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Picture of Black-out taillights - $15
I've heard of some people paying as much as $200 for someone to blackout their taillights, which is rediculous. I did both of mine for around $10 in less than 2 hours.

First of all, you need to realize that your lights will be darker (duh), and the light won't be as bright, especially at night. By law (at least in NY), the LIGHT has to be red in color, but I don't think it mentions the plastic itself. Also, if a cop is looking for a reason to pull you over, you're doing him a great favor.
The purpose of the design is to leave some parts clear to allow more light to pass through.

***This is for information purposes only, try at your own risk***
I've heard of some people paying as much as $200 for someone to blackout their taillights, which is rediculous. I did both of mine for around $10 in less than 2 hours.

First of all, you need to realize that your lights will be darker (duh), and the light won't be as bright, especially at night. By law (at least in NY), the LIGHT has to be red in color, but I don't think it mentions the plastic itself. Also, if a cop is looking for a reason to pull you over, you're doing him a great favor.
The purpose of the design is to leave some parts clear to allow more light to pass through.

***This is for information purposes only, try at your own risk***\

But if thats fine with you, here's how it's done:
 
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Step 1: 1 - Materials

Picture of 1 - Materials
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1. Materials.
PAINT

I heard of this paint called Nightshade thats meant for the purpose, but I just used regular Krylon spray paint and clearcoat.
1. Materials.
PAINT

I heard of this paint called Nightshade thats meant for the purpose, but I just used regular Krylon spray paint and clearcoat.


SANDPAPER
Use very fine sandpaper, 2000 grit or so

MASKING TAPE

RAZOR BLADE or Xacto knife

GLOVES(opt)

PEN
SANDPAPER
Use very fine sandpaper, 2000 grit or so

MASKING TAPE

RAZOR BLADE or Xacto knife

GLOVES(opt)

PEN

Step 2: 2 - 4

Picture of 2 - 4
2. Take off the tailight. It's usually held by 2 screws that are covered by the trunk lid.
Label each lamp before you take it off so you remember which hole it goes in to.

3. Clean the taillight. Any dirt will get caught under the paint and thats bad.

4. Put a strip of masking tape IN the grooves. This is so that paint doesn't flow into them and ruin the design. Do this by pressing the tape on one side of the groove, pushing it down with a pen, and then pressing in to the other side.

Step 3: 5

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Mask off the surfacee of the light, overlapping by about 5mm.

Step 4: 6

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Draw the design so that a part of each light (brake, reverse, turning, etc.) is a part of it and will not be painted. I'm going with a superman theme for my ride.

This is a good idea because it allows some areas to remain unpainted, thus making the light easier to see at night.
Remember, tailights are still safety equipment!

Step 5: 7

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Cut out the design with a razorblade and take off the rest of the masking tape.

Step 6: 8

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Mask off the edges of the assembly. This way you will have a neat line around the edge and will look professional.

Step 7: 9 - 10

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9. Lightly sand the unmasked surfaces.

10. Spray from a distance, using quick passes. If you spray too much in one area, it will be too dark or worse, drip. Do 2-3 coats, let each dry 15 mins. Then, take off the masking tape.

***Before doing another coat, hook up the lightbulbs to test how bright the look.***

Step 8: 11 - 12

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11. Apply clearcoat the same way you did the paint. 2 coats should be enough.

12. Resinstall the taillight. This is a good time to also check your bulbs, as I found 2 bad ones in the process.
janet.tarboy112 months ago

well blacking out taillights would be a cop catcher, who would do this unless you want to be knoticed

Diabloscope3 years ago
It only looks Kool if you got a Kool car !
Yonder Boi4 years ago
Why didn't you just use nightshade? which scans as Street legal? I live in Brooklyn.
alexd6195 years ago
Just as a warning if you use black paint and not Night shades paint then you will most likely be pulled over and might even possibly get a ticket because tail lights should be clearly visible 1000 ft away
The distance varies by state, and by county's within states.  My village has a 500ft minimum visibility in full sun, but the city I live nearby states 500ft in light snow, 1000ft in full sun.  Really the only way to be safe is to ask a state police office before committing to a project like this.
great instructable very creative. i also tinted my tail lights,but in a different way. i would be worried about completely blacking mine out like you did. check mine out.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Tinting-your-taillights/
dan_o_89_rs5 years ago
how does this look at night?
alex_0227 (author)  dan_o_89_rs5 years ago
Like this. A little different in person, but close enough.
100_0343.JPG100_0344.JPG100_0338.JPG
berky935 years ago
whats the purpose of blacking out your tail lights?
alex_0227 (author)  berky935 years ago
It looks cool. A lot of people have it done to their cars.
slimguy3795 years ago
should show them at night