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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My running lights and taillights both work on both sides, but one brake light on driver side will not turn on. See the photos to see that the taillights both work. Sorry, was alone so was unable to photograph the brake light not functioning.

I thought that I had a bad bulb, but when I changed it it still didn't work. And of course, upon close inspection of the filaments, none were broken.

I have researched what I can, but still am not sure how to troubleshoot this. I understand that the bulb has two filaments so that the taillight can work off of the same bulb.

Can the socket be bad just for the brake light and yet work for the taillight?

I would appreciate any ideas on how to fix this myself without going to the garage.

Thanks!
Laura
 

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I would use a mechanic's test light to check the voltage at the socket contact.
 

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There is a single fuse for all 3 brake lights, so it is not the fuse. Most likely is corrosion in the socket. Make sure the metal contacts are bare in the base of the socket. The connector/bulb socket assembles are available separately from the rest of the taillight. I had to replace one for a side marker once because of corrosion.
 

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I just worked on mine; some weren't working, as noted there was dirt and corrosion. I cleaned out the sockets, blew them out with compressed air, bent the contacts so they had a better connection and replaced the bulbs. On my bulbs; heat had deformed the contact points on the bulbs, the inside of the glass, had a black haze on them and they were intermittently, going off/on, if you moved the bulb in the socket. So, the connection was not good; after a new bulb, contact cleaner, blowing out the socket with compressed air and bending the contacts to increase the connection tension... they worked again! I also cleaned out the lamp assemblies and the lights; they looked much brighter, when put back together!

Here is the contact cleaner I used:

CRC 5103 Quick Dry Electronic Cleaner - 11 Wt Oz. (under $5 at Walmart; more at most auto parts stores):

https://www.google.com/search?q=CRC...69i57j69i60.1998j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I also put in some bulb grease on the bulb/socket (aka: dialectic grease), for good measure.

Here is some info from Permatex:

"Permatex® Bulb Grease. Increases performance and extends service life of bulbs and lamps by preventing voltage leakage and protecting electrical connections from moisture, dirt and corrosion. Great lubricating properties ease the disassembly process. Protects rubber, plastic, ceramic and metal surfaces."

Permatex/Dielectric tune-up grease 22058: (there are other brands/smaller sizes/quantities but this is what I used)

https://www.google.com/search?q=Per...69i57j69i58.6578j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awesome detailed response. Gonna give all that a try. The housing into which the socket goes has been melted and deformed. Last person who maintained it had the socket held in w electrical tape. Not sure how those imperfections factor into the bulb not going on....but only to say that there are definitely more than one problem w this crap light assembly...cheap vw plastic parts be damned!
 

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Also, you should be able to find a circuit tester; at any auto parts store, for less than $10:

https://www.google.com/search?q=aut...rome..69i57.7215j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

If you tail light socket; needs replaced, you can find them online or at your VW dealer and I think they are being reproduced by aftermarket companies as well (Dorman), although I would recommend VW over aftermarket:

I'm seeing them online on amazon; for about $17 with free shipping for a genuine VW part made by Valeo: (you might call your local VW dealer; it may not be much more):

https://www.google.com/search?q=vw+...rome..69i57.6541j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 
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