There are few reasons why a light goes out on your car. Most of these reasons you can troubleshoot yourself. With a little understanding about how a car's lighting system works, you'll be able to fix most light problems and get back on the road.
Bulbs, Fuses and Wiring
All of the lights in your car have a fuse connected in the wiring between the bulb and the car battery. The fuse is to protect the car from damage should there be a power surge or a short in the wiring. Most auto lighting problems are due to a burned out bulb or fuse, both of which you can easily change. If the issue is not the bulb or fuse, then it's likely in the wiring, which is something an auto repair shop will have to address.
To begin troubleshooting a lighting problem, some simple rules will help you diagnose the bulk of the issues:
- If both lights in a pair of lights, such as the headlights or taillights, stop working at the same time, the problem is likely a fuse.
- If one light of a pair or lights is out, then it's likely the bulb.
- Problems with a single light assembly, such as the dome light or license plate light, could be the bulb or fuse. Try replacing the fuse first as that is the easiest fix.
- Find the car's owner's manual and locate the section that describes the fuses.
- Locate the fuse box on the car. First try the left side of the dashboard on the driver's side, and then the glove box.
- Pull the fuse box cover off.
- Locate the fuse associated with the light that isn't working based on the number indicated in the owner's manual.
- Pull that fuse straight out of the fuse box.
- Insert a new spare fuse in the appropriate location. Spares are often found in the fuse box.
- Replace the spare fuse from an auto parts store as soon as you can for future emergencies.
Replacing Light Bulbs
To replace a light bulb in one of the light pairs:
- Locate the light assembly containing the burned out light bulb at the front of the engine compartment or on the back of the car from inside of the trunk, depending on which bulb needs changed.
- Remove the bulb with its connector from the assembly by pushing the connector in slightly while turning it counterclockwise.
- Pull the connector and bulb out of the light assembly.
- If the base of the bulb is flat, pull the bulb straight out of the connector.
- If the base of the bulb is round, push the bulb in slightly while turning it counterclockwise.
- Replace the bulb with a new one from the auto parts store by pushing a flat base bulb straight into the connector or pushing a round bulb in while turning it clockwise until it clicks into place.
- Insert the bulb and connector into the lighting assembly and turn clockwise until you feel it click into place.
Problems You May Encounter
- If the connector or bulb won't come out because of corrosion, you'll have to take the car to an auto shop to have the connector and bulb replaced.
- If you've changed both the bulb and fuse and the light still doesn't work, there could be a problem with the car's wring harness. You'll need to visit an auto repair shop to diagnose and fix this problem.
For more information and assistance, visit an auto repair shop, such as Fredericktown Marathon.