How to check the lights on your car

Man on roadIf any of your lights fail, it may be difficult to spot. How many times have you noticed someone else on the road driving towards you and they have a light out?

Unfortunately this is a common occurrence and a lot of drivers are either too lazy to check their lights regularly, or just don’t check them at all!

A lot of people think headlights on a car are for them to see the road, and if one of them is out then it doesn’t matter if they can still see. Wrong! Headlights are not just for the driver to see the road, but are also for other drivers to see you.

If you have a problem with any of your head or fog lights, then you are making it much harder for oncoming traffic to see you. If it’s raining or foggy, the chances of them seeing you could be zero.

Checking the lights on your car will only take a few minutes of your time, and might just save yours or someone else’s life!

Here’s our handy guide on what to check –

Check the sidelights

You have a total of 4 sidelights – two at the front, and two at the back. The two at the front are white, and the two at the back are red. All of these lights should be bright and of equal intensity.

Both lights should be of equal brightness.

To check for problems, look closely at the back lights and see if there is a dim glow coming from the indicators, fog lights or brake lights. If this happens it could potentially mean a poor earth which needs to be looked at immediately by your local garage.

A common problem with the front lights is that they can overheat and go a little black inside. This means the lights will start to dim over time, and will certainly need replacing if they go really dim. Your garage will advise you through the MOT, but it’s important to check in between and have them replaced.

Check the headlights – dipped and main beam

Test the headlights on both dipped and main. They should both shine with equal brightness. Again, if they don’t then it could mean a problem that needs to be looked at by your local garage.

The reflection the lights give against a wall or window should show both beams pointing slightly down and a little to the left. They should also both be level with each other.

Check your fog lights

Checking your fog lights is very simple, but don’t forget to put your headlights on otherwise they may not work. Most cars have to have the headlights on before they will come on, so it’s important to remember this before you assume they are not working.

Check your indicators

Car indicatingTurn on your ignition to check the indicators. First of all you need to check that there is a flashing indicator light on your dashboard when you have them on. On average, the flash rate should be around 40-80 flashes per minute. Don’t worry however if they seem a lot slower as they should speed up once the engine is running.

Check your hazard warning lights

Remember to turn of your indicators before you check the hazard warning lights. First of all check for the hazard warning button flashing inside the car, along with the standard ticking noise it makes. Then walk around the car to check that all four of your orange lights are flashing, and that no other light is lit or even slightly glowing.

Check your brake lights

Car braking
Ask a friend to help you check the brake lights.

To check your brake lights you can reverse the car close to your garage door, wall or window, and then apply the brakes. You should then be able to see in your rear view mirror if the red colour of the lights is reflecting back at you.

Alternatively it may be much easier to ask someone else to check them for you. Again, make sure you check that all of your brake lights are all showing equal brightness.

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