NMA E-Newsletter #145: The Light Check

One thing almost all of us never do is systematically check all the lights on the exterior of our car. I know, not a fun or sexy thing to do, but it can save you from unimagined grief.

Along with the safety consequences of burned out lights are those instances where a defective bulb puts you in the unattractive back seat of a squad car.

More than one bad encounter with law enforcement officers started out with a signal light, head light, or license plate light that had ceased to function.

It takes but a few moments to survey your vehicle light situation. Start the engine and turn your lights on. Make sure both high beam and low beam functions are working in both headlights. (Note: Very helpful to have someone work the signals while you inspect.)

Check both brake lights and tail lights and the directional lights front and rear. If your car has Daytime Running Lights check them, they are prone to burn out more frequently than the other lights. Don’t forget auxillary lamps and the often obscure little bulbs that brighten your license plate.

If you pull a utility trailer, camper trailer, or boat trailer check the trailer lights every time you hit the road and check them again when you stop for gas. Trailer lights are notorious for intermittent functioning – often caused by a bad ground connection. Also, backing a boat trailer into the lake with the lights still connected will often destroy the bulbs.

Finally, purchase a small collection of the bulbs, and fuses, that are appropriate for your vehicle, and keep them in the vehicle, someplace where you have a fighting chance of finding them, if you need them.

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