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Accident Lawyer | How to Fix Broken Tail Lights

On my way into work this morning I was stuck behind someone whose brake lights were out. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy when it came time to brake and I had to pay extra close attention to the people stopping in front of them. I couldn’t tell if they were slowing down, coming to a complete stop, etc. And as usual, that’s what sparked my idea for today’s post. Working for a car accident attorney here in Orange County, I pay much more attention to things like this. And do everything I can to prevent an accident and to prevent myself from being involved in one. Below are some tips on how to fix a broken tail light. If you are suffering from injuries due to the negligent actions of another, please contact an accident lawyer in our office. Consultations are free!

Car Accident Attorney | Fixing Your Tail Lights

If you have a broken tail light, you don’t always have to take it to a mechanic right away. There are some ways you can fix the issue on your own. And you will end up saving money!

Assess the Problem

One of the first things you want to do is assess the problem. Check the fuse. Blown fuses can cause one or both lights to go out. On newer cars, the tail lamps may be fused separately, or each bulb or shared circuit may be fused. Blown fuses are often due to other problems, so you will want to check more than just the fuse. On older cars, the fuse box is under the dash. In newer cars, the fuse box is under the hood or dash – make sure you consult your owner’s manual.

Check the Fuse

Make sure your ignition is off, take the cover of the fuse box off and find the tailgate fuse. Use a flashlight to inspect the fuse to determine whether it’s blown.

  • If the piece of metal inside the tailgate fuse is still intact, your fuse is still good;
  • If the piece of metal looks broken, the fuse is likely blown and will need to be replaced;
    • Most newer cars have a fuse extractor in the fuse box in in the tool kit – it is a small white plastic tool that looks like a pair of pliers;
    • Bring it to an auto store to find a match to replace it and replace the blown fuse.
Look at Lamp Wiring of Tail Lamp

Tail lamp wires lead to the tail lights and you can located these inside the lid of your trunk. Open your trunk and see where the wires should connect in order for the electrical system to work properly. If there is a loose wire, reattach it.

  • The wiring harness on newer model cars is located behind the panels in the trunk. They are not accessible without removing the panels.

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Check the Bulbs

Upon inspection, if the fuse and wiring look fine, check the actual bulbs. To check the bulbs, unscrew the taillight lenses from the outside. If the lenses do not have screws, open the trunk so you can access the bulbs from the inside. Unscrew the bulbs and check them just as you would with a lightbulb in your home. Make sure the filament wire inside is still intact and tap it against your hand to determine if filament is moving.

  • Most, if not all tail lamps have stop lamp/turn indicators, reverse bulbs, tail bulbs, side marker bulbs, and on some newer model cars, a self standing turn indicator bulb;
  • On cars that share a turn and brake signal bulb, when the lamp is out, the turn on your dash will flash faster than normal;
  • If the bulb is burnt out, replace it. You can find a replacement at the auto repair store;
  • When you remove the bulb in order to replace it, you should also inspect the socket and the tail lamp for burnt contacts or melted socket boards.

If your bulbs are fine, the wires are fine, and the fuses are fine, you may have a deeper electrical problem. And then now, you should see a mechanic for any other issues that you cannot diagnose and resolve yourself.

Use a Lense Repair Kit to Fix it Yourself

If you are able to fix your taillight yourself, get yourself a lens repair kit. Here are some tips to repair the lens:

  1. Remove the taillight lens;
  2. Repair any cracks on the lens with repairs tape;
    • This is only a temporary fix;
      • Clean and dry the area where you want to apply the tape. Just before applying the tape, wipe the areas clean with a lint free cloth, that is wet with rubbing alcohol. Do not use glass cleaner to clean the area. This is because the ammonia in the glass cleaner will make it so the tape is not sticky;
    • Measure the size of the crack and cut the tape slightly larger than the damage of the lens;
    • Remove the backing of the tape and smooth out the air bubbles when applying;
      • So you do not distort the lens;
  3. Repair any holes and broken spots with repair resin;
    • If there’s a gouge or broken spot, you can fill in the hole with plastic resin;
    • Cover the outside of the taillight with the plastic tape in order to prevent the resin from leaking through;
    • Mix the resin with a catalyst and coloring agent according to the kit’s instructions;
    • Pour the resin into the syringe provided in the kit;
    • Squirt the resin into the hole, making sure the resin covers the entire area to be filled in;
    • Let it sit for at least 2 hours;
    • Remove the tape and then sand the surface to smooth it out;

Suffering from Injuries? Contact an Accident Lawyer Today!

We hope these tips will help you not only fix a broken taillight, but also save a little money. You should not have to pay outrageous prices at the mechanic if you can fix it yourself.

If you are suffering from serious injuries due to the negligent actions of another, please do not hesitate to contact us. You should never have to go through this alone. Hiring a car accident attorney in our office will increase your chances of receiving a settlement that will help you get your life back on track.

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