Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Brake light melted the housing

asked by on

I went to change the brake light in my 2008 Mazda3 when I noticed that the cover over the bulb looked strange. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the plastic was melted in spots. Shouldn’t that not happen? Should the lights get that hot? Is it ok to just change the bulb or will I catch on fire at some point? The car only has 84,000 miles on it.

Hello, tail lamps that are melting are more common in areas where traffic causes drivers to spend more time braking than driving (think of a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour). With bulbs getting more voltage now due to better electronics and conductor material, the bulbs are brighter and put off more heat causing damage to the tail lamp lens. Heat over time will cause damage to anything. I have seen melted tail lamps on other manufactures’ cars so this is not just a Mazda problem. Replacing the bulb won’t help unless it’s burnt out. If the plastic melts down on to the bulb it will cause the bulb to fail. The only solution is to replace the tail lamp lens and I would suggest all new bulbs for a fresh start. If you can find the vents on the new tail lamp be sure to keep them clear so the tail lamp can vent.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

Hello. It sounds like the car has low battery voltage. Either the battery has gone bad or the alternator is not charging properly and is draining the battery. I would suggest that you have the electrical system inspected. If you...

Q: I changed the break light switch and now I can not get the truck out of park

Hello, thank you for writing in. The vehicle may be having issues the with ABS system. Considering the timing with the brake light switch, you will want to verify that installation and make sure it is clean, dry, and tight....

Q: Seat belt not latching.

The belt buckle can be replaced and should be done by a certified mechanic to ensure the work is done properly and safely. Many of the vehicles today have seat belt buckles tied to the supplemental restraint system, your air...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.