Tips

Why Your Brake Lights Work but the Tail Lights Don’t

To drive safely, you need functional tail lights; they let cars see you at night and in bad weather. Usually, they turn on when your head lights engage, and some new models automatically turn them on when the computer detects excessive dimness. Like any other vehicle part, the tail lights can stop working, but what happens when they go out while the brake lights remain strong?

Failing Tail Light Fuse

When an electrical component stops working, the first step is to check the fuse. A metal band inside a plastic covering, it breaks when the current flowing through it gets too high (a protective measure). To see if a burned-out fuse is to blame, look in one of these places: behind a plastic panel under the dashboard on the passenger side; the main fuse box under the hood. Once you locate the dead fuse (they should be listed on the inside cover), you can test it with a fuse tester and replace it, if necessary.

Damaged Socket

If the socket where the bulb plugs in gets damaged (usually by corrosion), it can cause the tail lights to malfunction, as well. To check, remove the bulb and examine the socket for discoloration or broken pins.

Worn Wiring

Any impediment to electricity will mess up the whole system, including broken or worn out wires. While you can always get a wiring diagram and perform a visual inspection of the tail light area, a professional might be able to more accurately diagnose the issue.

Bad Bulb

After removing the tail light cover, you can check to make sure the bulbs themselves are working. Luckily, changing light bulbs is an inexpensive, easy remedy.

Faulty Control Switch

Another vital component on the electrical path, the switch that controls the tail lights can stop working. You can either pull it out from the dash and check it with a multimeter or take it to the mechanic for inspection.

Failing Sensor

Modern cars are awash with sensors that communicate with the vehicle’s computer. If a sensor fails, it can interrupt this complex design and cause a part to stop functioning properly. If both the headlights and parking lights fail along with the tail lights but the brake lights keep working, a sensor is likely to blame.
For all your automotive needs, bring your car into Auto Solutions in Orlando or give us a call today at 407-271-8518.

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