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This is probably totally irrelevant, but on my Alfa all the exterior lightings are controlled through the rev counter. There's a tell-tail light in the rev counter which light when a bulb is blown. However, it sometimes tells you a bulb is blown when it isn't. It could be a faulty earth on the lighting (it the rears on the Alfa) or even a bulb that is about to blow (lower resistance?). If it is none of these, then its a faulty rev counter (its just a chip that needs replacing but they are virtually non-existant). If the rev counter is faulty, there is normally a giveaway sign by one of the rear tail lights staying on very faintly even with the ignition off (the lights don't work on the Alfa without the ignition on).
Like I said, probably totally irrelevant but thats how it is with the Alfa.
Currently in TazzyK's garage:
Renault Clio 1.4 16v Privilege (2004), Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 106 Expression (2005), Volkswagon Passat 2.0 TDi S (2006), Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTDm QTronic Lusso (2008)