An unusual bit of maintenance…

I used to make my meager living as a dealership mechanic, but that was a really long time ago. I don’t even know what cars made in this century use for taillights. This being the age of multiple simultaneous Star Trek TV series, it probably involves tachyons.

But in the olden days, when men were men and cars burned gasoline, we used good old-fashioned 1157 filament bulbs. This guaranteed hilarity for cops who had the excuse of regularly pulling us over (and occasionally shooting us dead) when we forgot to check to see if all the bulbs were actually burning.

The Jeep has seen pavement probably five times in ten years. Maybe a few more, definitely not as many as ten. Frankly, I don’t give the taillights much thought. But there was talk of using the Jeep to haul some trailerloads of trash to the county dump, and that will definitely involve pavement and could conceivably involve imperial entanglements. So, just as a precaution, I backed the Jeep up to a shinyish surface to see if it had any working brake lights.

It really didn’t.


Again: I used to do this a lot. Automotive filament bulbs had a reputation for frequent failure, and so if a car had zero brake lights that didn’t necessarily mean a scary electrical problem. Most commonly it just meant you hadn’t checked your bulbs lately.

And so it proved to be in the Jeep’s case.

Boy, they’ve gone up in price. But I probably won’t have to worry about them again for another long time.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to An unusual bit of maintenance…

  1. Ben says:

    Incandescent light bulbs. How quaint!

  2. Mike says:

    Cops will use any port in a storm. I’ve even been pulled over because a copper had a problem reading my license plate. BTW, replacement LED bulbs are cheaper that those old incandescent ones.

  3. Joel says:

    BTW, replacement LED bulbs are cheaper that those old incandescent ones.

    That figures. Should have thought to ask. 🙁

  4. Bmq215 says:

    Yeah, futuristic tech has its ups and downs but LEDs are one place where they really shine. The vibration resistance is fantastic for car lights. Heck, I just got some new boat trailer lights that have the whole thing cast in clear epoxy. I’ll never have to pop one open again to find that the seal failed and the whole thing has been corroding since the last time I dipped it in the lake.

  5. I just bought a basketful of LED’s to replace the bulbs in my pop up camper since I was doing a major renovation. They were more expensive per bulb then the ol’ filament types, but they should last forever and will only sip volts if I ever go back country and run them off the battery

  6. Wyowanderer says:

    I hope you’re right…but quality in manufacture has changed in recent years…

  7. DOuglas2 says:

    Re: 1157 stop/tail/turn LEDs.

    I found that yes, they are brighter right behind and observably faster coming on, but there are a few problems:

    At oblique angles they aren’t as bright. At least the ones that I’ve tried.

    They require additional resistors to be installed if you want the turn-signals to blink at a normal rate, which pretty much eliminates “cheaper” as a good reason to install them

    I’ve yet to find them with DOT approval – the ebay sellers tell you nuthin about that, the retail packages say “for off road use only”.

To the stake with the heretic!