Tail Light Guards & Covers Tips

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Why can't I cover my broken taillight with red cellophane?

Temporary fix for a broken taillight cover

You've seen them. You know you have. Maybe you have even driven one. I am talking about those cars with the red cellophane stuck on with duct tape to the place where a tail light cover once was. In most states, you can get a ticket for riding around with a candy wrapper over your tail light. But there is a way to make a broken light cover street legal and avoid getting a ticket. Just go to your local auto parts store and buy a special red or orange tape that is designed specifically for fixing broken tail light covers…and keeping you in compliance with the law.


Where do I start to replace a burnt out taillight? Replacing a burnt out tail light is as easy as burning toast. The most difficult thing is getting to it to replace it. On some models you have to unscrew the red or white plastic lens from the outside; others, you can only get at the bulb from the inside the trunk. How do you know? Use your eyes. If you don't see any screws on the lens, it is a safe bet that you are dealing with an inside job. There is usually a plastic cover that must be removed in order to access the bulb. You may also run into tabs, screws or small knobs that hold this plastic cover in place.

How do I install a rea light guard on my truck?

Installing a rear light guard

Installing a rear tail light guard on your pickup is as easy as rolling an SUV. Here's how:

-Find the bolts that hold the taillight covers in place.
-Lower the tailgate.
-Remove the bolts with A socket wrench. (Assuming you have found them by now)
-After removing the bolts, pop off the taillight covers using the pry tool.
-Slide the guard down over the cover until the holes in the mounting attachments line up with the holes used for attaching the cover.
-Keeping the guard and cover together, position them for mounting.
- Reinstall the bolts and tighten them down.
- Make sure that the support bracket clasps on the side of the taillight housing.
-Check that the covers and guards are properly aligned.

If necessary, raise and lower the tailgate to be sure the new installation allows for proper clearance with. If you see that the brackets interfere with opening and closing, you can bend them for adjustment.

How do I replace a burnt-out taillight?

Replacing a burnt-out taillight

You don't have to pay some high-priced mechanic to light up your car's rear-end. You can replace a burn-out taillight yourself by following these simple steps:
1. Depending on whether you have an “outie” or “innie” type lens cover, either unscrew the lens on the outside, or go into the trunk and take off the plastic cover there. You should see the bulb.
2. Unscrew the bulb. You'll have to push in and turn at the same time.
3. Go to the auto parts store and get the exact same bulb. Don't forget to take the burnt out bulb with you.
4. Once you have the correct bulb in hand, if you see any corrosion, take a wire brush and clean the connection, or wipe it clean with a rag, or both.
5. Line up the tiny raised bumps on the base of the bulb. Then push in and turn the new bulb into the empty socket as in step 2.
6. Put the lens or the plastic cover back on.
7. Check your work by stepping on the brakes and turning on the headlights.

Have a friend or acquaintance or whoever watches to make sure the new bulb goes on.

How do I install a taillight cover??

Installing a light cover

Installing a light cover is as easy as 1-2-3, which, coincidentally, is exactly the number of steps required.

1. Buy a new light cover at your auto dealer or junk yard.(Duh!) Better call ahead first to make sure they have what you need in stock.(Double Duh!) When you are on the phone, be specific. Give the make, model and year of your vehicle. Also give and light cover location: front or rear, left or right.
2. Take out the screws that hold the broken or cracked light cover. A Phillips screwdriver will usually do the trick, but you may need a socket and ratchet. Whatever you do, don't lose the screws.
3. Put the new light cover on, tighten the screws, and you're done.

Why should I put stone guards on my truck?

Stone cold protection

Driving off-road is a good way to get your lights knocked out. That's why it's a good idea to protect your vehicle by installing rear stone guards. You can get them in black or chrome finishes, or in a rust-resistant powder-black to match your grill guards and brush guards. Installation is a stone cold cinch. There are two mounting attachments that fasten using the same small bolts that hold the taillight covers in place. A small metal support-bracket stabilizes them on the opposite side. To install the stone guards you'll need rear stone-guards and mounting hardware (naturally), a socket wrench, screwdriver, and pry tool.

Can I replace a light cover myself?

Light cover replacement

Since the plastic light cover on your vehicle is one of the few things on your car that isn't run off a computer, you can usually replace it yourself with a screwdriver when it falls victim to the slings and arrows of outrageous driving. Just remember that your vehicle's cover may be part of an assembly, which means the whole unit will have to be replaced, not just the cover. A little more complicated, but still no big deal.

what safety precautions should i take when using an after market tail light

The Right Tail Light and Tail Light Guard

Safety should be the number one priority on the road. Being able to see other drivers' tail lights on the road is crucial. Even though there are numerous styles of tail lights and tail light guards, having the right application for your vehicle is very important.

Some tail light guards should be removed after dark, so the other motorists can see your tail lights clearly. Of course, most manufacturers will tell you that their tail light guards exceed safety regulations, but anything that blocks the tail lights ability to illuminate can be a hazard.

how do i keep my tail lights looking good

Keeping Your Tail Lights and Tail Light Guards Looking Great

One of the worst things you can do is spend a lot of money on a vehicle and Euro or black tail light guards, and leave them unprotected. You wash, then wax your vehicle, you vacuum, then clean your interior. But, then you leave the tail lights and head lights to fade or become dull.

The best way to protect your tail lights or tail light guards is to put a coat of wax on them every time you wax your vehicle. You should wax your vehicle at least once a month. This will help with scratching, fading and will keep the elements from destroying the tail light or tail light guards' finish.

Never use a dish washing soap or detergent of any kind on your vehicle or the tail lights or guards.

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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.