In a traffic collision, it's very likely that an exterior light will get cracked or shattered. Most are made from plastic, and cannot withstand strong impact. Even old age can take its toll on your lenses by making them foggy and dull looking. Either way, when they cease to function properly your safety can be at risk. A broken tail light could not tell the driver behind you where you are at night, or when you are applying the brakes; ultimately leading to a rear impact collision. Your rear tail lamps also contain reverse lights and turn signals that communicate your intentions to other drivers. Failure to keep these working in accordance with your local laws can result in a fine and a court-mandated repair order. Why chance it, why put it off? If your tail light is busted, get it fixed or replace it sooner rather than later so you and your passengers are safe. At least you won't have to deal with the hassle of a "fix-it" ticket and unnecessary inspection.
Automotive lighting was first made possible by burning oil as a fuel source rather than by generating electricity. This wasn't terribly efficient, but it was effective. Soon after the turn of the 20th century, cars were equipped with generators and electric lighting devices were soon deployed. By 1915, cars were equipped with electric headlights and tail lights. This was a huge leap forward in safety, because now drivers were operating vehicles on roads at night and driving them at faster speeds than previously before. Initially, tail lamps and lenses were mounted just above the rear bumper independently of other lighting components, and simply marked your position. Today, tail lights serve to inform drivers behind you of your position, they get brighter if you are applying the brakes, a clear light illuminates when you are backing up, and a flasher will indicate when you are turning. Modern tail lamps use LEDs connected to a circuit board to achieve a long-lasting and inexpensive way to light the rear of your car or truck.
There are as many ways to change tail lights as there are cars on the road. Sometimes, they can be easily accessed from the outside of the vehicle, and just a couple of screws are holding the light to the housing. On some cars, you have to access them through the trunk or rear trim panel near the bumper. Either way, some basics remain throughout all models of cars and trucks. Your tail lights are always connected to some sort of a wire harness. So removing them requires that be disconnected first. Tail lamp housings are sometimes bolted to the body of your car, in which case you need to be able to access all the mounting points with a wrench or socket set. If you are lucky, you'll only have to remove a couple of screws and the light and lens will come loose. Other types of tail light assemblies take a little more work. But once you have the light out, you can easily see the bulbs and sockets that you might have to replace. If you are going to re-install a brand new assembly, then you can just perform the same steps in reverse and you're done. It should take between 20-60 minutes depending on application.
Buying a new tail lamp online can be a difficult task. We know that there are many options, and there are some really cheap knock-off lights out there. At Car Parts Discount, we sell quality reproduction tail lights made by the genuine original equipment producers and CAPA certified manufacturers. The lights we sell will all pass DOT standards unless otherwise specified, and will fit and function exactly the same way as your factory original part. So don't always go for the cheapest alternative when buying a new tail light or lens. Make sure you are getting the best part at the lowest price possible.