How to Tell When Your Vehicle Lights are Failing

February 13th, 2024 by

A vehicle’s lights are some of its most important components, as they ensure safety while on the road by providing visibility at night and in extreme weather. Headlights, taillights, and brake lights keep you safe by signaling your presence to other drivers. When your car’s lights fail, you’ll experience reduced visibility and might encounter legal issues, especially if you get pulled over while one of your exterior lights is out.

At Meadowland of Carmel in New York, we know how crucial it is for your vehicle to have working interior and exterior lights. That’s why we operate a comprehensive service department where our expert technicians will repair or replace any lights on your vehicle that aren’t working properly. Visit us the next time your lights fail to experience our outstanding service. Before you visit, let’s look at how to tell when your vehicle lights are failing and what you can do about it.

Vehicle headlights

Understanding Different Vehicle Lights

Here’s a list of the most common types of vehicle lights and their purposes:

  • Headlights: Headlights are at the front of the vehicle and provide visibility in the dark and during rainy or snowy weather.
  • Brake lights: These sit at the back of the car and signal to vehicles behind you that you’re applying the brakes and slowing down.
  • Indicators: Turn signals are an example of indicators which flash to inform other drivers that you’re about to turn. There are also emergency light indicators that flash when you stop the car for emergency reasons.
  • Interior lights: The overhead lights in the interior illuminate the cabin so you can see inside your vehicle.
  • Daytime running lights: These are specialized headlights for use during the day without directing too much glare at other drivers.

Signs of Failing Lights

There are many signs to look out for that can inform you of light failure or damage. For example, when your lights dim, flicker, or emit unfamiliar patterns or colors, they usually have a dying bulb that needs replacing. Similarly, if your lights don’t turn on or off when they should, an issue likely needs repairing. Many vehicles have indicator lights on the dashboard that will turn on when there’s a problem with the exterior lights.

Common Causes of Light Failure

The most common causes of light failure in cars include burnt-out light bulbs and damage from collisions or weather. For example, condensation on headlights during warm months interferes with the bulbs and wiring. Additionally, an exterior light damaged in an accident will likely not function correctly until it’s professionally repaired.

Electrical issues are another key cause of light problems in cars. These can include wiring malfunctions, such as frayed or disconnected wires. They can also include battery issues like a dead battery or shorted circuit. Whether the voltage is too high or too low, electrical malfunctions can harm a car’s lights.

Checking and Maintaining Vehicle Lights

To ensure your lights are always working, regularly test them by turning on each light, especially ones you haven’t used in a long time. You can also perform DIY maintenance to keep your lights looking good and working as they should. For example, you can clean your lights with a vinegar solution and turn your car off completely after every drive to allow the battery to recharge.

If you suspect your vehicle’s light malfunctions are due to an electrical issue or if your vehicle uses complex lighting assemblies that are difficult to remove, it’s time to seek professional help. In these cases, it’s best to schedule a service appointment so a professional technician can safely repair the electrical components and remove all assemblies correctly.

Replacing Vehicle Lights

When your car’s lights need replacing, there are a few things to consider before you get started. First, ensure you choose the right bulbs for your vehicle, as bulbs that aren’t compatible with your car likely won’t connect or function properly. Taking safety precautions when changing lights, such as wearing gloves and safety glasses and ensuring you turn the car off to prevent electrocution is also crucial.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for replacing your headlights:

  1. Turn off your car.
  2. Open the hood to find the headlight wires.
  3. Disconnect the headlight wires.
  4. Take out the old headlight bulb.
  5. Install the new headlight bulb.
  6. Reconnect the wires and test the headlights.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for replacing your brake lights or taillights:

  1. Turn off your car.
  2. Open the trunk to find the taillight assembly.
  3. Remove the taillight assembly.
  4. Take the bulb out of the taillight assembly.
  5. Install the new taillight bulb.
  6. Reinstall the taillight assembly.

Legal Implications and Safety Concerns

There are several legal regulations surrounding vehicle lights. These laws ensure all cars on the road have headlights that offer adequate visibility so drivers can see their surroundings and other vehicles.

Another aspect of vehicle light regulation is glare. The government has regulations in place to reduce the glare your headlights direct toward other drivers. For instance, there’s a law requiring headlight systems to have both upper and lower beams.

The main reason for this law is that functional and non-distracting vehicle lights promote safety for everyone on the road. Drivers are less likely to get into accidents when they can see everything around them clearly, including other cars highlighted by their lights. One case study from 2023 supported earlier findings that daytime running lights improve safety by reducing the frequency of multi-vehicle collisions during the day. This showcases how different types of vehicle lights help protect everyone while driving.

Service Your Lights at Meadowland of Carmel

Being able to recognize the signs of failing vehicle lights is crucial. It’s important to get regular maintenance and replace your lights promptly when they stop working. This will help you stay safe on the road and ensure you comply with traffic laws. Contact us if you notice one of your vehicle lights is failing, and our expert service department will repair or replace them. Don’t forget to ask about our service specials that will save you money when you book an appointment to service your lights with us.

Photo Credit: turned-on vehicle headlight on the street by Marcus Bellamy is licensed with Unsplash License

Posted in Service