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HomeTips & GuidesAuto Backup Light – How to Test and Replace It

Auto Backup Light – How to Test and Replace It

About Auto Backup Light: When reversing your car, you can catch other road users unaware, which might cause costly accidents. To avoid this, you need an auto backup light, also known as a reverse light, to alert other road users. When this light goes out, I advise you to replace it immediately to prevent accidents and avoid traffic tickets. For this reason, let’s discuss how to test your auto backup light, its causes of malfunctioning, and replacement steps.

What Is Reversing Light?

Reversing lights or simply reverse lamps are lights that you install at your car’s rear. These lights are usually white to differentiate them from the red or amber tail and brake lights. However you can also use blue or yellow, but it is prohibited in some areas because it’s not luminous enough.

You mostly use backup lights to alert other drivers and road users of your intended vehicle’s backward movement. In addition, these lights also illuminate your driving path to help you see obstacles when reversing in darkness.

You usually connect backup lights to the gearbox, which light automatically when you engage the reverser gear. Note that it’s a regulation requirement to have at least one reverse light installed in your car.

Therefore, if your old model car lacks these lights, it’s important to install them and use a manual button. Something else to note is that it’s illegal in some regions to drive forward with your reverse light on.

Cause of Reverse Light Malfunctioning

If your reverse light fails, the first and most common culprit could be a blown bulb. Another problem could be the wiring harness or the associated connectors that supply the power to your light. For example, connectors can be corroded, loose, or disconnected, while the wires can be frayed or worn out. 

Then another cause may be your reverse component components failing to engage. For instance, the light switch may have a problem, hence failing to switch your light on when you engage the reverse gear.

There may also be physical damage to the light itself, or the transmission sensors are faulty, thus translating to the malfunctioning light.

Lastly, you may find that the cause is issues with your car’s electrical systems. For example, faulty/weak battery, grounding issues, and alternator problems.

How to Test Vehicle Reverse Lights

First, you need to inspect your light physically for any signs of damage to both the light and the wiring.

While here, also check if there are worn out, corroded, or disconnected connectors that might prevent power to the light. Then remove the bulb, check for signs of damage, then test it.

You need to connect with a short wire on the battery terminals. If it lights up, then it’s not the issue. Finally, check the car wiring diagram, see the associated fuses, and inspect if they blew.

Inspecting a car bulb

Inspecting a car bulb

How to Replace a Reverse Light

First, you must buy a new reverse light bulb that matches your car’s specifications. Then, get an appropriate screwdriver, have a friend help you, and follow the steps below.

Prepare your car

As a rule, you must first park your car in a flat area and use the parking brake to prevent accidents. Then use your car model wiring diagram to know where your backup light is.

Remove and inspect your bulb.

As we said above, the problem of the backup light not working can be elsewhere apart from the bulb. However, this guide on how to replace it.

You must get your screwdriver and unscrew the hardware that holds your reverse light in place. Remember, this location can vary from inside the trunk to the backdoor, depending on your car model.

Once you remove the bulb holder, inspect it to ensure it’s the culprit. While here, check for any signs of bulb damage, such as blown filament or blacking of the glass. Once you know the bulb is the issue, remove it by twisting anticlockwise or pullin,g depending on the bulb type.

Install the new bulb.

Now, take your new bulb and push it into place until you hear a click. You may also twist it clockwise until it’s tight into the socket, depending on the bulb type.

Now put the bulb hold in its place and test your bulb before screwing. You will need to turn on your car and then engage the reverse gear.

You may need your friend at the back to tell you if your reverse light works. When you know everything works as intended, now screw the holder in place and ensure it’s tight. 

Replacing a car bulb

Replacing a car bulb


If you read my research above, I have no doubts you can test your reverse light and replace it successfully. In case the issue is one that you can’t solve, I recommend hiring a professional mechanic.

I am Lillian Yang, having been a sales manager for over 10 years.

I have received many positive reviews from customers. They have praised our excellent service, on-time delivery, and high-quality cable assemblies.

For your projects, please provide cable assembly files/images/smples, etc., so that I can send you a quotation within 24 hours.

Contact me now and let’s get started on building your wire harnesses!

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