Your vehicle’s exterior lighting includes the headlights, parking lights, marker lights, fog lights (if equipped), turn signals, hazard flashers, brake lights, center high mounted stoplight (CHMSL), taillights, back-up lights, and miscellaneous lamps.
The exterior lights provide night vision and the ability to see in foggy conditions, as well as a means to signal other drivers about driving intentions and emergency situations.
The operation if your vehicle’s exterior lights should be checked at every oil change to ensure your safety. Each year, have the alignment of your vehicle’s headlights checked to make sure they’re aimed properly. If one light doesn’t work in a circuit but the others do, the problem is probably a bad bulb. If all the lights are out in a circuit (except the headlights), the problem is probably a fuse, switch or other factor affecting the entire circuit. A bad bulb or turn signal flasher usually causes turn signal problems. A turn signals that flashes on one side, but not the other, is usually caused by a bad bulb on the side that will not flash. If both sides don’t flash, and the bulbs appear to be OK, it’s likely that the turn signal flasher is faulty. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for fuse and turn signal flasher locations. Beyond that, it’s wise to consult a qualified service professional at D & R Intensive Car Care and Lube Center to diagnose other maladies in the lighting circuits.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights, also know as Xenon lights, produce a bright light resulting from an electric arc inside a capsule full of Xenon gas. Many times, HID lighting appears to give off a bluish tint when the bulbs are lit. This technology produces a significantly brighter and whiter light than that of a standard halogen light. HID lights first began appearing on luxury cars in the late 1990s and are becoming increasingly more common as standard equipment.
As a newer headlight technology, HID lights provide better visibility at night, which help to improve nighttime driving safety. HID lights also consume less electricity than their halogen counterparts, reducing load on the vehicle’s electrical system. Because of the projector-like technology of HIDS, their high-tech appearance is also a welcome addition to today’s vehicle designs.
Check headlight operation frequently and always replace defective bulbs with another of the same exact type. During replacement, be careful not to touch the bulb itself as the oil from your skin can cause the bulb to fail. Vehicles with HID lights from the factory meet lighting safety requirements for that specific make, year and model. If you plan to retrofit your vehicle’s standard halogen lights over to HID, make sure the bulbs/conversion kits result in a legal installation for street use. HID conversions are usually more involved than just a simple bulb replacement and require thorough research before making the decision to switch. Ask us at D & R Intensive Car Care and Lube Center for more information about converting your vehicle today!
Interior lighting includes the instrument panel lights, dome light, map lights, door courtesy lamps, rear cargo lamp, and any other miscellaneous lights that may be used to illuminate features or areas of the interior.
The interior lights provide illumination of instruments for nighttime driving and light as needed inside the interior.
Take the time to review your vehicle owner’s manual so you have a clear understanding of what the instruments and warning lights represent. Many warning lights come on when the ignition switch is turned to the on position as a bulb check. Generally, a light that stays on or comes on while driving means a problem in that system. Problems with instruments usually fall into two categories: instruments that don’t work and instruments that display inaccurate readings. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the location of the instrument fuses to see if a fuse is the cause. If the fuses are OK, have your vehicle’s instruments checked by a qualified service technician at D & R Intensive Car Care and Lube Center.
Sockets serve as receptacles for the light bulbs and usually have a plastic or metal body. The vehicle’s wiring harness connects to terminals of the socket to provide connection to the light bulb. Sockets may hold single- or double-filament bulbs. Sockets with a plastic body usually have a separate ground wire to complete the lighting circuit. Sockets with a metal body often use the body of the socket itself as the ground connection.
Sockets provide secure connections from the wiring harness to the light bulbs. The sockets used on today’s cars also have special seals to prevent water from entering the socket and causing corrosion.
Most light bulbs in your vehicle’s lighting system are easily replaceable. The bulbs have specific numbers that are listed in the owner’s manual, so look there for the number. To access a socket, you may have to remove a couple of screws to remove a light housing. Then, just twist the socket counterclockwise about one- quarter turn to remove it (some sockets have arrow markings showing which way to turn). Metal sockets usually unsnap from their housings. Check your owner’s manual to be sure. If you’re changing a halogen or high-intensity discharge headlight bulb, do not touch the bulb with your bare hands. Oil from your skin can cause the bulb to fail prematurely. A turn signal that flashes in one direction, but not in the other direction, usually means there’s a bad bulb on the side that does not flash. If you have a lighting problem and the bulbs and fuses seem OK, have the system diagnosed by a qualified service professional at D & R Intensive Car Care and Lube Center.