Brake and Tail Lights

Last week, a person who rides my morning train told me that my driver side brake light was out. I took it to a service station, and the mechanic told me that my brake light was fine.

A couple of days ago, a person on my afternoon train told me that my driver side tail light was out. When I got to my car, I turned on the lights, and both of my tail lights were fine.

Does anyone have an explanation for this?

It’s nice of your fellow commuters to let you know about the lights.

Maybe there’s a faulty electrical connection and the lights only work some of the time.
When the car is parked there’s no vibration or bumps. When you’re driving it’s completely different. I’d clean the contacts and make sure the bulbs fit snuggly.

You can’t see your own brake lights unless someone else is stepping on the brake, can you?

Maybe the person that said “tail light” meant “brake light.”

Could be loose or filament broken but sometimes it is still in the right position to work.

Back up at the front window of a McParts store and turn on the parking lights, operate the signal lights and the brake lights while watching the reflection in the glass. Then buy the appropriate bulbs and replace them. Hopefully that will correct the problem. If not McParts can print you a copy of the wiring for your lights and you can go from there.

Either find an assistant or a rod about 18 inches long that you can use to wedge the brake lights on. Check that both the tail lights and the brake lights work. Also check the hazard blinkers – which work by blinking the brake lights on most cars. The turn indicators work like the hazard blinkers, but only if the ignition is on.

One peculiarity of some cars is that if the car is not running and a turn signal is on, the turn signal won’t blink (because the car engine is off) but the brake light on one side may not work until the turn signal is turned off. I don’t think that extends to the tail light, but I suppose it could.