Rear brake lights continually burn out - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum



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  #1  
Old 09-24-2009, 12:21 AM
fasteddie fasteddie is offline
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Rear brake lights continually burn out

Hi guys. I love this forum and it has been very helpful.

I have a situation where my 04 Trailblazer continually burns out rear brake bulbs. Specifically, the filament is not blowing, but the little silver contacts on the bulb are literally melting slightly, causing the brake light to never come on. The top middle brake bulb works like a champ and have had zero problems with it.

I did recently replace one of the rear circuit boards about a year ago (I know there was a recall, but replaced it anyway). Even after the replacement, I still keep blowing bulbs. If I simply replace the bulbs, rear brake lights work just fine. But, I'm tired of replacing bulbs every month at this point. I did notice that I didn't put the rear light assembly back on exactly tight and wondered why

Hoping someone can give me some good hints to try. I was going to start by checking the fuses under the hood and under the rear seat to start. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Eddie
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2009, 12:27 AM
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Is it burning out in one lamp? Or in all 3 lamps? If the contacts are not connecting properly, then there might be water getting in there and rusting it, or they are really cheap bulbs that wear the connection off.
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2009, 12:35 AM
fasteddie fasteddie is offline
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Originally Posted by budboarder View Post
Is it burning out in one lamp? Or in all 3 lamps? If the contacts are not connecting properly, then there might be water getting in there and rusting it, or they are really cheap bulbs that wear the connection off.
Thanks for the quick response budboarder! I've had cases where both lamps have burnt out, but this time the left one went, which is the tail light assembly that was not fully absolutely 100% flush against the body. I had just changed this bulb about a month ago and didn't see any rust on the connections. They're Sylvania's I got at Autozone. The third middle light has been solid. No problems whatsoever from it

I started thinking rain may have done something, as it rained pretty hard here in Pittsburgh today and they worked just fine yesterday (just got the bad boy inspected at 98,000 miles and still going strong!). I'm going to switch the bulbs again and make sure everything is flush.

I've seen some posts and was curious if anyone else might have this issue.
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:36 AM
jc_millet jc_millet is offline
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Exclamation Light Issues with most GM Models

Basically what the issue is is the grounding. All gm's except for corvett's have the grounding issue. The bulb's will run hot, and short out from too much juice, with a poor ground. So re-wiring the lights with an extra ground wire to the body will ensure a correct ground. Almost all GM's have this issue with grounding and a simple re-wiring will solve the issue. I had that same problem also, or even simpler is to go to "led's" instead of the standard incandescent bulbs since they only pull 1/10th the power amperage wise... None of the gm's that I have owned never have worked properly. Something with the poor engineering of the wiring is poorly constructed throughout the vehicle name grands out there on the market. Not trying to start anything, but FYI, very rarely do you ever see a ford with bulbs burning out driving around. But saturn's, chevy, or anything gm wise, more than 50% of the vehicles out on the road have electrical issues. They are not proffesional grade as they say they are on their commercial's. I hope this helps guys, a quick fix of led's and or running another wire will solve the shorting out issue. Thanks, Millet.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:19 AM
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EwingJK EwingJK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc_millet View Post
Basically what the issue is is the grounding. All gm's except for corvett's have the grounding issue. The bulb's will run hot, and short out from too much juice, with a poor ground. So re-wiring the lights with an extra ground wire to the body will ensure a correct ground. Almost all GM's have this issue with grounding and a simple re-wiring will solve the issue. I had that same problem also, or even simpler is to go to "led's" instead of the standard incandescent bulbs since they only pull 1/10th the power amperage wise... None of the gm's that I have owned never have worked properly. Something with the poor engineering of the wiring is poorly constructed throughout the vehicle name grands out there on the market. Not trying to start anything, but FYI, very rarely do you ever see a ford with bulbs burning out driving around. But saturn's, chevy, or anything gm wise, more than 50% of the vehicles out on the road have electrical issues. They are not proffesional grade as they say they are on their commercial's. I hope this helps guys, a quick fix of led's and or running another wire will solve the shorting out issue. Thanks, Millet.

A little biased are we? I've owned both Chevys and Fords over the years. Too numerous to remember them all. The only reason I've had to replace the bulbs is because the filiments burned out. I never had an issue with the contacts or the socket deteriorating due to grounding. I'm curious as to the basis for your argument and what evidence you have to support it.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:32 AM
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EwingJK EwingJK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddie View Post
Hi guys. I love this forum and it has been very helpful.

I have a situation where my 04 Trailblazer continually burns out rear brake bulbs. Specifically, the filament is not blowing, but the little silver contacts on the bulb are literally melting slightly, causing the brake light to never come on. The top middle brake bulb works like a champ and have had zero problems with it.

I did recently replace one of the rear circuit boards about a year ago (I know there was a recall, but replaced it anyway). Even after the replacement, I still keep blowing bulbs. If I simply replace the bulbs, rear brake lights work just fine. But, I'm tired of replacing bulbs every month at this point. I did notice that I didn't put the rear light assembly back on exactly tight and wondered why

Hoping someone can give me some good hints to try. I was going to start by checking the fuses under the hood and under the rear seat to start. Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Eddie
Have you checked the voltage with a voltmeter? You can get a meter from Radio Shack for just a few dollars. Make sure you read the instructions.
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2009, 04:39 AM
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rrufast rrufast is offline
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Here's what the boards look like after the bulbs get hot... I've replaced TWO boards and I don't know how many bulbs... I'm considering getting LED taillights to see if THAT doesn't cure the issue.. Oh, and the only board problem I've had is with the drivers side board..





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  #8  
Old 11-03-2009, 11:03 AM
jc_millet jc_millet is offline
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Smile Socket pictures

Looks like the bulbs were getting too hot, and so when the plastic melted they fell slightly out of place and stopped working. It's hard to say what in the heck is going on, bad plastic, but if it's happening all the time, it could be too much juice and the bulb runs hotter, but then you would think that the light would be brighter when brake is pressed, and or the filiment would crap out quicker... There are so many variables. I would say replace it with the LED's first to see if they will not melt the housing socket and or to see if it will burn them out. My guess to if the plastic does melt again, then there is a short somewhere causing the leads to get hot to melt the plastic and magically not burn the filiment out. Not sure, what is the socket type and or part number to the bulb for the vehicle you have?

Thanks,
Chris
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2009, 11:30 AM
jc_millet jc_millet is offline
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Smile Replacement LED Tail Lights

Here is a link for 1 pair:

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sk...s+%26+Lighting

And then here is another pair too look at:

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sk...s+%26+Lighting

These are replacement lights, complete for right at $300.00 with shipping. It is my guess that this will fix the issue 100%, full replacement.

Anyhow, its whatever I just figured I would help you out.

Thanks,
Chris
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2009, 09:00 PM
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RayVoy RayVoy is offline
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Our friend, in an earlier post, alluded to bad grounds.

He is somewhat correct.
The problem is generally caused by corrosion between the bulb and the socket. Where he is correct, is that this is the grounded side of the circuit.

Corrosion is resistance. Current flowing through resistance causes heat.

After a while, the heat causes the metal (socket contacts) to fatigue (burn) resulting in additional resistance.

The only way to ensure a proper repair, is to replace the sockets, or the socket board assembly.
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