Home » This One Quick Trick Makes Taillight Replacements Cheap Again: COTD

This One Quick Trick Makes Taillight Replacements Cheap Again: COTD

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One of the saddest parts about owning a modern car is figuring out how much those pretty lights cost to replace. Have you ever wondered why you see so many Dodge products running around with burned-out “racetrack” lighting? It may be because the owner doesn’t know, but it could also be because even used replacement units are stupidly expensive. If only there was a better way.

I say that because Jason wrote an article about how cool the taillights are in China right now. Resident EV master reader Toecutter isn’t impressed, and wants to see a different change:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

You know what would be really bold in today’s automotive world?

Taillights and headlights that can be fixed with a $5 bulb widely available from an auto parts store with nothing but a flathead screwdriver.

We don’t even have to go back to incandescent bulbs. It would be geat if LED lighting were standardized so that you could just stop by your local AutoZone and replace a bad one.

Today, I wrote an update on the saga of import vehicle bans spreading across America. They’ve now hit Michigan and enthusiasts are fighting back by suing. Alexk98 points out how stupid all of this is:

So these are all complete non-starters, yet I see a current generation 4Runner, Honda Prelude, and other modern trucks, vans, and other vehicles all driving around town with “Farm Use” Tags and nobody bats an eye. Not to mention the number of absolute death traps allowed on US roads by DMVs like Michigan that refuse to issue even the most cursory safety inspection.

AAMVA is going after a tenth of a tenth of a tenth of the vehicles on the road while blatantly ignoring the over single-digit percent of vehicles on the road that would legitimately fail a safety inspection, bringing them directly out of compliance with FMVSS standards.

The key difference being missed here I think is nobody, genuinely nobody, is going out an buying an imported vehicle without knowing what they’re getting into, but there are I’d wager millions of Americans that have no clue their vehicles are genuinely dangerous because they bought it from a sketchy used dealer or dude off craigslist that swears its mint, but the frame or unibody is nearly rusted through. What an absolute farce, and waste of lawmakers time and taxpayers money.

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Finally, we stop at today’s Cold Start, which involves a Land Rover Tropical Roof. This roof has ventilation properties, but in the words of a great pitchman, but wait, there’s more! From Spectre6000:

In addition to ventilation, it also acts as an insulative barrier. The sun beats down on it, then air gap, then the actual roof. Significant reduction in heat inside. If you’ve ever felt the oven effect on your scalp in an older car without insulated headliners, you know what you’re avoiding.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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Myk El
Myk El
29 days ago

I can feel like I’m a dichotomy in terms of my preferences in how advanced I want my cars. So for example, I love power seats because they really do allow fine adjustment manual adjust seats just don’t permit (not in my experience, at least). But under the hood, I prefer a hood prop to hydraulic struts because dammit, it works and keeps working basically until the car stops working. I’m weird that way.

Danny Zabolotny
Danny Zabolotny
29 days ago

Even with replaceable bulbs, manufacturers find a way to screw things up. BMW from the 90’s and 2000’s love having taillight housings that melt and contacts that fail, necessitating expensive parts replacement despite using cheap and readily available bulbs.

Rafael
Rafael
29 days ago

I think The Bishop and/or Adrian could work on what a car design with serviceability in mind above all else would look like.
Not necessarily the most utilitarian car, or the most rugged one – those attributes wouldn’t hurt, but I mean serviceable like the older Checker Marathon taxis, that could almost be fixed with thoughts and prayers alone.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
29 days ago

I just spent too much money to replace the LED taillights on my ten year old Honda Odyssey for this exact reason. One went out, and while it’s not a safety problem (it’s not the brake light, and was still half working), I didn’t want to give in to the 10 year old van’s slide in to beater status. Then, I had to buy two because you’re supposed to replace them in pairs.

So, 100% agree about simple plug-in LED bulbs.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Martin

This is my fear about my similar-age Odyssey and the fancy LED tail lights. Theoretically the LEDs should outlive the rest of the car, but my experience with LED light bulbs in my house and industrial settings has so far proven that theory wrong. At least in my house I can just swap in a new standard bulb, but I don’t even want to know how expensive the van’s tail lights are…

Camelman
Camelman
29 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

I have yet to experience an LED reaching the claimed ten-year, or whatever, service interval. My experience with multiple homes, apartments, cars, and motorcycles tells a very different story.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
28 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Exactly! “Lifetime part” is a load of crap. It was ~$200 for the pair and some labor. So, probably $300 total or a bit more?

I’m sure it’s more for a broken matrix headlamp or an Audi / Porsche / Mercedes unit. But I’d still rather have a $5 bulb any day.

Totally not a robot
Totally not a robot
29 days ago

The rising excitement of seeing an article that I commented on….

And then the crushing disappointment when my comment wasn’t selected.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
29 days ago

Hey, at least you get your crushing disappointment here. My father-in-law prefers to get his crushing disappointment from the state lotto. And he wonders why he is broke.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
29 days ago

I get my crushing disappointment from life.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
29 days ago

Right in the feels, feels that I also feel with you. I had one I put my absolute best into a while back and no COTD nod stung mightily.

Ah well. A humbling reminder not to get too tangled in the meta, I suppose.

Harvey Firebirdman
Harvey Firebirdman
29 days ago

Don’t feel bad because only the cool kids don’t get selected for COTD. Do you really want to be part of the COTD group they don’t even have cookies over there. We cool Non-COTD people have cookies and we have dental do you really think COTD supplies them with dental? (Shrek 2 joke yay hah) Wait my dental is through my work? Still Cookies!

Drew
Drew
29 days ago

I just pretend they’ve disqualified me from COTD due to excessive posting. Less disappointment if I believe I’m just not eligible.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
29 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Quantity not quality!

Drew
Drew
29 days ago

I’m definitely not feeling picked on or anything! I’ve been included more than my fair share, and I think featuring different people is great! I just wanted to poke fun at myself for how much I post here. You do a great job selecting comments!

Last edited 29 days ago by Drew
Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
29 days ago

IKR?? It’s not like I ever set out to vie for COTD, as this website ain’t about competition but about community, but I do get the occasional and perhaps slightly irrational twinge of anticipation when I see such a post after I’d made a comment so I completely get it about the crushing disappointment, ha. And there’s the time when I posted a video in my comment and the next day’s COTD article used the exact same video but without any accompanying text so I chose to believe it was either simply an inadvertent oversight (plus it was during a time when there were some wonky issues with formatting with pages but it’s possible my smartphone wasn’t so smart and didn’t load the pages properly) or just a case of GMTA with them using the same video I had used, ha.

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