Sequential Tail Lights for Mustangs are a Must-Have

2013 Shelby Mustang showing its sequential turn signals in action

2013 Shelby Mustang showing its sequential brake lights in action2013 Shelby Mustang showing its sequential hazard lights in action

What are the typical Mustang sequential tail light functions

Table showing Mustang factory tail light sequencing vs. aftermarket solutionsThe Mustang has three tail lights on each side which allows  a sequential lighting affect. Typically the sequence starts with the inside bulb and sequences to the outer bulb.  The typical sequential effect is utilized in the following actions:

  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Hazard lights
  • Remote unlocking

Turn signal sequencing

When the turn signal is engaged, the tail lights light from the inside out on the appropriate side repeatedly until the turn signal is disengaged.  This occurs even when the brake lights are in use.  All aftermarket sequential tail light solutions, as well as Ford’s solution for the 2010+ Mustangs, sequence the turn signals.

Brake light sequencing

Table showing 2010-2014 Mustang factory tail light sequencing vs. aftermarket solutionsSequencing here occurs when the brake pedal is depressed.  Immediately both sets of tail lights light, starting  from the inside bulb, outward to the outside bulb.  Once this sequence is completed, which takes less than a second, all the bulbs remain steadily lit until the brake is released.  If the Mustang has a third brake light it is lit immediately with the first tail light bulbs and stays lit until the brake is released.  This action conforms with the DOT-108 regulation that at least one tail light must be lit immediately on each side and stay lit until the brake is released.

Most aftermarket sequential tail light solutions provide brake light sequencing.  Sadly Ford omitted this feature from the 2010+ Mustangs tail lights, although there is at least one known aftermarket solution available at the time of this writing.

Hazard light sequencing

When the hazard lights are engaged both the left and right tail lights sequence continually until the hazards are disengaged.  Most aftermarket sequential tail light solutions provide for this functionality.  Again, sadly Ford omitted this feature from the 2010+ Mustang as well.

Remote unlocking

When you use your remote to lock/unlock your Mustang some aftermarket sequential tail light solutions will sequence both tail lights once to signify the action took place. Once again, Ford did not add this sequencing feature to the 2010+ Mustangs though they do flash the lights, they just don’t sequence.

Types of sequential tail light solutions and which is best for you

  • Plug-n-play
  • Splice in kit

 2005-2009 Mustang sequential tail light replacement harnesses that you simply plug inPlug-n-Play

Plug-n-play means you simply unplug existing components and plug in the new ones that come with the sequential tail light solution.  Normally this means you are provided with new tail light harnesses that you swap in for your existing harnesses. You can use your existing bulbs, but it is always recommended to replace them while you have them out.

Pros:  The installation is simple and takes about 30 minutes.  There are few things to go wrong, and if something does you just put back your existing harnesses.  You get to keep your existing harnesses so you can restore your Mustang to the original condition should the new harnesses fail to function, or in the future you decide to sell your Mustang and you want to pull out the sequential tail lights.  Many people do this and sell them on eBay for 80-90 percent of what they paid for them.  Warranty and defects are easily dealt with because the harnesses work or they don’t.

Cons:  This solution costs about 30-40% more since you are essentially paying for two new tail light harnesses and the labor to assemble them.

Splice in kit

The splice in kit solution comes with wires and connectors.  You need to follow a set of instructions that have you splicing in wires and components on each harness.  You can use your standard existing bulbs.

Pros:  If you are pretty handy, and careful, a splice in kit can same you some money, initially anyway, in the range of 30-40 percent.  Lower cost is the only reason to go this route.

Cons:  If the installation goes wrong and the tail lights don’t work, who’s fault is it?  Did you connect the right wires?  Are you sure the connections are solid?  Warranty and defect issues can be more difficult to sort out and may leave you holding the bag.  Also, do you really want to be cutting, stripping, splicing, and crimping wires?  The only reason to go this route is to save money initially.  We say initially because unlike the plug-n-play option where you can pull the harnesses out and sell them easily on eBay or Craigslist, with a splice in kit you really don’t have that option, at least not easily.