3 Options When Your Brake Light Socket Is Corroded

Posted on: 22 September 2016

Over time, as you replace your brake lights, the cover that protects your brake lights can lose its integrity, especially if it is not screwed into place tightly. Water can then get into the area where your brake lights are located on your vehicle, and that water can corrode the mechanism that holds your brakes, which is also known as the socket. The water can produce rust and can wreak havoc on your brake light sockets. Here are your three options if your brake light socket has turned to rust.

Accessing Your Brake Light Socket

In order to remove the rust, you need to access your brake light socket. The access to this area can vary from vehicle to vehicle, but there are generally two different ways to access this area. One, you will have to remove the screws that hold the lens over your brake lights in place and then gently pry lose the brake light cover to get access to the brake lights. Two, in many newer vehicles, you access the brake lights through the trunk. There will be a cover in the top corner of your trunk that you will need to remove (it could be held in place with a latch or screws) to get to your brake lights through your truck.

Once you get into this area, you will need to unscrew the light bulb and put it somewhere safe so you can put it back in place once you have addressed the rust inside of the socket.

#1 White Vinegar

The first method you can try is to take an old rag that you don't need to use anymore, and soak it with some white vinegar. Get it nice and wet with white vinegar, like you would with a washcloth under running water. Then, take that wet white vinegar rag and push it into the socket. You want it to fill up the socket and fit tightly in place.

Let the rag sit inside of the socket for about an hour or so. While it sits inside of the socket, the rag will break down the rust.

After an hour or so has passed, pull the rag out of the socket and use it to wipe away the remaining rust inside. If there is still rust, repeat this process.

#2 Baking Soda

The second method you can try is a baking soda mix. Take some baking soda, place it inside of a bowl, and add a couple of drops of water. You want to add enough water to turn the baking soda into a paste, but not enough to turn the baking soda into a runny mess.

Take the baking soda mixture and put it inside of the socket. You will want the baking soda to cover the bottom of the socket and stick to the sides. Let the baking soda paste mixture sit for a few minutes to break up the rust. Then, use a small brush with the paste to scrub away the rust. Wipe down the area with a clean rag to remove any remaining baking soda paste and rust.

#3 Full Replacement

Your third option is to fully replace the socket. This is a good option if you discover after trying out the two methods above that the rust has created permanent holes in the socket. Just take your car down to your mechanic and have them change out the socket. The parts should not cost very much, and your mechanic should be able to do this in well under an hour, so this shouldn't break your budget too much.