How to Turn on Tail Lights

Have you ever been stuck trying to figure out how to turn on your tail lights? You’re not alone; it can be confusing and intimidating when you don’t know the correct steps. Fortunately, we are here to help guide you through this process in a simple way.

How to Turn on Tail Lights

Tail lights are essential to your vehicle’s lighting system, ensuring that other drivers can see you when driving in low-light conditions or at night. In this guide, we will explain the steps to turn on tail lights and provide some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Our skillful team will show you step-by-step how to turn on tail lights, so that you can stay safe on the roads and legally follow driving regulations. Don’t hesitate – let’s get started!

What Will You Need?

Before we begin, make sure you have these items ready:

  • Your vehicle with working tail lights
  • The car key

If you are unsure if your tail lights are functioning correctly, having them inspected by a professional mechanic is always a good idea. Now that you have everything ready let’s get started!

10 Easy Steps on How to Turn on Tail Lights

Step 1. Start Your Vehicle:

Insert your key into the ignition and turn it to the ‘On’ position. This is typically to the right. The dashboard lights should illuminate, indicating that the car is on. If your car has automatic lights, they should turn on automatically.

Step 2. Locate the Light Switch:

The light switch is usually located on the left side of your steering wheel. It’s a knob or dial you can rotate or flip, depending on your car model. This switch controls all the vehicle’s exterior lights, including the tail lights. If you need help finding it, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Step 3. Turn on the Light Switch:

Rotate or flip the light switch to the ‘On’ position. This means rotating the dial forward or away from you in most vehicles. Some cars may have different controls, so if unsure, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual. After turning on the switch, your tail lights should now be illuminated. You can step out of your vehicle to ensure both the left and right tail lights are working. If they are, you’ve successfully turned on your tail lights!

 Turning on the Switch

Step 4. Confirm Your Tail Lights are Working:

After turning on the switch, it’s crucial to confirm that the tail lights are on and working correctly. To do this, you can either ask someone to help you or use the reflection on a shiny surface like a window or a mirror.

If the tail lights are not illuminating, it might indicate a problem with the bulbs or a fuse. In such a case, you should consult with a professional mechanic. Remember, driving without functional tail lights is both dangerous and illegal. So, always ensure your tail lights work before you hit the road.

Step 5. Regularly Check Your Tail Lights:

To ensure your safety and compliance with the law, check your tail lights periodically. You can do this before you start driving, especially if you plan to drive at night or in poor visibility conditions. If you notice that the lights are dim or not working, make sure to replace the bulbs or get professional help. Regular checks will help you avoid any potential issues on the road.

Step 6. Understand When to Use Tail Lights:

Though tail lights automatically turn on when your headlights are on, it’s crucial to understand when they must be used. In most places, the law requires drivers to turn on their tail lights from sunset to sunrise.

They must also be used when visibility is less than 1000 feet, during fog, and in severe weather conditions. So, remember to keep your tail lights on during these times to ensure your safety and that of other road users.

Step 7. Know the Purpose of Tail Lights:

Understanding the purpose of tail lights is crucial to safe and responsible driving. Tail lights are not just to help you see the road but primarily to allow other drivers to see you.

They indicate your presence on the road in low visibility conditions, and they also signal your intentions to turn or stop. Therefore, ensuring that they are working correctly is of utmost importance for your safety and for the safety of those sharing the road with you.

Step 8. Regular Maintenance is Key:

Ensure regular maintenance of your tail lights. Just like any other part of your vehicle, tail lights need care and attention. Regular cleaning will keep them bright and visible. Dirt, dust, or snow can cover your tail lights and make them less visible to other drivers, so keeping them clean is essential.

 Regular Maintenance of Your Tail Lights

If you notice any damage, such as cracks or chips in the light cover, have it repaired immediately. This protects the bulbs inside and helps your tail lights function at their best.

Step 9. Replace Old or Damaged Bulbs Promptly:

When a bulb in your tail lights burns out, it’s crucial to replace it promptly. Driving around with a burnt-out tail light can be dangerous and may also result in a traffic fine. Typically, tail light bulbs can be purchased at an auto parts store and replaced by following instructions in your vehicle’s owner manual.

If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, you can have a mechanic replace them. Always remember that keeping your tail lights in good working order is critical to road safety.

Step 10. Consult a Professional If Needed:

Remember, feel free to consult a professional if you’re ever in doubt or encountering difficulties. If your tail lights aren’t functioning properly even after you’ve followed the steps correctly, a deeper mechanical issue might be at play. In such cases, it’s best to have a professional mechanic inspect your vehicle to ensure everything works as it should. After all, your safety and the safety of others on the road is the main priority.

By following these ten simple steps, you can quickly turn on your tail lights and ensure they are working correctly. Remember always to follow road safety rules and maintain your vehicle regularly for a safe driving experience.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Understand Your Vehicle’s Lighting System: Familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s manual; it contains essential information on how your car’s lighting system works, including how to turn on tail lights.
  2. Know the Laws: Understand the traffic laws in your area relating to tail lights. When and how to use them can vary depending on local regulations.
  3. Add a Reminder: Place a sticky note on your dashboard to remind yourself to turn on the tail lights before driving at night or during poor visibility.
  4. Keep a Toolbox: Keep a box of spare bulbs in your car and check them periodically to ensure they work. If you notice a tail light is out, replace it immediately.
  5. Clean Your Lights Regularly: Dirt and grime can build up on your tail lights, reducing visibility. Clean them regularly with soap and water to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Turn on the Tail Lights Before Driving

With these additional tips and tricks, you can ensure your tail lights are always on and working correctly.

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Do Not Ignore Warning Lights: Never ignore warning lights on your car’s dashboard. These are indicators of potential issues, including problems with your tail lights.
  2. Avoid Delaying Replacements: If a bulb in your tail light has burned out, do not delay replacing it. Driving with a malfunctioning tail light can lead to accidents and legal problems.
  3. Do Not Use Inappropriate Bulbs: Avoid using bulbs not recommended for your specific vehicle. Using the wrong type can result in poor lighting or cause damage to your car’s lighting system.
  4. Avoid Cleaning With Harsh Chemicals: Some cleaning agents can damage the plastic coverings of your tail lights. Always use mild soap and water.
  5. Never Drive Without Tail Lights in Poor Visibility Conditions: This is dangerous and against the law in many locations. Always ensure your tail lights work before you hit the road in the evening or poor weather conditions.
Use Mild Soap and Water

By avoiding these actions, you can maintain the safety and functionality of your car’s tail lights. Remember always to follow proper procedures and use caution when handling any lighting components in your vehicle.


As we’ve seen, tail lights are an essential component of safety on the road. Without them when activated, other cars may have difficulty seeing the car in front of them and reacting in time to stop.

Fortunately, learning how to turn on tail lights is not a complicated process. Depending on the type of car you have, there may be different procedures, so it’s worth it to connect with your dealership or consult your vehicle manual if needed. We hope our guide has been helpful to you and that by now, you know exactly how to turn your tail lights on! Remembering to turn them off again before leaving the car is also a must.

Ultimately, practicing good vehicle maintenance will save you from potential future expenses and help ensure everyone’s safe journeys out on the roads by keeping all its users as visible as possible. So go ahead and test out your newfound knowledge –turn those unique and bright tail lights on!

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

Leave a Comment