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Berkeley Auto Repair

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Fri: 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Why Are My Taillights Not Working?

A police officer pulls you over because your tail lights are out. This is one of those common car problems that people rarely catch since they don't see their taillights when driving. You can only be certain that your taillights are working if you check on them regularly, which most people don't. Today, we will be going over the importance of taillights and why they might go out.

What Is a Tail Light?

Taillights (sometimes referred to as taillamps) are those red lights in the rear end of your car. Similar to your headlights, their primary goal is to make your vehicle visible to others on the road. Your taillights are typically connected to your headlight. 

While your taillamps are on the backside of your vehicle, they are not the same as your brake lights. Though both are red and located in the same housing, they are not interchangeable. Brake lights are always much more vibrant than the regular tail lamp and only come on when you engage your brakes.

What Causes Taillights to Go Out?

Below are several common causes for a nonfunctional taillight:

A blown light bulb. This is the first thing you should consider if your lights aren't coming on. A simple taillight bulbs replacement is all you need to cure the problem. Thankfully, this type of job is relatively affordable and easy to do.  

A faulty light socket. Light bulbs need to be connected to light sockets to obtain power. Over time, these sockets may become corroded, which affects their ability to turn on the bulbs. A faulty socket often looks discolored or holds damaged pins inside. 

A blown fuse. If the bulb or socket isn't the problem, the next check is the fuse or the light switch. Fuses for everything electrical, including your tail lights, are always found in the fuse box. They are usually located under the hood or in the cabin. Fortunately, you can fix this type of problem by replacing the fuse.

Wiring or grounding issues. If you've ruled out the items above, you may have a more complicated problem on your hands. While these are rare circumstances, you may need a professional with electrical experience to troubleshoot the problem. They can inspect the various wires and grounding of your car's electrical system more carefully than the average person.


Electrical problems, like a burnt-out taillight, are no fun to deal with. Thankfully, you can rely on our technicians to do the taillight repair safely and carefully. If you need any auto lighting repairs in Berkeley, CA, please call or visit The Model Garage soon!

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