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?

20 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.

24 people found this helpful.

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~

9 people found this 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.

20 people found this 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.

13 people found this 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.

8 people found this helpful.

this is easy one guys stop making this a complicated one the dash and running lights are on the same fuse only them so if there present and hooked up its a fuse a fuse a fuse

32 people found this helpful.

Why do you guys who don't know shit about anything keep giving avice?. It's like asking yahoo answers, people there are just as stupid. Only answer here that makes sense is Chris.

30 people found this helpful.

I have a 90 toyota pickup and wanting to know where the relay is for the tail lights, they dont work but the turn signals and brakes work. I changed out the tail lights and bulbs and checked all the fuses. Please help

41 people found this helpful.

Yup, it's the tail light relay, I am having the same problem with my 90 toyota winnebago. I installed LED running lights and am replacing the round relay in the picture, it is an the board and had 3 prongs. Just wiggle it out "like a molar" with channel locks.

19 people found this helpful.

Some of you good folks got to realize , Only my head lights and running lights/Inst. Panel don't work , and Yes ! Thank you the ground is solid as the signals/hazards/brakes work !?!! I am much obligued to each n every one of you fine people , with thanks and keep well JAY... (prolem remains )

3 people found this helpful.

If all fuses are okay it may be the switch itself. It may not be giving contact when being turned on.

6 people found this helpful.

My tail lights and licence plate light don't work 2011 Toyota Tacoma. Fuse replacement under dash didn't work. Wondering if it has to do with trailer light plug?

11 people found this helpful.

From what I can tell (having a similar issue) it is likely that a short exists somewhere from the bulbs to the fuse panel. I have yet to dig into it and find the short. I have replaced tail light fuse three times now and it continues to blow. The instrument panel lights and parking lights going out are an indicator that something is wrong in the back. Toyota did this because they know people don't check their rear lighting every time they drive. As annoying as it may be I would check BOTH tail lights AND license plate lights (they are on the same fuse) the filament in the bulb can blow and make contact with the base causing the fuse to blow. After that check sockets and work your way up the harness. Hopefully your short isn't in the cab as the harness runs underneath the trim and carpet. Sidenote: I have read that trailer lights added on can cause issues as they get older. Not positive on the exact way they cause an issue but it is a possible cause.

9 people found this helpful.

had this issue 1990 hilux,, ended up cutting output wire at brake pedal switch and cutting wire by fuse box (brake wire, red, the loom that went to floor under seat and back of truck) to isolate problem that was under the dash somewhere where that trailer wire connects i'm guessing.

6 people found this helpful.

brake and running lights share the same ground. My STOP fuse had input power but nothing going out. Must be a failure in the fuse box. Ran a new wire, fixed! (finally)

5 people found this helpful.

2006 Toyota Sequoia tail lights don’t work can you help

2 people found this helpful.

So I had same problem my dash lights and none of my running lights would work and everytime I turn them on it pop the fuse. My problem was the actual tell light casing where the 2 element bulb plugs in to was sending power back through the lines and blowing the fuse.

3 people found this helpful.

Solved. No continuity between fuse holder. Broken internal contact?

1 people found this helpful.

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