I believe that rear red tail-lights illuminate when the 98 Camry headlights are switched on. If this is not correct, I would like to know, so as to avoid fixing something that is not broken.

Experience \ Lesson learned \ pitfalls to avoid are always appreciated

Update: Illumination of the license plate has failed

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Maybe the better question should be: Which locations in the photo should illuminate when the headlights are switched on? It would be helpful to know if I need to learn to access the circuits and bulbs in the static fender or the trunk.

A circuit diagram of all rear visible lighting would be ideal

  • I believe so, but not when daylight running lights are on. Bad oversight there by the regulators. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 18:56
  • @WeatherVane - I'm sure the thinking there is, DRL's are so you can see people coming at you. There's no real danger from vehicles moving away from you. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 18:58
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 at twilight when drivers can still see the road ahead and be seen from the front, they can't be clearly seen from behind. Out of town, someone can approach fast from behind, overtakes thinking there is one car but misjudges it because there is another car in front of it without tail lights, and runs out of road. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 19:09
  • @WeatherVane - That's a problem of the driver, not the vehicle. Not sure what being out of town has to do with any of it? As a driver you should always be aware of the road and other vehicles. Again, there is no danger from vehicles moving away from you. If you are traveling too fast for road conditions or because you are unfamiliar with the surroundings, you take that into how you proceed and slow down your driving. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 19:38
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 because a) where there is no street lighting and b) speed differentials are greater. The guy in the lead car with no tail lights is a danger because of not being visible from behind. What is hard to understand about that? A car in front isn't always moving away, and might even be stationary, but unaware that they can't be seen from behind. And it wasn't me travelling too fast, or too slow. Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


Should rear red lights illuminate when headlights are on?

YES, That is normal and proper.

When you activate your light switch the headlights come on as well as any running lights ( or tail lights as they are frequently called ) that the vehicle has.

Otherwise you would need 2 switches, one for headlights and one to turn on your running lights . This could lead to a situation where at night you turn on you headlights and forget to turn on your running lights.

You can visually see ( In the dark or by the indicator light on your instrument panel ) if your headlights are on but you may not be aware that you running lights/tail lights are not on, That is dangerous. It is just best that one switch turns on all of the lights.

Of coarse the brake lights are controlled by a switch activated by the brake pedal.

  • I think you are indicating that running lights \ tail lights should automatically be switched on when headlights are switched on in the 98 Toyota Camry (if not all vehicles?)?
    – gatorback
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 20:19
  • 1
    Yes. Every car i have owned has been that way, the tail lights and running light come on when the headlight are turned on. I do not know about your car. Some cars modern cars turn on some or all of the lights automatically when the car engine is running.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 21:07

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