Nothing messes up the flow of your day as much as getting pulled over for faulty brake lights, especially if you're already running late, have something important to do, or anything else in your life that requires punctuality. It is important to understand that brake lights play a vital role in effective communication with the other drivers you share a road with. Brake lights can make or break avoiding a possible collision, especially in poor weather conditions when visibility is already limited. Brake lights help prevent numerous potential rear-end collisions, so keeping up on the maintenance of them is one of the most important safety measures for a vehicle and should regularly be checked upon. A couple of times throughout the year should suffice since a brake light bulb should last about 40,000 miles, or a couple of years depending on your driving conditions.


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A bulb could go out more quickly if you’re in stop-and-go traffic, which is more likely in a big city. It’s important to take this into account when creating a schedule for checking your brake lights. Not only is there the potential to cause others harm when your brake lights go out, but you can also get yourself a ticket, especially if you’ve already been stopped for your brake lights being out. Checking your lights can seem complicated since it’s easier with another person, here at Wrench, we offer services and diagnostics that include brake light replacements. Get a free quote from us to see the benefits of having our mobile mechanics come to you!

What Are Brake Lights

Brake lights on cars are located in the rear end, typically adjacent to the taillights. Although they are similar, brake and tail lights have different purposes when you are on the road. Plan on taking a turn? When you flip your turn signals on to let others know you are turning, this is relayed via your tail lights, which would then start to blink. They also turn on whenever the car is parked, which is different from brake lights.

Brake lights only turn on whenever you physically apply pressure to the brakes. They also tend to be slightly brighter in contrast to the taillights, as their job is to notify the people behind your car that it is slowing down. As stated earlier, brake lights are extremely necessary to have a safe experience on the road and should be treated as such.

Common reasons broken or faulty brake lights are usually one of the following:

  • Burnt Bulb:
    Some cars allow for double filaments in a bulb, which can cause for one to be burnt out while the other is still functional.
  • Circuit Problems:
    There could be corroded or damaged wires that aren't allowing the brake lights to function properly.
  • Blown-Out Fuse:
    If a fuse is blown, a new one will need to be installed with a unit that has proper amperage, or this issue can be continuous. You can either navigate the fuse diagram, usually somewhere in the owner's manual, or you could have a Wrench technician do it for you.
  • Faulty Brake Light Switch:
    After repeat use of braking, the connection between the brake lights and pressure of pedal can become compromised over faulty wirings, such as corroding or damaged wires, not allowing proper relay in signal when applying the brakes.

The most common reason for brake lights not working is usually a burnt bulb, which is an easy fix, the bulb just needs replacing. The connections inside the brake light switch can wear out and burn out with time and use, rendering the switch inoperable. A bad ground in the system can cause the electrical current to back feed, resulting in the dimming or dulling of the bulb. If you see flickering, this is caused by a faulty connection at the bulb. The electrical portion of the brake light system should last about 100,000 miles, so it’s usually less likely to be an issue compared to the bulb.

Why You Should Replace Them And How To Check Rear Lights

Your brake lights' sole purpose is to let others know your vehicle is coming to a stop or slowing down, this is especially helpful in situations where visibility is compromised due to things like fog or it is the nighttime. Visibility is also the reason why rear brake lights are red, the light that can be seen the furthest due to its ability to not be scattered by air molecules, compared to other visible lights. If left unfixed, one could get slapped with a ticket but even worse, get into an accident.

In 1986, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began requiring a third brake light for all new cars. The agency extended that requirement to all new light trucks in 1994. Since its implementation, there have been about 200,000 fewer crashes, 60,000 fewer injuries, and more than $600 million in property damage saved every year.

Not Comfortable Doing It Yourself?

For some, attempting to figure out what’s happening with their car can be stressful, let alone time-consuming, and all-around confusing. Especially when checking your brake lights is easiest with another person, it can be daunting to try and coordinate someone helping you out, and even more difficult to figure out how to check it yourself alone. Why not have a mechanic come to you who can take the hassle away, by getting a free quote from us below.

All you have to do is fill out the information which includes the license plate, make of your car, and general questions regarding your personal information so we make sure our estimate is as accurate as possible. Once all that is figured out, we will set up a time and place that fits best with your schedule. Our mechanics will then come to you, replace the malfunctioning component causing your brake lights to not work and you'll be left, good to go on the road, safely.


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