State safety inspections require that your reverse lights come on when you shift into reverse. This 2006 Toyota Tacoma owner’s stopped working, and the proposed solution involved a lot more than he bargained for.
Q. I own a 2006 Toyota Tacoma with 155,000 miles. Recently, I went to the dealership for a state inspection. When they checked the back-up lights, they realized the lights only work if you hold the manual shifter in reverse. Once you let go of the shifter, the lights go out.
They recommended that I bring my truck to the dealership who replaced my frame last year. It’s possible that a wire could be pinched. So I brought my truck to the other dealership. When they put the transmission in reverse and held it in gear, the back-up lights didn’t even go on at all.
After further inspection, they realized that it could be a faulty switch inside the transmission which would cost $249 to replace. However, they said that if the new switch doesn’t solve the problem, then it may be a transmission issue, in which case, they said I would need a new transmission. The transmission works perfectly fine.
I find it ridiculous that the dealership would recommend a new transmission if the back up lights don’t work. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
A. The idea of replacing a perfectly good transmission for a faulty switch also sounds crazy to me. The back-up light switch screws into the transmission. When you shift into reverse, the gearshift depresses a plunger that activates the light.
It’s possible that the transmission could be worn and not depressing the switch but there are other alternatives. The simplest would be to mount a standalone switch that would allow you to manually switch on the back up lights.
For reference, the back-up light switch is about $40 and can be replaced in 30 minutes. Considering how easy it is to trouble shoot this issue I would consider finding a new repair shop.
John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.