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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'96 Mazda 626, Brake lights Galore

Q: I have a ‘96 Mazda 626 with a standard transmission. Whenever I press the brake pedal, not only do the brake lights light up but also the dash lights and outside turn signals. When the headlights are on and I'm not pressing the brake pedal, the little turn indicators in the dash glow faintly. I've checked the fuses, all the bulbs and I’m at a loss. This is really frustrating! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

A: I would suggest removing all the rear brake light bulbs from the vehicle. Then step on the brakes to see if the problem is still present. If the problem is still present then you likely have a wiring issue. But, I’m willing to bet that the problem will be gone and will only return when you reinstall the brake light bulbs. Here’s what might be happening. Part of the lighting on your vehicle is called combination lighting. (Meaning that the bulb and socket have 2 circuits.) It is possible for the filaments in a bulb can short to each other. The bulb will appear to be working correctly but it will allow for back feeding of another circuit. If this condition occurs, electrical power will be sent out a different wire causing that circuit to power up and light unrelated bulbs. The solution to your problem could be as simple as a replacement bulb, even though it may look okay. One other note; does your vehicle have a trailer hitch? If it does, disconnect the wiring for the trailer lights from the main wiring harness. Trailer wiring has created some interesting problems as well.

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