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What is a tail light?

What is a tail light?

Part of your car's lighting system, the rear light helps improve visibility but also informs users behind you of your intentions. This therefore constitutes a safety device through which it is possible to minimize the risk of accidents and collisions.

The rear light is mandatory on all vehicles. In fact, every car has at least two at the rear (one on each side). They have different bulbs.

Types of taillights and their use

Position lights

When you activate the front parking lights, the rear lights come on at the same time. Red in color, they allow you to spot a car from a distance of approximately 150 meters. They are therefore particularly effective at night, in fog or in bad weather.

Brake lights

Very close to the position lights, the brake lights also illuminate in the same color. However, they are much more powerful, so as to alert the driver in front of you. If older vehicle models only had two brake lights, today all are designed with a third brake light generally located above the rear window. Less wide but longer, this third light has been designed so that your braking is noticed not only by the vehicle following you but also by the one still behind. These three lights illuminate simultaneously as soon as you put your foot on the brake pedal.

Reversing lights

Although they are present as standard on almost all vehicles, reversing lights are not mandatory. Thus, in the event of a failure of this lighting during the technical inspection, the problem will be indicated but you will not have to undergo a second inspection. Most cars have two reversing lights, but some only have one, usually located in the right rear. In all cases, the reversing lights shine in a white color which should not dazzle.

Rear fog lights

The legislation can sometimes make you smile, and this is particularly the case with regard to rear fog lights. Indeed, it is obligatory to have one or more rear fog lights, but it is not necessarily obligatory to use them!

The different types of trendy taillights

Many car enthusiasts like to change certain parts of their vehicle in order to personalize it and follow automotive trends. Taillights in particular are elements that can be changed, and there are all kinds of them.

LED tube taillights

We find them more and more on new vehicle models. LED taillights consume less energy and have a longer lifespan than traditional taillights. They give a “latest generation” look and their aesthetic side appeals to many people. LED rear lights also have the advantage of being less dazzling while having a greater range.

OLED taillights

It is the latest innovation in automotive lighting. These lights offer more possibilities in terms of shapes, colors and design. They are also more economical than LEDs. Their light is also more homogeneous and less intense than LED light. Already used by the manufacturer BMW, these rear lights are resistant to the high temperatures generated during operation; As a result, they offer even longer use.

Xenon rear lights

Rear lights that use xenon gas are known for their longevity and their white color that tends to blue. Xenon taillights are mainly used on high-end cars.

Rear lights with halogen bulbs

They are equipped with bulbs which are based on an old technology: the principle of incandescence. These bulbs are made of a tungsten filament which is enclosed in a glass containing gas. The passage of current through the filament heats it, which produces light. It is a very energy-intensive technology with a limited lifespan. In addition, its range is low, even if it has the advantage of adapting to any type of vehicle.

How to repair a tail light?

A tail light that does not work is generally due to a blown fuse or a burnt out bulb. In the first case, simply check the fuse box which is associated with the rear light. If necessary, do not hesitate to consult the vehicle's maintenance booklet to locate the box and the fuse concerned.

In the second case, you must dismantle the rear light. To do this, open the trunk and loosen the three light mounting screws. Pull the light lightly so as not to tear off the connector, then unplug it.

Compare the old light with the new one to make sure both are the same. Finally reconnect the connector, install the new light in the two lugs and tighten the three screws. Remember to make sure the taillight is working properly.

What type of bulb to choose for a rear light?

For the rear light and brake light, the bulb generally used is the P21/5W bulb. It is made up of two filaments connected to a different pipe. The 21W filament corresponds to the brake light and is activated when the brake pedal is depressed. The 5W filament is that of the position light and reacts when the light is switched on via the switch.

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