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Lumina tail lights

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98 Lumina, 3100 motor.

This is my sons car. He's in Sioux Falls going to Vo-Tech and I'm not there. Just trying to get a little insight to tell him where to start looking.

Neither his tail lights nor brake lights work. The brake light above the rear dash, however, works. Fuses are good, bulbs are good.

He just got this car last week. I don't know if they worked or not when he got it.

The blinker switch on the steering column is kind of weird. To activate the left turn signal you have to pull back on the switch while pushing it down. Could this have something to do with tail and brake lights also?

So, my question is, where does a guy start looking?


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I know a friend who had this issue and if I remeber correctly, it was in the brake switch behind the pedal. I believe the rear tail lights and the brake lights in the rear window are on 2 different circuts so the window light could work and the tail light not.

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Brake lights are on the same circuit. If the rear window is working than the switch is good. Left and right stop lights will sometimes share the same bulb as the left and right turn signal. If this is the case than the circuit from the brake switch splits and one goes directly to the third brake light in the rear window and the other goes to the turn signal switch. The switch decides if the bulb is on steady or if the bulb blinks.

Back to Eric's question.

Typically when the left and right brake light fail the turn signals will also act funny. If the brake lights and the tail lights are not working than there is likely two different problems. If it's the brake lights and the turn signals it is likely the turn signal switch.

Sometimes you can push pull on the four way switch a couple times and get the brake lights to start working again. If this is the case than the switch is bad.

If the rear tail lights are out check to see if the front park and side markers are working. If those are not working (and the bulbs are good) than check fuses, the headlight switch, and the connector at the switch. The fuse should be labeled PRK LAMP.

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hey Eric, if he needs some tools and a 2nd set of eyes he can come out to my place. I am not one to quickly diagnose electrical gremlins but I can at least get his vehicle out of the elements and help him take a look.

I am SE of town a few miles but thought I would offer.

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Unless the ground is bad on both lights, its the signal switch Eric, at least the brake light part. I've done several with the same symptoms, its common.

As far as the the tail lights... if the grounds are good, its a different problem as Jer said.

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