Car service guide: how to check your lights
Vehicle lights are an essential component of road safety and are something we always check as part of our MOT & servicing schedule. Properly functioning lights ensure that you can see the road ahead and be seen by other drivers, especially in low light conditions or adverse weather. Regularly checking your vehicle lights is a simple yet crucial aspect of responsible vehicle ownership. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to check if your vehicle lights work.
Why Check Your Vehicle Lights?
Checking your vehicle lights is not just a matter of avoiding fines for non-functioning lights. It is a fundamental aspect of road safety for several reasons:
- Visibility: Working lights help you see the road and any potential hazards more clearly.
- Communication: Lights signal your intentions and show your presence to other drivers.
- Legal Compliance: Faulty light bulbs may lead to a fine if not rectified.
- Prevent Accidents: Malfunctioning lights can increase the likelihood of accidents, especially at night or in adverse weather conditions.
Now, let's get into the step-by-step guide for checking your vehicle lights:
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools
Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools and items ready:
- A helper (optional but recommended)
- A flashlight
- A clean cloth or paper towel
- A checklist of the different lights to inspect (headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights)
Step 2: Park in a Safe Location
Park your vehicle in a safe and well-lit area, away from traffic. Ensure your car is on level ground and that the parking brake is engaged.
Step 3: Turn on the Ignition
Start your vehicle and let it idle. You'll need power for most lights to work, so make sure the engine is running.
Step 4: Inspect the Exterior Lights
With the help of your helper, go around the vehicle and visually inspect all exterior lights. These include:
- Headlights (high and low beam)
- Taillights (including brake lights)
- Turn signals (front and rear)
- Hazard lights
- Fog lights (if equipped)
Tip: If you are alone you can always use a smart phone to record your lights as you test them.
Step 5: Test the Lights
Have your helper stand outside the vehicle and operate the different lights one by one as you confirm their functionality.
- Headlights: Turn on the low and high beams, and make sure they are both working.
- Taillights and Brake Lights: Have your helper press the brake pedal while you check if the taillights illuminate brightly. Test the turn signals and hazard lights as well.
- Turn Signals: Test the turn signals by activating both left and right indicators. Ensure they flash at the correct rate.
- Fog Lights: If your vehicle has fog lights, turn them on to verify they are working.
Step 6: Check Interior Lights
Don't forget to check the interior lights of your vehicle, including:
- Dashboard lights
- Dome lights
- Reading lights
Tip: If you have any warning lights that you don't understand we have a blog for that here: 9 common warning lights and what they mean
Step 7: Inspect License Plate Lights
Examine the license plate lights to ensure they are working. They are often overlooked but are necessary for visibility and legal compliance.
Step 8: Check for Flickering or Dim Lights
Sometimes, lights may appear to be working but are dim or flickering, which can be a sign of a failing bulb or electrical issue. If you notice any such problems, it's best to have your vehicle checked by a professional.
Step 9: Replace Faulty Bulbs
If you find any lights that aren't working, it's crucial to replace the faulty bulbs as soon as possible as defective bulbs will cause you to fail an MOT test. Refer to your vehicle's owner's manual to locate the correct bulbs and follow the replacement instructions.
Regularly checking your vehicle lights is a simple yet vital part of ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. By following these steps, you can quickly determine if your lights are in good working condition. Remember that addressing any issues promptly will not only help you avoid legal trouble but also contribute to safer and more enjoyable driving experiences. Stay safe on the road by keeping your lights in perfect working order!