Checking Headlamps And Lights

Checking Headlamps and Lights: Things You Must Know For Safe Driving!

Checking headlamps and lights is essential since they keep you as well as others on the road safe. Furthermore, it will ensure your lights are in perfect working conditions to take them on the road.

It includes sidelights, headlamps, taillights, stoplights, fog lights, and direction indicators. You need to check your car’s headlights frequently, especially before a night drive. 

Also, it is legally mandated to have obligatory lights working. So, how can you tell if the lights are working alright? The headlight alignment is on point?

It would be best if you had someone work the switches while you walk around the car. This way, you can check thoroughly which light is working properly and which is not.

Checking Headlamps and Lights 

Checking headlamps and lights should not be so difficult if you follow the methods correctly. You can reach the headlamp bulb from inside the bonnet in most cars. On the other hand, there are some cars where you will have to remove the lamp grille or lamp bezel on the vehicle’s front.

If the lamp unit has a fitted bulb, it can be easier to check. All you have to do is remove the bulb and hold it up to the light. Then, you can check for any broken filaments.

If there is a failure in a single headlamp, it can be because of a dipped beam or issues with the main beam. Moreover, if the bulb is a halogen-type bulb, you should not touch it with your hands. Instead, you can use a clean and soft cloth to keep your fingermarks off the surface.

You can avoid pre-mature failure of the bulbs if you handle them carefully. Next, add few drops of methylated spirit on the cloth and clean it thoroughly.

Next up, in a sealed beam unit, it is impossible to see any filament damage. Therefore, people use a different method to check the lamps.

You will have to start by checking all the connections and wires. It includes the spring-loaded contacts that hold the bayonet type of bulb.

If there is a failure in an insulating washer, it can cause a short circuit. On the other hand, if all the lights dim, it can result in blowing a fuse.

How to Test a Sealed-Beam Unit?

You have to connect a crocodile clip end of a circuit tester to the live terminal of your car battery. Then, it has to touch the probe to the other terminal on the sealed beam unit. Also, a sealed beam unit has three terminals and comes with filaments for both dipped and main beams.

However, if the sealed beam unit has two terminals, one works with the main beam, and the other goes to the earth.

Check if all the live terminals work. If they do not, the lamp is not working fine. Further, if all the terminals work, you can check the wiring and connector block.

How to Check and Test Small Bulbs in a Car?

If any small bulbs do not work, you will have to check what’s wrong with them. If they are perfectly alright, you will have to check the fuse.

You can use a voltmeter or circuit tester to test a bulb fitting. If there is something wrong with the bulb, you can see when you shine some light upon it. When you do, you will see any breaks in the filament or black charrs on the glass.

Further, remember to get the correct replacement bulbs. If you do not know which bulb to choose, you can check the car’s manual. Moreover, if you purchase the wrong bulb, it will fit properly in the holder or not work properly.

Additionally, there are legal guidelines on the bulb’s power for your car. For example, you can fix an SBC bulb with double filaments in the brake lights. They have perfect offset pins suitable for the SBC type bulb, and if you fix any other bulb, it will not function properly.

For best results, you will have to remove and test the bulb separately. Firstly, you need to connect the test lad to earth on the car body. Work with the switches of the bulb in question.

If the light works, the problem is not with the bulb. On the other hand, if it does not work, you can discard and replace the bulb. Sometimes, the filament can seem perfectly fine, yet it can have defects.

Also, here are some of the types of car bulbs you should know about:

  • Festoon bulb
  • Capless bulb
  • SCC bulb
  • MCC bulb
  • SBC bulb
  • LES/MES bulb

How to Check Headlight Alignment?

It is vital to fix the headlight’s alignment along with checking headlamps and lights. If headlights are not aligned properly, they can be potentially dangerous to other drivers and yourself. Therefore, you have to make sure you are checking your car’s headlight alignment.

You need to prepare your car perfectly before measuring the center point. The center point will allow you to fix the headlight’s alignment.

Step 1: Park on level ground about fifty centimeters away from a garage door. You can use a spirit level to check the ground level.

Step 2: Level the car and ensure all the tires have the recommended PSI level. Sit in the driver’s seat after cleaning the windscreen thoroughly.

Step 3: Measure the distance from the headlights to the ground to obtain a perfect suspension level.

Step 4: Check the inclination level on the headlight. Adjust the headlights correctly using alignment screws. Once you are happy with the level, you can test it and adjust it to perfection.

Final Verdict

In addition to breaking the law, a malfunctioning headlight can be seriously dangerous. Therefore, we advise you to carry some essential tools and a selection of spare bulbs in your car. This way, you can fix any problems with your car lights on the go.

Regularly checking headlamps and lights is essential since it can avoid numerous problems. Additionally, you can take a long and safe ride in the day or night with perfectly functional car lights.


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