Replacing a Brake Light

If you’ve got a brake light out in your vehicle it is extremely important to fix the problem immediately.  Not replacing a brake light will get you pulled over by your local police but can also cause an accident if those following you can’t see that you are braking.  All vehicles built since 1994 have been equipped with 3 brake lights.  2 tail lights, then 1 high mounted center brake light  The center brake lights often more visible than the other brake lights but it also only lights up when braking, unlike your tail lights which also light up when your parking or headlights are on.

Replacing a brake light is pretty simple in most vehicles:

Replacing a Brake Light

  1. Found out how to access the bulb
  2. Determine which bulb needs to be replaced
  3. install a new bulb
  4. Test your work

Access The Bulb

Most brake light bulbs in SUVs or trucks like or video shows are accessible by removing the brake light housing to access the bulb.  If this is the case on your vehicle you will find a few screws or bolts hidden either inside the tailgate or hatch or in the housing itself.  On most passenger cars the bulbs can be accessed through a flap or panel in the trunk that will allow you to get to the back of the taillight housing.

Which Bulb to Replace

It’s easiest to have a friend step on the brake pedal while you watch to see which light is out to make sure you’re replacing the correct bulb.  If you don’t have help you can always check bulbs as bad bulbs are often black or discolored when the burnout.  Lastly, you can head to your local auto parts store and they will be able to tell you which type of bulb your car’s brake light is and you can match the new bulb to an old one.

Install a New Bulb

In many cases, this is as easy as just plugging it in.  In other cases, like this Durango, there is a socket or connector that needs to be removed in order to install the new bulb.  In any case, make sure to check the connections inside the bulb socket to make sure they’re in good shape and free of corrosion before you put your new bulb in.

Test Your Work

It’s always important to make sure you got things done correctly before you head out on the road.  If you’ve installed the correct bulb and it still doesn’t light (or is dim) when you press the brake pedal there might be something else going on.  Try checking for corrosion on or around the bulb socket.  You can also check any electrical connectors or junctions near the taillight to make sure they are connected properly.  Next, check your fuses for your parking lights and brake lights to make sure they are installed and not blown as well as the brake light switch to make sure it’s working.  lastly, try checking the wiring running from your fuse block to your taillights for damage or other issues.  For more information on that, try checking out our article on diagnosing electrical problems.

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brake_light.jpg – By BrianAJackson – Licensed by Getty Images – Original Link