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Tail light burnout

My son has a 1999 Chevy Cavalier and the right rear tail light keeps burnout. It lasts only a couple days each time. There is probably an electrical problem or short but we don’t have the slightest idea of what to do about it. Any suggestions?

It is actually the left rear if that makes a difference. Sorry.

Are you sure the bulbs are burning out? Or are they just not lighting up?

Do you see the filament broken, or the lamp a dark color?

Is that corner of the car subject to more than normal vibration?

No, the filament did not appear to be broken and the bulb was not dark but did not light up. As soon as we put in another one it starts working again. And, yes, the new ones are lighting up… we checked.

I don’t think that area of the car is subject to more vibration.

Have you ever tried removing the non-working bulb, and then putting it (instead of a new one) back in?
You probably have a loose/bad bulb socket.

No, but thanks. We’ll check that out. I’ll let you know… It may be tomorrow because we are in a hotel and his car is in a parking garage.

I very much doubt that the bulbs are bad. The real trouble is most likely with the bulb socket. Check the socket and look for a bad connection to the bulb. You may be able to fix the socket or possibly have to replace it. Use a test light probe to verify the connection to the socket is ok. There may be a faulty ground connection to the socket also so try cleaning it.

Problem solved. Took the car to a repair shop (Lucky’s Auto Repair in Harvey, LA just across the river from New Orleans). They inspected the socket, connection and determined there was not a problem with either. A closer inspection of the burned out bulb determined it was indeed bad. The second bulb has been working fine. He said bad bulbs are rare but it happens. Thanks for all your input.

You’re welcome and thanks for the feedback.