How to Clean Behind Third Brake Light? [2 Easy Methods]

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Did you notice a pile of dust on the third brake light of your vehicle? If you’re feeling OCD like me, I know how you feel. Apart from OCD, it’s necessary to clean it. I’ll tell you why in a bit. 

But first, let’s clear out your confusion. Here’s how to clean behind third brake light.

You can clean the behind third brake light in two ways. You can wipe the dirt and dust off the lights with a wet cloth and cleaning solution. Again, you can clean the third brake light by dismantling the body and cleaning the glass with a damp cloth. But you should be careful doing this.

Are the two methods still confusing to you? If it is, keep reading the article till the end to know the processes in detail. 

Why is it Necessary to Clean Third Brake Lights?

Like cleaning the engine with a carbon engine cleaner, it’s necessary to clean them to make the lights clearer and more vibrant. 

Usually, third brake lights don’t have much work to do. The left and right brake lights are enough to guide the other vehicles on the road.

However, it’s hard for trucks and trailers to notice the side brake lights in rear window on a vehicle. That’s why America has made it mandatory for all car owners to install a third brake light higher from the right and left brake lights.

How to Clean Behind Third Brake Light
Source: Aoonuauto

A study shows that the third brake light decreases the percentage of distracted drivers from colliding with other vehicles because of third brake lights. 

As the third brake light is on the exterior part of the car, it gets dirty very quickly. When a brake light is dirty, it won’t look as vibrant as it is. So, the vehicle’s driver behind the car might get the wrong direction. This increases the chance of unwanted accidents. 

So, the third brake light isn’t an all-time light for usage. Still, you must keep it clean as soon as it gets dirty.  

Best Methods How to Clean Behind Third Brake Light

Cleaning the behind third brake light is one of the easiest jobs around. It’s easier than cleaning vomit from the car. There are two easy methods you can follow. 

Method 1: Cleaning Without Removing the Brake Light

I find this the most effective method of all the cleaning methods out there. For this, all you’ll need is a wet microfiber cloth and some cleaning solution. Finally, you’ll need some water to wash all the dirt and debris. 

So, how you should do it:

  • First, you have to park your vehicle with the rear facing the sun. This will allow you to see any dirt under the sunlight. 
  • Next, take a microfiber cloth and submerge it in some cleaning solution.
  • Then, wipe the third brake light gently with the wet cloth. 
  • Finally, wipe out the brake light with fresh water and completely dry the surface.

You can check out if there’s any dust left under the sunlight. 

Method 2: Clean the Glass by Dismantling the Body of the Brake

can i remove my third brake light
Source: F150 Online Forums

The second method is a bit riskier than the first method. Here you have to dismantle the whole brake light and clean the glass of it. While doing this, you might damage the OEM foam seal around the brake light. In this case, you’ll have to purchase a new brake light for your vehicle.

But if you’re careful enough, you’ll be able to clean the brake lights thoroughly using this method. It’s like cleaning the middle of the truck cap and cap. So, here are the steps you should follow:

  • First, you should open the trunk and locate the release tabs of the third brake light.
  • Push the tabs and detach the brake lights from the vehicle. 
  • Then, dismantle each part of the brake light. After that, remove the glass.
  • Afterward, take a thin scraper tool or a microfiber cloth wrapped on a spatula and scrape off the dirt from the brake light glass. 
  • After removing the dirt and dust, take a damp cloth and clean the brake light glass with a cleaning solution. You can also use water if you don’t have a cleaning solution with you. 
  • Then, air dry the brake light glass properly.
  • Finally, reassemble the brake light glass as it was before.   

So, you’re all done cleaning the behind third brake light!

Tips to Remember Before Cleaning the Third Brake Light

Cleaning the Third Brake Light

Now, as easy as the process sounds, you must remember some precautionary tips before you start cleaning. Here are some tips to remember for a successful cleaning procedure:

  • You have to be very careful while dismantling the body or trim panels around the trunk area. Any misstep can damage the brake light.
  • While cleaning the brake light in the second method, make sure you don’t damage the OEM foam seal surrounding the third brake light.
  • Don’t use any abrasive material to clean the brake light. Or else it’ll leave scratch marks on the glass. This can also lessen the lifetime of the brake light. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you need 2 brake lights?

Yes, you need 2 brake lights as the main brake lights. It’s mandatory for all vehicles in the US. The third brake light at the top part is used as an auxiliary brake to reduce accidents. 

How long do third brake lights last?

It can last up to 5 to 6 years if they are incandescent bulbs. For LED bulbs, they can last up to 12 years or more.  

Can I use compressed air for cleaning the area?

Yes, you can. To get compressed air you need to attach a hose to an air compressor, even a small one will do and a nozzle, and blow it clean, then vac the area.

Is it legal to remove the third brake light?

Yes, it’s legal to remove it. The United States doesn’t require you to have three brake lights in your vehicle.  

Final Words

Hopefully, you are now aware of how to clean behind third brake light at home. It’s quite an easy process, but you should be careful not to damage any part of the light.

This article will help you in cleaning the behind third brake light in the safest way. Good luck!

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I am a professional automotive and car mechanic. I have been in the industry for 15+ years. At the moment I have 3 garages. Every day dozens of cars come to our repair shops that are damaged in a very short period of time. The main reason for this is not taking a proper care of the car.

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