WEDNESDAY, APR. 18: Making sure that all of your vehicle’s lights are in working order is critical to not only the operation of your vehicle, but also to your safety.
While they might not be as vital as your brakes or steering system, lights are the first line of defense and offence.
If one light such as a taillight or headlamp burns out, it’s not going to mean you’ll lose control of your car, but it’s still important to see where you’re going and for others to see you.
Types of lights
The main function of the headlamp is to illuminate the road in front of you as well as ensure that others — vehicles, pedestrians and even animals — see you, too. A vehicle’s tail lights consist of running lights, brake lights, reverse lights and turn signals.
The running lights turn bright red when the brakes are applied.
First, you should periodically inspect your vehicle’s lighting. You can easily check your headlamps yourself but you’ll need someone to stand behind the vehicle while you operate the running lights, brake lights, reverse lights and turn signals. If you don’t have a helping hand, you could also check the functioning of these items by backing the vehicle up near a window and looking at the reflection through the back window.
Types of light bulbs
Standard halogen bulbs –These are used in most new cars today. These dim by as much as 30 per cent over their lifetime, so you might consider replacing these with high-powered halogen bulbs.
High-powered halogen bulbs – These bulbs give a lot more light – 20 to 30 per cent more — than standard halogen bulbs. If it looks like an approaching car has its high beams on, and the driver doesn’t dim the lights when you flash yours, they’re probably high-powered halogen bulbs.
With any halogen bulb, be careful not to touch the actual glass of the bulb, and consider replacing both bulbs at the same time. If one goes out, the other isn’t far behind.
Turn signal, brake light and reverse
bulbs – These are regular bulbs that are less expensive than halogen bulbs; you can touch the glass part of these bulbs without causing harm.
Before starting the job, make sure you have the right tools on hand. The vehicle’s owner manual is one of the most important tools for replacing vehicle lighting. Any good manual contains information on the type of bulb and how to replace it. If you don’t have a manual, you can order a replacement from a dealership. Most of the tools you’ll need should be in your household toolbox:
Torque wrench – This is a type of socket wrench that is used to apply a specific force to get the right tightness on a fastener such as a nut or bolt.
Phillips screwdriver – This screwdriver, with a similar version called a Frearson, has a cross-head configuration, often with a tapered and rounded tip.
Flat-head screwdriver – This screwdriver can also be called slotted and has a flat edge, often with a sharp tip.
If you’re not the do-it-yourself type of person, take your vehicle to your local automotive service department for assistance.
Krishna King has more than 20 year’s experience in the automotive industry, and chairs the Automotive Occupational Advisory Committee for the National Training Board. www.bermudamotors.bm.