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DIY Clear Taillights

by Susan Revermann

In the United States, car manufacturers send their cars out with colored taillights. The red is used to indicate the car is braking, and white to show that the car is backing up. In Europe, you can find all-white taillights on many vehicles. Replacing your colored taillights with clear ones is an option if that is your preference. There are a couple of different procedures you can implement to get the taillights that you desire.

Using Old Lens Cover

Open the trunk of your car. Locate the bolts that hold the taillight assembly in place. Remove these bolts with a socket wrench and put them to the side.

Disconnect the wiring harness from the back of your taillight assembly. Simply grab the wiring connector with your hand and pull directly away from the assembly to disconnect it.

Remove the taillight lens. Peel the colored stickers off the inside of your taillight lens. Scrape any remaining coloring off with a plastic scraper, and then use a cleaning solvent like Goo Gone and a washcloth to get the rest off. Clean any Goo Gone residue with rubbing alcohol and another washcloth when you are done with it.

Grab stiff contact paper and hold it over an area you just cleaned. Using your other hand, trace the perimeter of this area onto the contact paper with a permanent marker.

Cut this design out with an X-Acto knife and keep all of the parts of the pattern that you are cutting out. You will have the inner part of the design that you traced and cut out, which should be shaped like the section of taillight you are working out, and the outer part is the rest of the paper that will protect the surrounding areas.

Position the outer part of your cut-out pattern on the taillight. This outer section will cover the surrounding taillight areas, and you will only have the section of taillight you are working with exposed since that is the section you cut out of the paper. Secure the outer perimeter of the contact paper with tape to keep it in place.

Spray a layer of clear acrylic paint on the taillight cover that is exposed through the contact paper. This will give the taillight assembly cover a uniform color appearance. Allow to dry thoroughly and apply a second coat.

Put the taillight assembly back into position and reattach the bolts and wiring harness.

New Lens Cover

Purchase a clear taillight cover from an auto parts store. Let them know what make and model your car is so you get the right size taillight cover for your specific car.

Follow Steps 1 and 2 from the previous section.

Remove the old taillight lens from the assembly.

Position your new clear taillight lens where you removed the old one.

Follow Step 8 from the previous section.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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Photo Credits

  • Right Tail Light of a new 4 x 4 vehicle image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com