How to Replace a Tail Light

How to Replace a Tail Light

Your tail light plays a critical role for your vehicle’s safety. If the lights are out or defective, it’s important to replace them right away.

The directional nature of LEDs eliminates the need for reflectors, and thinner tail light designs can be achieved. However, the LEDs can also create a pixelated look that is less than uniform.

LED lights

LED lights are becoming more and more common as replacements for traditional bulb tail light assemblies. They are energy-efficient and have a much longer lifespan than their incandescent counterparts. They can also be used in applications where multiple functions are required, such tail light as a stop, turn, and brake light. LED lights can be installed in a variety of ways, including as surface mount or as flush-mount modules.

When used as the primary light source for a vehicle’s taillights, LEDs need to operate at two different brightness levels: full brightness for braking, and 10% to 25% of that brightness (dimmed) for the tail lights. This is accomplished using pulse-width modulation, which maintains the LED’s color spectrum throughout the brightness range. In addition, it is possible to use an LED driver IC that has an internal 200Hz ramp signal to simplify the circuit design.

The power needed to run LEDs is very small, but the LED drivers must withstand a wide range of transients. If the voltage is too low, very little current runs through the LEDs, which results in poor performance and long-term degradation of the light output. If the voltage is too high, the LEDs can overheat and may fail entirely.

LEDs are available in a wide range of sizes, with options to meet any requirement for your application. They can be used for stop, turn, tail, license plate, clearance marker and side reflector lights. They are also available in heated versions with SmartHeat technology to de-ice the lens.

Halogen lights

Halogen lights are the most common type of tail light that comes standard on most vehicles today. These bulbs use a combination of gases – usually nitrogen and argon – along with a filament made of tungsten inside of a glass tube. When electricity runs through the filament, it heats up and emits light. This type of lighting is very easy to replace and cheap. However, it is also very inefficient, converting 80 percent of the energy into heat and only 20 percent into light. This makes halogen lighting less desirable than other options, especially as new technology is becoming available.

There are a number of different types of halogen lights, which are usually labeled according to their diameter and whether or not they have a built-in reflector. For example, a T or MR bulb is a tubular halogen lamp with a diameter of 9.5 mm (3/8 in). They are typically used as floodlights, work lights, or for film production purposes.

On the other hand, a G or GU bulb is a round halogen lamp with a diameter of 19 mm (7/8 in). They are commonly used as track lighting, recessed lighting, or for accentuating areas within a home or outdoor patio. The price of a halogen bulb varies from $1 to $5, depending on the type.

Xenon lights

Xenon lights are a third type of bulb that can be used in your vehicle. They produce much brighter and more effective light than filament bulbs because they use an electrical arc instead of a filament. They require a small box of electronics that starts the light and controls its output, called a ballast. The ballast boosts the voltage to several thousand volts to make the arc, then dials it back down to hundreds of volts to maintain it.

Unlike halogen bulbs, which burn tungsten to emit light, Xenon bulbs contain a noble gas called xenon. This gas is a clear, odorless element that’s very stable. When xenon bulbs are turned on, they produce a blue glow that’s up to 200% brighter than halogen headlights. This extra brightness allows drivers to see farther and react to hazards sooner.

Xenon bulbs also last longer than halogen bulbs. While halogen bulbs can burn for up to 2,000 hours, xenon bulbs last up to 2,500 hours. If your Xenon bulbs appear dim or start producing a yellow beam, you may need to replace them. You can check your car’s owner’s manual for information about how to determine whether or not the bulbs need replacing. You can also ask a technician at your local dealership for advice. They will be able to help you select the best replacement bulbs for your vehicle.

Replacement bulbs

A functioning set of tail lights is essential for other drivers to see your vehicle on the road. They can also help you maintain safe driving conditions in various weather and lighting conditions. However, sometimes the bulbs will burn out and need to be replaced. Thankfully, changing the bulbs is an easy form of maintenance. You can do it at home, with a few basic tools. To start, make sure the engine is running and the headlight switch is off. Next, remove the screws or bolts that hold the tail light assembly and set them aside in a safe place. Carefully jiggle the assembly to see if it will pop out. Once it has, disconnect the electrical connections at the back of the assembly and remove the old bulb.

While you’re replacing the bulb, examine the condition of the fuse and wires for signs of moisture. If you find any, you may have a deeper problem that requires professional attention from a mechanic.

If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take your car to an auto shop or have it tail light serviced by a mobile mechanic. Mobile mechanics typically offer lower prices than traditional brick-and-mortar shops because they have less operational overhead. Having a working set of tail lights is a good way to prevent accidents, so be sure to replace the burnt out bulbs on your vehicle regularly.

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