A backup light is a safety feature of your vehicle’s lighting system. Also known as a “reverse light”, the backup light is mounted at the rear of your vehicle. In most cases, there is a pair of backup lights on a modern vehicle, one mounted inside of each tail lamp assembly. The backup light signals drivers to the rear of your vehicle that you have shifted the transmission into reverse (“R”) and are about to back up.
The backup light comes on automatically any time you adjust the transmission shift lever into reverse gear. If the light does not turn on, a wire, fuse, switch, or some other component might be at fault. But oftentimes, a blown light bulb is the culprit.
When this component fails, it is difficult for a driver to detect without assistance, since the only time it turns on is if the vehicle is running and the transmission has been shifted into reverse. On some vehicles, a dashboard warning light might indicate a bad reverse light.
There are a number of causes of a faulty backup light on a vehicle, including a bad switch connected to the transmission shifter linkage or a broken wire. Most of the time, the problem with a backup light is a blown bulb, however. To change the bulb, a technician will typically need to access the inside of the trunk or cargo area and remove interior trim panels to get at the tail lamp assembly. Once the proper light socket has been identified, the technician will unplug the wiring harness, unseat the socket, and remove the bad bulb before inserting the new bulb and reassembling all components.
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