How to Fix the Broken Taillight in Your Car

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A broken taillight is commonly found in cars. The taillight might break if you backed your car into something by accident. Or perhaps your car got bumped in the back by somebody else. Over time, your taillight lightbulb could also burn out, which is a pain to deal with. 

In many regions, it is illegal to drive with a broken taillight, especially if the covering is so broken it shows the white lightbulb. Whatever the issue is with your taillight, you should have it repaired right away. While you can temporarily fix your taillight by using some tape, this is not a long-term solution. In this case, you may want to replace them with new taillights instead.

If you are hoping to fix the broken taillights in your car, here is a guide to help you proceed:

What you need

Your first job is to locate the correct taillight to replace it with. Head to your local auto parts shop and see if they have it in stock or can order it for you. Alternatively, you can order it from the comfort of your own home online. It may even be cheaper if you can find an aftermarket part instead of the original one. With that said, all parts do need to be CAPA-certified, so do exercise caution. 

Before you start, clean up the taillight and remove any loose pieces or foreign debris that are in the way. Then, get a hold of some taillight tape, which should be available at virtually any auto store or department store with an auto section. Some of these taillight tapes come in the approximate size of your taillight, which will allow you to just use one piece and tape it on like that. Others come in a roll like any other kind of tape. 

When applying the tape, you may need to layer piece by piece to cover the whole area. Be careful that the tape only touches the taillight area and nowhere else. Cut it to size if needed. 

Get the right parts

Whenever you’re buying any part for your car, it is crucial that you get one that is intended for use with your exact make, model, and year of car. These things can change from year to year, and definitely from car to car. Consult with the auto manufacturers to ensure that you are purchasing the right products for your car model.

Don’t try to do everything on your own. We live in a day and age where information is readily available on a multitude of platforms. In fact, once you have received the correct parts for your car, you can probably locate a tutorial that shows how to change the taillight in your exact make and model of car. This will take all of the guesswork out of the process, making sure that you’re installing the taillight correctly and safely. 

Prepping for installation

A few decades ago, the taillight was made up of several different parts. If you have a broken taillight cover, you could simply replace that piece. Nowadays, the taillight is one part. This means all you have to do is remove the taillight in its entirety and reattach the new one. Usually, all that entails is a connector and three bolts to hold it in place. It’s extremely easy to do on your own and doesn’t have to be time consuming at all. 

You’ll first need to remove the old taillight – broken as it may be. There are a couple of different ways in which auto manufacturers attach taillights. Some use studs and nuts while others use studs and screws. Be careful when unscrewing or removing these parts, as one false move could have you scratching your car’s paint. Once these pieces are removed, you’ll need to pry off the old taillight.

How to install

Unscrew the taillight lens. You may need to access the taillights via the trunk instead, depending on your car. Remove the old lightbulb and replace it with a new one. You do need to make sure you have the exactly right lightbulb for your car. You can access this information by going to a car parts store and having them locate it for you in their computer. 

If both taillights go out at once, it could be a fuse issue. In newer cars, the taillights can be fused separately, meaning a single burnt out taillight could also cause the same issue. If you’ve already tried replacing the lightbulb in the taillight and it’s still not working, it means you could have deeper electronic issues, and you may need to talk to a mechanic. 

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