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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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: Dash lights not working

Hello. The symptoms you are describing can be caused by a few different things. If the same lights as before are no longer working then it may be possible that there is an issue with the instrument cluster that is...

Q: Brakes don't work good in my 1996 Honda Accord

Hi there. From what you are explaining it sounds like there is a leak in the system. The brake fluid should not be going down at all unless there is a leak. If you are losing brake fluid and there...

Q: Opinion about a 2004 Mazda 3 with manual transmission

It's a 12-year-old car. I'm assuming you didn't pay too much for it. It can be a good first car. I'm a Toyota man myself. I'm not a big fan of Mazda, because their automatic transmissions are not the best,...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...