Tail Lights vs. Brake Lights: Are These Two the Identical?


Studying Time: 4 minutes

Tail lights and brake lights are situated on the rear finish of the automobile. Each are often coated by a single exterior housing一but does that imply they’re technically the identical? Let’s discover out. 

What’s the Distinction Between Tail Lights and Brake Lights?

The principle distinction between tail lights and brake lights is that the previous lights up as quickly because the headlights are turned on, whereas the latter solely engages upon stepping on the brake pedal. Whereas each lights are pink, brake lights are inclined to emit a extra luminous pink mild.

Close up of car tail light
One filament contained in the bulb is for the tail mild and the opposite filament is for the brake mild.

Are My Tail Lights and Brake Lights Utilizing the Identical Bulb? 

On many autos, the tail lights and brake lights share the identical bulb. One filament contained in the bulb is for the tail mild and the opposite filament is for the brake mild. There are additionally some autos which have a separate bulb for every circuit.

You’ll be able to decide whether or not your brake lights and tail lights share the identical bulb by having an assistant press the brake pedal and noting which bulb illuminates throughout the tail mild meeting.

As an apart, on most autos, the brake lights (cease lights) double as flip indicators. Sometimes, the cease lamps are wired via the flip sign change and its flasher or module in order that when the cease lights are activated and a flip sign is chosen, the cease mild on that aspect of the automobile will flash. Exceptions could be autos with stand-alone flip indicators, that are often orange relatively than pink and solely function flip indicators or hazard flashers.

The tail lights, however, could share the identical bulb however aren’t as vivid because the flip sign/brake lights, that are brighter and pull extra present.

The way to Examine Your Rear Lights

Your automobile’s tail lights and brake lights are important security elements not just for you however for different drivers as nicely. These lights enable your automobile to be seen throughout low-visibility situations and alert different drivers that you simply’re slowing down, so it’s necessary to make sure they’re working correctly earlier than driving.

On many autos, the tail mild circuit additionally feeds the instrument lamps, in order that if the tail lamp fuse is blown, the instrument lamps are additionally inoperative. On autos wired this manner, the instrument lamps may have a separate fuse between the tail mild circuit and the instrument panel lamps.

To test in case your taillights are working, activate the headlights. The tail lights ought to glow pink as soon as they’re on. Subsequent, have somebody stand behind your automobile to test the brake lights. They need to shine brighter than the tail lights when you step on the brake pedal.

What Causes Rear Lights to Fail?

There are a number of causes which will trigger a tail mild or brake mild to fail. These embody:

Burnt Bulb

A burnt bulb is likely one of the most typical causes for tail lights and brake lights to fail. In case you discover your tail lights aren’t working however the brake lights are (and vice versa), it might be time for a bulb substitute. 

Circuit Issues 

Circuit issues, comparable to broken wiring and corroded bulb sockets, may end up in inoperative rear lighting.

You probably have wired a number of different lights (trailer lamps, aftermarket working board or clearance lamps, and many others.) to your tail lamp wiring circuit, the a part of the headlight change that feeds the rear lights can fail attributable to overheating. The OEM tail mild wiring may fail and soften its manner into different wires. This occurs greater than you assume. Aftermarket wiring ought to embody a relay to hold the additional load.

Blown-Out Fuse

If a fuse blows out, energy is minimize off from the lights, stopping them from turning on.

car brake light switch
In case your brake lights keep on after you’ve stopped stepping on the brake pedal, you might be coping with a nasty brake mild change.

Defective Brake Mild Change 

In case your brake lights keep on after you’ve stopped stepping on the brake pedal (or they don’t come on in any respect with the pedal depressed), you might be coping with a nasty brake mild change. In some circumstances, the change contacts could stick t, inflicting the change to repeatedly provide energy to the brake lights even while you’re not stepping on the brake pedal.

The brake mild change may slip out of place, create an area between its plunger and the pedal, and stop the change from being turned off.

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