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The Third Brake Light (Third Brake Light Service)

Posted September 5, 2021 8:07 AM

So you thought you only had two brake lights.  Look again and you'll see one in the center at a higher level than the two on either side of the vehicle.  They're sometimes in the inside of the vehicle behind the back window, or they could be in the deck lid, on the roof or on the spare wheel carrier,

But why is that third brake on your vehicle? Experts say it helps prevent rear end collisions. Tests done by installing the third brake light in taxis and fleet vehicles showed fewer rear end crashes in the ones that had the extra light. The third brake light was mandated in new passenger cars in 1986 in the US and Canada.  The requirement was added to new light trucks and vans in 1994.

Sometimes it's difficult to know if your third brake light is even working.  Many vehicles have bulb warning systems that alert you to non-functional bulbs, but not all do. Your vehicle service facility will often check to see if all your turn signals, taillights and headlights are working during routine maintenance inspections, and they may notice that the third brake light is out. 

So, do you have to have it replaced? Not necessarily. Many areas only require one brake light to work in the rear of a vehicle. So even though new vehicles have to have the third brake light, you may not get a ticket if it eventually stops working.  But you may be missing an opportunity to drive a safer vehicle if you don't get it fixed.

In 1995, an insurance institute study found that 1986 model cars were involved in 5 percent fewer rear-end collisions from 1986-1991 than they would have expected without the extra light.

Ask your service advisor for advice.  Keep in mind that in these days of drivers distracted by everything from texting to putting on makeup while driving, you can reasonably conclude that anything that makes you more visible to the vehicle behind you adds one more—possibly life saving—safety margin. 


Arizona Auto and Radiator Repair
1255 E FRY BLVD
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635
520-459-2216
http://www.azautorepair.net



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What People Say About Us

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    AZ Auto and Radiator performed a thorough check of my vehicle and found some issues that I suspected were present, but were never diagnosed by another local auto business. The owner took the time to show me (on the vehicle) what he recommended and why. Professional, friendly service, and they didn't pressure me to have everything fixed immediately. Highly recommended!

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    As usual, Danny and staff did an AWESOME job! Danny and AnnMarie are wonderful people and are as honest as the day is long. AZ Auto and Radiator have been doing the maintenance on all of my vehicles since 1997 or 98, and I will continue to take my vehicle maintenance needs to them. They do excellent work, and will tell you the truth about your vechicle maintenance needs; without all the extra stuff that other auto shops will try to sell you. Take your vehicle to Danny and crew for you next vehicle maintenance needs--You Won't Be Sorry!

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    Danny and the crew at Arizona Auto are tops for reliable workmanship and customer service.

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    Just had my oil change and a much-needed window repair before monsoon season hits. I have an older vehicle and I like that Danny and AnnMarie take a wholistic approach at caring for my car--they try to watch for possible issues and let me know what might be coming up. They are also mindful about determining the cause behind any needed repairs (if it is not something attributed to basic wear over time) so that we don't end up repairing the same issue over and over.

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    Not only can we trust that our truck is getting excellent, and current, service with Arizona Auto; each time we go, there is some thoughtful improvement to the waiting area. We couldn't be happier with them!

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    Seventeen years later we still depend on our extended family at Arizona Auto to fix our problems.

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