How to Inspect Your Vehicle’s Lighting
Lights play an important role in the safe operation of your car, helping you see obstacles to avoid and alerting other vehicles of your intentions to turn, slow down, reverse or stop. Auto maintenance and repair specialist The Humble Mechanic shows you how to perform a simple inspection that may allow you to identify needed repairs to your vehicle’s lighting.
Hey everybody, it’s Charles from HumbleMechanic.com and today I’m going to give you some tips on inspecting the lighting of your vehicle.
Modern cars have a pretty sophisticated system on the vehicle when it comes to lighting. Many new cars will even monitor when you have a bulb out. But, these systems may not monitor all of the bulbs in your car and this is actually a really great way to make sure you’re staying in touch on your vehicle.
And if you have an older car, well it may not have this monitoring system, so you’re going to want to do these inspections yourself and make sure that all of your lighting is working properly.
You may also be breaking one of the rules of the road, and let’s face it, nobody wants to get pulled over for not having a turn signal working.
I like to start my lighting inspection by sitting in the driver’s seat. I turn the ignition on and the first thing I look for is the bulb out indicator. Next, I’ll turn the left turn signal on and then the right turn signal on. And what I’m looking for here, is to see if the indicator is flashing as fast. If the indicator is flashing fast, that means I might have a turn signal out. But if they both flash at normal speed, they should be good. We’re going to also do a visual inspection on them just to be one hundred percent sure.
I also like to turn the high beams on and make sure that the high beam indicator or dimmer switch is working properly. And I also turn the hazard or four-way switch on, to make sure it works as well. Once I see everything inside of the car is working properly it’s time for the exterior light inspection.
Typically, I don’t like to turn all of the lights on including the turn signals at one time. Some vehicles use the same bulb from multiple functions and it can make it easier to miss a bulb that may be partially functioning. Let’s start with the front of the vehicle and look at the headlight. We want to make sure that all the lights inside the headlight are working properly. This could include a daytime running light bulb, a low-beam bulb, a high-beam bulb and the turn signal may or may not be inside the headlight, but the car will have one in the front.
And if the vehicle is equipped with a fog light, we want to check that too. If you’re not positive that all the lights inside a headlight are working properly, compare it to the other side headlight and makes sure that they’re working the same.
Next, let’s move around to the sides of the vehicle. Vehicles will often have an indicator or marker light on the sides. These lights are usually small and can be in the front or rear on both sides of the vehicle. And oftentimes, there will be turn signal lights on the sides as well. Some vehicles have these in the mirror; others have them in the fender; and some have them on the sides of the headlight.
After inspecting all the side lighting of the vehicle, it’s time to move to the back and check the taillights. Some tail light assemblies can have multiple bulbs and multiple housings as well, so we want to be really thorough and make sure each bulb is working properly. We also want to make sure that the turn signals in the back are working correctly as well. If your light is equipped with LEDs, we want to inspect each individual LED and make sure that they’re all working. Unfortunately, if one LED is out, oftentimes this requires entire housing replacement. And remember, there’s more lighting in the back of the vehicle: we have tag lights – some cars have one, others have multiple lights; we have reverse lights that may or may not be in the taillight housing; and we also have brake lights. Some vehicles have two and others will have a third high-mount brake light.
Checking your brake lights or reverse lights can be a little challenging to do by yourself. The easiest way to have them properly checked is to have someone stand and check them for you while you operate the brake or put the car in reverse. Or, use something like your cell phone and record a quick video to make sure that they all work properly.
And as always, keep safety in mind while you’re checking these lights. If at the beginning of our test, the turn signals were flashing properly, turn each side on and just do a quick walk around to make sure that they’re functioning one hundred percent correct.
When it comes to aim of our headlights, it may not be as simple as turning a screw to make an adjustment. Many modern cars have headlight range control or have ride height sensors that can actually automatically adjust the headlight. So, before attempting to adjust your headlight, consult your owner’s manual and be sure special equipment isn’t required to make a proper headlight aim adjustment.
Remember, the issue could be the bulb, it could be a wiring issue, it could be a fuse or on the newest generation vehicles, it can even be a module problem. This module is one of the computers inside your car that controls lighting. It may also control other things in your vehicle and it’s typically what turns on the light out indicator warning. We also want to inspect the housing for any cracks, any leaks and make sure they’re not filling up with water. We also want to make sure that our lighting is clean and free of things like snow, dirt and mud before driving our car.
Alright guys, I’m going to wrap it up there. I hope this helps you do a lighting inspection on your own vehicle. If you have questions, be sure to post it down in the comments section. If you want to see more of my videos, head over to HumbleMechanic.com and you can check them out there.
Alright thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you next time.