3 Reasons to Replace Your Failing, Damaged or Broken Tail Lights Now

Date Posted: 24 February 2023 

3 Reasons to Replace Your Failing, Damaged or Broken Tail Lights Now main image 3 Reasons to Replace Your Failing, Damaged or Broken Tail Lights Now image

It’s easy to put off replacing your Ford Falcon’s or Nissan Triton’s tail lights — or whatever you drive — when life is busy. Sometimes you might not even realise your tail lights have become damaged or stopped working completely for some time. However, there’s a whole host of reasons to bring replacing your tail lights right up to the top of your to-do list.

Are Working Tail Lights Required?

Tail lights are absolutely necessary for upholding road safety and courtesy, and are furthermore required by law. They are a non-negotiable addition to your vehicle for three main reasons, which is why you need to replace your broken tail lights now.

1. Visibility

Tail lights make a vehicle visible to other drivers on the road, especially in low light or adverse weather conditions. Without tail lights, other drivers may not be aware of your presence, increasing the risk of a collision. This can also put pedestrians and cyclists at risk, who may not be visible to you without proper lighting.

2. Signalling

Tail lights provide signals to other drivers indicating your intended actions, such as braking or turning. This can help prevent rear-end collisions or collisions when changing lanes.

3. Compliance

In many countries, including Australia, tail lights are required by law to be fully operational in order for a vehicle to pass a safety inspection or be driven on public roads. Driving without proper lighting can result in a fine or penalty. The Australian Road Rules require that every motor vehicle must have at least one functioning tail light that emits a red light visible from a minimum of 200 metres away.

What to Watch Out for When It Comes to Your Tail Lights

The following signs are indicators that your tail lights are not working as they should be, as well as important things you should know about your tail lights. Tinting: Can You Tint Your Tail Lights?

Tinting: Can You Tint Your Tail Lights?

Is it illegal to have tail lights tinted? In Australia, it is generally illegal to have tail lights tinted or covered with any material that reduces their visibility or effectiveness. This is because tinted tail lights can reduce the amount of light emitted by the tail lights, making it harder for other drivers to see the vehicle from behind.

The Australian Design Rules (ADR) require that tail lights be visible from a certain distance to ensure that they are effective in warning other drivers of a vehicle's presence and movements. If the tail lights are tinted or covered in a way that reduces their visibility or effectiveness, the vehicle may not comply with the ADR requirements and might be considered unroadworthy.

In addition, many Australian states and territories have specific laws or regulations that prohibit the use of tinted tail lights on motor vehicles. If a vehicle is found to have tinted or covered tail lights in violation of these laws or regulations, the driver may be issued a fine or penalty, and the vehicle may be required to undergo an inspection to ensure that the tail lights are in compliance with the necessary regulations.

There’s Moisture in Your Tail Lights

Moisture can accumulate inside tail lights due to a variety of reasons such as a crack or leak in the housing. If left untreated, this moisture can cause damage to the tail light and affect its functionality. But how can you remove moisture from tail lights? Simply carry out the following steps:

  1. Remove the Tail Light: The first step is to remove the tail light from the vehicle. This can usually be done by removing the screws or clips that hold the tail light in place.
  2. Drain the Water: Once you have removed the tail light, carefully turn it over and allow any accumulated water to drain out. You may want to use a towel or cloth to dry up any excess water that remains.
  3. Use a Hair Dryer: You can use a hairdryer on a low setting to blow warm air into the tail light housing. This will help to evaporate any remaining moisture inside the tail light.
  4. Silica Gel Packs: You can also use silica gel packs to help remove moisture from the tail light. Silica gel is a desiccant that absorbs moisture, and it can be found at most hardware or home improvement stores. Place a few silica gel packs inside the tail light housing and leave them for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Reinstall the Tail Light: Once the moisture has been removed, you can reinstall the tail light onto the vehicle. Be sure to check the gasket and housing for any signs of damage, and replace any worn or damaged parts as needed.

Your Tail Lights Are Staying On

If your tail lights won't turn off, it is important to have the issue diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible. Continuing to drive with the lights on can drain the battery and cause other electrical problems in the vehicle. But why won’t tail lights turn off? There are several reasons why tail lights may not turn off, even when the vehicle is turned off or the key is removed from the ignition. This includes:

  1. Faulty Brake Light Switch: A faulty brake light switch may be the most common cause of tail lights that won't turn off. This switch is located under the brake pedal and is responsible for turning off the brake lights when the pedal is released. If the switch is faulty, it may not be able to detect when the pedal is released, causing the brake lights to stay on.
  2. Short Circuit: A short circuit in the electrical system of the vehicle can cause the tail lights to stay on, even when the switch is turned off. This can occur if there is damage to the wiring or if a wire has come loose.
  3. Corrosion: Corrosion in the electrical system can also cause the tail lights to stay on. This can occur if there is moisture in the wiring or if the wiring has been exposed to salt or other corrosive substances.
  4. Stuck Relay: A stuck relay can also cause tail lights to stay on. The relay is responsible for turning off the lights when the vehicle is turned off. If it becomes stuck, the lights may stay on even when the key is removed from the ignition.
  5. Ignition Switch: In some cases, a faulty ignition switch can cause the tail lights to stay on. This can occur if the switch fails to turn off the electrical system when the key is removed from the ignition.

Your Tail Lights Are Out

Wondering how to tell if you have a tail light out? There are a few ways to check, even when you’re on the move:

  1. Check in a Reflection: One of the easiest ways to tell if you have a tail light out is to park your vehicle near a reflective surface, such as a building or another car. Turn on the lights and look for the reflection. If one of the lights appears dim or is not visible, it may be out.
  2. Look for a Dashboard Indicator: Many modern vehicles have a dashboard indicator that alerts you when a tail light is out. Check your dashboard for any warning lights that may indicate a problem with your lights.
  3. Ask Someone to Check: Ask a friend or family member to stand behind your vehicle while you turn on your lights. They can easily tell you if any of the tail lights are out.
  4. Conduct a Physical Inspection: If you suspect that a tail light may be out, you can conduct a physical inspection. Park your vehicle on a flat surface, turn off the lights and use a screwdriver to remove the tail light cover. Check the bulb to see if it is burned out or damaged.
  5. Use a Circuit Tester: If you are comfortable with electrical work, you can use a circuit tester to check if the tail light is getting power. This can help you identify whether the problem is with the bulb or with the electrical system of the vehicle.

Your Tail Lights Are Blinking

If your tail light is blinking instead of staying steadily illuminated, it may indicate a problem with the electrical system or the bulb itself. This can be caused by a:

  1. Loose Connection: A loose connection in the electrical system can cause the tail light to blink. This can occur if the wiring is not securely attached or if there is corrosion on the connectors.
  2. Faulty Bulb: A faulty bulb can cause the tail light to blink. This can occur if the bulb is damaged or if it is not making a good connection with the socket.
  3. Electrical Short: An electrical short in the system can also cause the tail light to blink. This can occur if there is a break in the wiring or if a wire has come loose.
  4. Bad Ground: A bad ground connection can cause the tail light to blink. This can occur if the ground wire is not securely attached or if there is corrosion on the ground connection.
  5. Vehicle Alarm: In some cases, a blinking tail light may be an indication that the vehicle alarm is active. This is often the case if the light blinks in a specific pattern.

How to Replace Your Tail Lights

The process of replacing a tail light can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but you’ll generally follow these steps:

  1. Purchase a New Bulb: Before you start, make sure you have the correct replacement bulb for your vehicle. You can find the bulb type in your owner's manual or by checking with an auto parts store.
  2. Remove the Tail Light Cover: Depending on your vehicle, you may need to remove the tail light cover by unscrewing it or by gently prying it off with a screwdriver.
  3. Remove the Old Bulb: Once the cover is off, you can remove the old bulb by gently twisting it counterclockwise and pulling it out of the socket. Be careful not to break the bulb or damage the socket.
  4. Install the New Bulb: Take the new bulb and insert it into the socket, making sure it is securely in place. Gently twist it clockwise to lock it in.
  5. Test the Light: Turn on your headlights and check the new bulb to make sure it is working properly.
  6. Replace the Tail Light Cover: Once the new bulb is installed and working, you can replace the tail light cover by screwing it back in or snapping it back into place.
  7. Repeat for Other Tail Lights: If you need to replace more than one tail light, repeat the process for each one.

How to Choose Replacement Tail Lights

Choosing the right tail light replacement for your vehicle can be a bit overwhelming, but here are some factors to consider when making your selection:

  • Bulb Type & Compatibility: The first thing you'll need to determine is the correct bulb type for your vehicle. This information should be in your owner’s manual, but you can also ask at your local auto store for help.
  • Brand: When it comes to choosing a brand for your replacement tail lights, it's important to choose a reputable brand that is known for producing high-quality automotive parts. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your car manufacturer though. There are many quality aftermarket tail light options available these days.
  • Style: Tail lights come in a variety of styles, including LED options. Ultimately, it comes down to what works with your vehicle and any additional features or functionality you want.
  • Price: Consider your budget and choose a tail light replacement that fits within your price range. This is often where aftermarket tail lights offer great value, ensuring you have a quality product for less.
  • Warranty: Look for tail light replacements that come with a warranty or guarantee, as this can provide peace of mind in case of defects or malfunctions.

Find High-Grade Aftermarket Tail Lights at Machter!

When you’re looking for aftermarket tail lights to suit your Great Wall car, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota Yaris or Honda Accord, or LED tail lights for any other popular car make and model, you can rely on Machter. With a huge range of aftermarket tail lights, including LED tail lights, you can keep your car in fine form — and avoid those big fines too.