Taillights or tail lamps are fitted to cars, trucks, and practically all kinds of vehicles for safety reasons. They are the lights at the rear of your car that allow it to be visible to the motorists behind you. Additionally, taillights signal the driver behind you that you are slowing down or stopping. The taillight assembly includes the stop lamps or brake lamps as well as the rear side markers and turn signals.
Properly called rear position lamps, they are wired to be lit whenever the front position lamps or front side markers are lit, and also when the headlamps are on. In modern vehicles, tail lamps are usually combined with the vehicle’s stop lamps where stop lamps produce a very bright red light compared to the dimmer red light for the rear position lamp function.
Brake lamps are activated when the driver applies the vehicle’s brakes. Taillights are required to be fitted symmetrically in pairs on the left and right sides at the rear of the vehicle, and intensity ratios require that brake lamps are always brighter than rear position lamps. Rear position lamp bulbs range from 5 to 10 watts while brake lamp bulbs are usually in the 20 watts to the 30-watt range.
It is advisable that you turn your vehicle’s rear position lights and side marker lights on as soon as dusk begins to settle. You can also turn them on when entering an area with dim lightings such as a tunnel or parking garage. In some modern cars, however, the driving lights, side markers, and rear position lights illuminate as soon as you turn the ignition switch to the “on” position.
In general, taillights are actually just the housing for the bulbs. These are supposed to last the lifetime of the vehicle, barring any accidents that would break the taillight assembly. The bulbs, however, have a limited lifespan, although ideally, they should last for at least a couple of years.
This then brings us to LED (light-emitting diode) taillights. Some modern vehicles, especially the high-end models and brands, already come with LED taillights. Clusters of LEDs make up the side marker lights, rear position lights, and stop lamps. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, LEDs can last a long time, possibly up to ten years, even more. A distinct advantage of LED taillights is that even if one LED burns out, there are still other LEDs left in each cluster to perform its specific function.
With the popularity of LED taillights, many aftermarket kits have become available for many different automobile brands and models. A quick search on the internet can give you lots of options for LED taillights as well as the stores that carry them. If you do decide to fit LED taillights on your vehicle, get the job done right by getting a certified automotive electrician to install them. Incorrectly wired electrical components can result in electrical fires and can cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in repairs.
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