A car’s braking system is arguably its most important. After all, there’s no point in having great interior comfort, amazing acceleration, and sharp cornering ability if you and everyone inside aren’t as safe as possible. Break lights play an important role in this system, alerting other drivers if you suddenly slow down. Keep reading to learn how you can tell if your brake lights are malfunctioning and what to do about it.
How Can I Tell if There’s an Issue With My Break Lights?
The difficulty in determining whether your brake lights are working correctly is that they’re at the back of your vehicle and only light up when you press the brake pedal. While there are special brake light testers you can plug into your vehicle’s electrical system to check whether your brake lights are operational, there are quicker and more convenient ways of working this out, as we discuss below.
Ask a Friend for Help
If you have a friend or family member nearby, the quickest and most effective way to check your brake lights is to ask them for help. One of you sits in the driver’s seat of the car, and the other stands behind the vehicle. Next, the person in the car presses the brake pedal so the other can observe if all brake lights light up as they should.
Use a Pole
If you have any kind of pole nearby, such as a broomstick or mop, you can use it to test your car’s brake lights. Simply place one end of the pole on your brake pedal and have the other end push against your driver’s seat while the engine is running and the car is in neutral gear. This should activate the brake lights. All you have to do now is get behind the vehicle and observe whether the lights are working properly or not.
Use a Mirror
Another quick way to check your brake lights is to find a large reflecting surface, such as a glass storefront. Park your vehicle with its rear end facing the glass and press the brake pedal. You should be able to see your car’s rear reflected in the glass, allowing you to determine whether your brake lights are working as they should. Alternatively, if it’s dark out, you can simply use a wall rather than a glass storefront. Park a few feet away from the wall and observe the reflection of your brake lights.
How To Replace a Malfunctioning Brake Light
It’s essential that you replace your brake light as quickly as possible if you notice that it has stopped working. While the easiest way to go about this is to take your vehicle to a garage, such as the Huffines Kia service center in Corinth, you can also do it yourself if you’re short on time. Consult your vehicle owners manual to determine the exact type of light bulb you need, then follow the steps below.
Gather the Necessary Tools
Despite being a relatively easy and straightforward task, replacing a brake light bulb still requires some specific tools. You’re likely going to need a screwdriver and ratchet to access the bulb and replace it. Also, just to be on the safe side, pick up some safety goggles and gloves to avoid minor injuries.
Open the Trunk and Find and Remove the Faulty Bulb
Most vehicles make it easy to change brake lights by placing an access point right behind it, inside the trunk. While some can be opened manually, others may require a screwdriver or ratchet. After gaining access, you need to determine which bulb corresponds with the brake light.
You may also need to remove a large assembly that includes other car lights to gain access to the actual bulb. Use the screwdriver to unscrew any bolts that are holding it in place and slowly remove it. Be careful not to damage the wires connecting the assembly to the vehicle. Once you gain access to the faulty bulb, carefully unscrew it by rotating it counterclockwise. You can then remove it while taking care not to break it.
Put the New Bulb In
You can now install the new light bulb. Insert it into the empty socket and slowly screw it in by rotating it clockwise. If you took out the entire assembly earlier to gain access to the bulb, you can now put it back in and secure it with the screws you previously removed. Your new brake lights should be functioning properly now, and you can verify that with the same method you used to determine that they needed replacing.
Why Are Functioning Brake Lights Important?
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t neglect a faulty brake light. Some of them are:
- They help prevent rear-end collisions: Some road situations require you to hit the brakes suddenly. When this happens, having bright red lights to warn the other drivers can improve the chances that they’ll react in time, preventing rear-end collisions.
- They can prevent accidents in bad weather: Besides acting as a warning to drivers in normal weather conditions, brake lights play an important role in preventing accidents in bad weather or other situations where driver visibility is affected. They make it easier for other drivers to spot your vehicle, allowing them to adjust their road behavior while reducing the odds of a collision.
- They’re required by law: Having a well-functioning set of brake lights is a legal requirement almost everywhere for the reasons mentioned above. If you drive with faulty brake lights, you could be given a fine.
Do You Need To Replace Your Brake Lights?
If you notice that one of your brake lights has stopped working, you can save time and make sure that it gets properly fixed by visiting our service center at Huffines Kia Corinth in Texas. Our expert certified technicians only use genuine parts, so you can be sure that your replacement light bulb will stand the test of time. Call us today or schedule a visit on our website.