Rear lighting



It seems that every few weeks my 2001 Volvo V70 XC tells me about another bulb-light failure on it’s rear end. Currently the brake lights on the pillars aren’t working, but the center brake light on the rear window works fine. Bulb replacement hasn’t solved the problem. My position light is acting up as well, but the bulbs seem to be ok. Switching the bulbs from one side to the other temporarily solves the problem, but it comes back after a while. The nearest Volvo dealer is 5 hours away, and I’m yet to meet a trusted mechanic anywhere close to home. Is there a list of reputable mechanics by zip code or region? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


It’s possibly a problem with the wiring in the rear hatch area, especially, where the wire bundle flexes when the hatch is opened. The wiring should be inspected.


I’ve noticed similar problems with other European imports from different companies about this same age. The problem may be the plates on the back side of the tail light housing that corrodes and keeps the electrical signal from getting to the light holder for the brake light. If the corrosion isn’t too bad, it can be cleaned with a scotch-brite pad. If it is bad, or you have a burn-though, you may need to replace the housing. I’d also recommend cleaning or replacing the bulb holder. A bit of bulb grease or dielectric grease on the bulb holder electrical tabs can keep the corrosion away. You will probably need to remove the tail light housing to properly inspect and clean the plates. I had to do that on a BMW with a similar style of tail light housing/bulb holder system.


Or a bad ground.


Are these bulbs actually burned out, or is it just a situation of the bulb burnout indicator telling you that they are burned out? I can tell you from personal experience with a Volvo that the bulb burnout indicator is so sensitive to extremely minor differences in current draw that it is activated by having bulbs of two different brands in a matched set.

Fairly early in my cursed ownership of a Volvo, I learned that if one bulb of a matched pair (license plate lights, brake lights, tail lights, position lights, etc.) was burned out, I had to replace BOTH of the bulbs in that pair in order to match the brand of bulb. Otherwise, the system told me that a bulb was burned out, even when it was clearly fine.


Since swapping the bulbs from side to side fixes it temporarily, my money is on it being corrosion in the sockets. Try cleaning them with super fine sandpaper on the eraser end of a pencil or a little emery cloth.


This sounds like a definite possibility. I’ll try to replace both, on all, and funny you should mention it, one of the license plate bulbs just failed as well. I Appreciate the response.


Thanks for the tip, I’ll give it a shot.


Thanks for the quick response and advice.