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Why Tail Light Bulbs Matter: Easy Maintenance and Replacement Tips!

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Tail light bulbs, though small, play a crucial role in driving safety. Every vehicle on the roadway needs red lights on the back to ensure they’re visible to other drivers, especially during low-light conditions or when braking. Let’s explore the functions of a tail light car and understand their importance in keeping everyone safe on the road.

From Oil Lamps to Led Tail Lights Bulb: A History of Car Light Bulbs

In the early days of automobiles, before electric tail lights and headlight bulb became standard, cars illuminated the road with oil lamps. The though weak light indicated that a vehicle was on the road. However, there was no way to signal turns.

Later, electric bulbs powered by dynamos became the standard for lighting. Also, Florence Lawrence invented the turn sign. That consisted of an arm on either side of the car that a driver could use to indicate their intention to turn. This design served as the foundation for the modern turn signal.

After inventing the turn signal, Florence Lawrence also proposed a stop signal to inform following drivers when the car in front was braking. This concept involved a bumper-mounted light on the tail light car. However, others built upon her idea and developed the brake light as we know it today.

Keeping Cars Safe: NHTSA Regulations on The Brake Light and Tail light bulb

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates the brake and tail light bulb. Each state has its own set of laws and statutes governing minimum required equipment. The NHTSA requires that new vehicles have two red tail lights and brake lights on the back. They must be the same height and as far apart as possible.

Double-Filament Bulbs: A Multitasking Solution

These bulbs contain two filaments, one for a dimmer tail light car and a brighter one for braking, allowing a single lens to serve both functions.

LED Tail Lights

LED tail lights using diodes to emit light, offered greater reliability and affordability for automakers than filament bulbs. This shift led them to incorporate LEDs into taillights and brake lights. In 1993, the Ford Thunderbird became the first American car to feature an LED brake light. This early design utilized a 3157R bulb, which was a common type of LED brake light bulb. While the Thunderbird used LEDs housed within a traditional bulb casing, modern LED tail lights are composed of numerous individual LEDs arranged in a specific pattern within a specially designed housing. Unfortunately, if one of these individual LEDs fails, the traditional solution is to replace the entire fixture, as repairing a single LED remains a challenge.

Halogen Tail lights

Halogen tail lights are a common type of tail light bulb used in many automobiles. A good example is 2016 Corolla tail lights, which likely feature halogen tail lights. These bulbs function by heating a filament with electricity, causing it to emit bright light.

Understanding Brake Lights vs. Tail light bulbs

Brake lights and tail lights are housed in the same unit. This means they share the same external housing, though some vehicles may have separate units. Tail light bulbs illuminate when you turn on your headlight bulb or apply the parking brake. But brake light illuminate immediately when you press the brake pedal. Most vehicles have red taillights and brighter red brake lights. Vehicles are also equipped with white reverse lights to illuminate the area behind the car when backing up.

How to Maintain the Tail light bulb?

The tail light bulb is ridable and long-lasting, but you should consider Monthly regular checks. So, you will ensure all bulbs, lamps, or LEDs work properly.

Some modern vehicles have an electrical system that notifies you if a specific tail light bulb fails. Keeping your taillights in good condition is crucial for nighttime safety!

How to Tail Light Bulb Replacement?

How to replace the tail light bulb by yourself

If a taillight bulb burns out, follow these steps to replace it properly:

  1. The first step is to identify the correct replacement bulb. Consult your car’s manual to find the model number for the taillight bulb.
  2. Next, remove the red lens. You might need to unscrew it (the removal way depends on your car model).
  3. Once removed the lens, you should locate the screw that secures the bulb socket. Unscrew it to access the bulb and push it to remove it from the connector.
  4. Insert the new bulb into the socket and twist it tightly (if necessary).
  5. Turn on your lights and check if the new bulb is working correctly.
  6. Reattach the lens according to your car’s manual.

In some cars, you can easily access the taillight bulb by twisting it out and replacing it with a new one through a housing in the trunk compartment. While you’re replacing the bulb, check any cracks on the red lens, as moisture can enter through cracks and shorten the lifespan of the bulbs.

Caution: If you consider replacing the burned-out bulb with a higher-wattage bulb, be aware that these bulbs produce more heat and can melt the plastic lens or even the housing. Therefore, we recommend replacing it with the same model designed for the specific lens and reflectors integrated into the unit.

Shayan Auto Parts: Your Source for the Best Warranted Tail Light Bulbs

In the ever-evolving world of automotive safety, Shayan Parts is your one-stop shop for top-quality tail light bulbs. We offer different options, from long-lasting LEDs to ultra-bright bulbs, to keep your car visible and the roads safe.

FAQ | Tail Light Bulb

Are the tail light bulb and brake light the same bulb?

Brake and tail light cars may look similar and use the same bulb in some vehicles, but they serve different functions. Brake lights are for indicating following the drivers that you are braking, while tail lights simply make your car visible on the road.

What wattage bulb for brake light? 

P21/5W bulbs are used for brake and tail lights, as well as Daytime Running Lights (DRL) on some cars.

 Should brake lights be brighter than tail lights? 

When you press the brake pedals, the brake light should be brighter than the tail light, if they work properly.

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