Taking Care of Your Jeep Wrangler Tail Lights

To most people who own one, a Jeep Wrangler isn't just a vehicle, it's a cherished possession. It is for this reason that most owners will go to extreme lengths to take care of their Wrangler's engine, transmission and other major parts. Though so much attention is paid to major parts, peripheral parts, such as tail lights, are just as important, and sometimes get overlooked.

Why Do You Need to Keep an Eye on Your Tail Lights?

Your tail lights are among the most important parts of your Jeep Wrangler in terms of protecting it from accidental collision damage. By indicating where your vehicle is to other drivers on dark roads, your tail lights make it much less likely that you will be inadvertently rear-ended by a driver who didn't see you. Aside from being needed for nighttime visibility, your tail lights also help you to be seen in fog and rain. In Bayside, New York, where it rains eight inches more than the national average each year, visibility in wet conditions can be critical. Our snowy winters are another reason that keeping a close eye on whether or not your tail lights are working is a part of regular vehicle maintenance. Your Jeep Wrangler's rear lamp assembly, which contains your tail light, is also crucial because it includes your brake light and turn signal. If the lamp assembly on one side of your vehicle goes out altogether, it can make it impossible for you to signal a turn, as well as reduce the visibility of the fact you are braking or slowing down. As you can imagine, this increases the chance of an accident, besides of course making it more likely you will be pulled over by the police. The worst part about a tail light or rear lamp problem is the fact that it could happen at any time without you being aware of it. Because these lights only engage when you are in and actively operating your Wrangler, you could drive around with a malfunctioning or burnt out tail light for days or even weeks without noticing. Because of that, it's a good idea to have a friend or relative check your lights for you from time to time, just to be on the safe side.

What Makes Tail Lights Wear Out?

Tail lights can stop working for a variety of different reasons. The most common reason, of course, is that the light bulb in the lamp assembly simply burns out. This happens naturally as the bulb ages, just as with any other kind of light bulb. Other problems, however, can cause your tail lights to die. A wire vibrating loose, for example, can cause problems with your tail light by itself or with the rest of the rear lamp assembly. Grounding or other electrical issues in your Jeep's wiring harness could also cause problems with your tail lights, though this isn't particularly common. In some cases, water can get into your tail light assembly because of prolonged periods of rain or because of small cracks in the assembly itself. Again, because of the rainy climate here in Bayside, this can be a substantial problem in our local area. Though it doesn't always result in damage, this water buildup can compromise electric components in the rear lamp assembly. Finally, tail light assemblies can be damaged in rear-end collisions. Usually, this will require replacing the entire lamp, though some parts may be salvageable. Even if you've only been in a minor fender-bender, be sure to carefully inspect your tail lights for damage.

How to Change Your Jeep Wrangler's Tail Light Bulb

If you perform a check of your tail lights and find that one of them isn't working, the safest bet is that the bulb has simply burned out. Replacing one of these bulbs is a simple process that can be taken care of by anyone. To start, remove the tail light guard on the side of the vehicle that has the bad light. This guard will be secured with four screws. Once the screws and the guard are removed, the entire tail light can be pulled away from the vehicle. On the back of the lamp assembly, you'll find connectors for the bulbs. Turn the connector for the bulb that needs to be replaced counter-clockwise, and it will come loose. From here, simply unscrew the bad light bulb, replace it with a new one, and reinstall the bulb and assembly. Turn your Wrangler on and test the new bulb to be sure it is working properly.

Extending Bulb Life

Even though all tail light bulbs will wear out eventually, there are certain conditions that will make them wear out faster than others. Uneven roads are one of the worst culprits in shortening bulb life, as they cause excessive vibration that can damage the bulb itself. Unfortunately, the tail light bulbs in Jeep Wranglers are often among the worst victims of this because of their favored use in off-roading. If you want your tail lights to last longer, try to limit the amount of time you spend on rougher roads.

Should You Use OEM Replacement Parts in Your Tail Light Assembly?

If you do need to replace a bulb or another part of your tail light assembly, it's best to use genuine OEM parts to replace the originals. Even though you'll find generic parts aplenty on the market, sticking with OEM equipment will ensure that you're getting the highest quality parts for your Jeep Wrangler.


Keeping an eye on your tail lights is important to ensure that your Wrangler is fully road-worthy and visible in all conditions. If you need parts for your Jeep Wrangler or other Mopar vehicles, look no further than themoparpartsdepot.com, an OEM parts dealer for all thing Mopar based in Bayside, New York. We have all the original factory parts you need to take care of your Jeep Wrangler and keep it on the road.