Car Maintenance 101 | Testing Your Auto Lights and Your Vehicle’s Horn

The Parts Bin | Automechanic

If you’ve been driving for a long time, then there’s no doubting that you know the importance of your vehicle horn and your auto lights. Your vehicle is almost always equipped with a number of different lights, all of which are designed to help optimize your driving visibility beyond what your eyes can normally see. When driving at night or through harsh weather conditions where road visibility is at its lowest, you need to turn on your various auto lights to see the road ahead clearly and to warn other drivers and pedestrians that your vehicle is approaching.

Aside from maximizing visibility, auto lights, like your horn, is there to help you communicate with other drivers and pedestrians. For example, you use your turn signal light as a way to warn other drivers that you’re planning on turning or switching lanes, while your backup light is there to indicate when you’re planning on reversing. Your vehicle’s horn on the other hand, is used every time you need to get the attention of another driver or a passing pedestrian. Bigger vehicles like trucks have larger blind spots, and once you find yourself in a scary situation where the truck is reversing and your car is stuck behind it, then it’s time to hit the horn and get the driver’s attention.

Driving with one or more defective lights is not merely an inconvenience—it automatically turns your vehicle into a safety hazard and it could warrant a ticket from a police officer or a traffic enforcer—particularly if you’re driving with a broken headlight or turn signal light. Consequently, if you fail to use your headlights at night, you can still get a ticket, so I highly advise that you make sure all your lights are working well to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

This test is best conducted if you have an assistant who could tell you which lights remain bright and which ones are broken or in need of replacing. To make this test easier, I highly suggest you begin by testing your headlights and going through each one of your other auto lights, including your brake lights, parking lights, hazard lights and turn signal lights. Don’t forget to check your license plate light as well. Most traffic enforcers are keen when it comes to vehicles with broken license plate lights. Meaning: drive with this light broken, and you will be stopped. When you’re done checking the lights outside your ride, check your interior lights and put particular concern on your dome and dashboard lights.

Note down the condition of each of these lights. If any of your lights refuse to work, then consult your owner’s manual to help find the right replacement auto light or bulb that you need. Most owner manuals actually feature easy-to-follow steps on how to replace auto lights.

The Parts Bin | Automechanic

There are times when it’s not the actual light or light bulb that needs replacing. Sometimes you need to replace the fuse rather than the bulb. Most of today’s vehicles contain a small fuse box found under the hood or near the end of the steering column, where you can easily remove any of the small cylinder-style fuses and change them.

Remember to check your vehicle’s horn to see if it’s working. If the horn is not working for any reason, it’s highly advisable that you take your vehicle to a professional mechanic to find out what needs to be repaired or replaced.

Never underestimate the importance of checking each and every single component in your vehicle once in a while. The earlier you detect possible problems, the smaller the sum you have to pay for repairs and replacements. Don’t wait until your vehicle becomes an “accident-waiting-to-happen”, act today.


One Response to Car Maintenance 101 | Testing Your Auto Lights and Your Vehicle’s Horn

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