can't get tailights working - brake & turn(s) do work


Asked by jim1956 Apr 28, 2013 at 10:31 AM about the 1989 Toyota Pickup 2 Dr STD Standard Cab SB

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

checked fuse and bulbs, but tail lights will not come on at all, turn signals and brake light
works fine as do the hazards, anyone have any ideas?

5 Answers


Probably a loose ground somewhere. Test sockets for voltage. Test from positive side of socket to frame of your truck. If voltage there then test between both wires going to socket if no voltage this way then bad ground. If no voltage either way then probably bad fuse, relay or switch.

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your battery is probably OLD, and in need of replacement, will screw up you alternator by making it work to overheat, all because your batteries ability to accept a charge degrades ten percent per year (according to experts in the industry)---so should be kaput by now...change it...the black cable connecting the battery to chassis ground is a key connection to make sure the lights DO work, sure they've got good fuses, but the circuit cannot be completed because the chassis ground is clobbered up with corrosion...connect the 1/0 battery cable to the engine too, that sucker's got to pull (set fire to it) cranking amps through there~

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Since the brake, turn signals and hazards work, the ground connection is good. It's probably a fuse unless the front and dash lights are on.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Something else I've seen in older models is corrosion build up in socket itself or in electrical plug to back of socket. (Normally a greenish color) contact cleaner, q-tip and or some light scrubbing with pocket knife blade usually takes it right off. Use caution if this appears to be the issue and make sure lights are off before you clean. Will short out circuit if they are on. If unsure take battery loose.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Oh and apply socket grease/silicone when re installing lights. Any auto parts should have it on the counter. This will help with connection and help protect against future issues.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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