Use a flashlight to spot which tail light bulb is the brake light in the light housing. Then twist the brake light holder counterclockwise to release it from the bulb socket. Now pull the bulb holder and faulty brake light bulb into the trunk to easily remove the old bulb from the holder.
Step 4: Apply dielectric grease to the bulb socket to prevent fusing and corrosion.
Step 5: Insert the new bulb into the tail light assembly or the bulb socket and rotate the holder clockwise to lock it in place. Ensure the new bulb is snug in the tail light assembly and then test if the brake bulb works. Do so by having someone sit in your car and hit the brake pedal — while you check if the light operates from behind the car.
5. How Often Should I Change My Brake Light?
You should replace your brake light as needed. However, we recommend replacing brake light bulbs in pairs because one damaged bulb can quickly be followed by another.
6. What Does A Tail Light Assembly Include?
The tail light assembly or brake light assembly is the group of exterior lights mounted on the rear-end of your car. They consist of tail lights, brake lights, and reverse lights (backup lights).
7. When Should I Get a Brake Light Switch Replacement?
When you hit the brake pedal, turning on the brake light switch, power is supplied to every braking signal light at the back of your car to alert other drivers that you’re slowing down.
If you notice some flickering or inconsistency in the light or the brake lights just stop operating, then you may need a brake light switch replacement.
Spot a faulty brake light switch through an elimination process. Check each LED tail light bulb, brake light socket, and wire for damage. Ensure every brake light wiring or wiring harness is connected to a brake bulb, seated tightly.
If everything looks okay, it’s probably the switch that needs repair.