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Matthew Wright

Help, I Need Tail Lights!

By July 18, 2008

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This reader was in a serious pinch. No tail lights is a bad thing. It's tough to get everything you need done if you have a curfew of sundown.

Help, I need tail lights! I really need only one since the other one works fine. I have a tail light that won't light up. It's the right side if that matters. I have replaced bulbs and checked fuses to no avail. It was suggested to me that the wiring to the trailer hookup could be shorting it out. I have checked the wiring bundle and rewrapped it all to make sure no wires were crossing. It did not fix the problem. I'm now at a loss for what to do, with the exception of possibly paying someone else a ton money I don't have to fix something that may be a simple fix. Any suggestions? Thanks, Alan

Alan, congrats on your decision to tackle this electrical demon on your own. You can do it! If your fuses are all good, and you have installed good bulbs, but still have no light, it's time to get dirty. You need to get a circuit tester or test light and test your circuits for positive current and ground. This will tell you where the problem really is so that you can go ahead and get it fixed without a costly wild goose chase.

July 21, 2008 at 9:37 am
(1) darryl says:

what is the year make and model of the auto you are working on.

July 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm
(2) DEE CLARK says:

I have had similar problems before on my 1978 El Camino. It was caused by a broken wire in the signal light harness in my tilt steering wheel turn switch in both cases. It can be repaired, but it is cost effective just to replace it.

July 22, 2008 at 10:44 am
(3) mikey says:

check the turn signal swith, I know it sound crazy but it will knock out only one tail light. blinkers still wotk fine though.

July 24, 2008 at 1:41 am
(4) Dwayne Harman says:

Alternatively, if ALL else fails, take it to the mechanic. Sometimes the experienced tech can tell immediately what is wrong.


July 29, 2008 at 11:23 pm
(5) tony says:

as amechanic my self thair is alot of missing info do you have brake lights? if so the park lamp cir is open thair is a bundle splice for that cir get ahold of repar manual for your car and keep plugg away youl get it fixed electrial problems are hard to fix even for a meckaneck

August 24, 2008 at 12:48 am
(6) connie says:

Question. What damage will occur when the drive belt is off and the ignition is turned on engaging the engine on a 2001 Subaru Legacy Sedan GT Limited?

February 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(7) Robert Chiarini says:

I have a 1988 Cadillac Seville. My tail lights will not come on. I have changed the bulbs, checked the fuse with no luck. So, I assume the problem is in the wiring. What can I do to try and find the problem, My local garage wants big bucks to hunt down the problem.

Thank you for any suggestions you may pass on to me,

December 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm
(8) Pat says:

And yet another crappy answer from About.com

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