What is a general lighting inspection?

When you bring your car in to get the lights checked, you can expect the serviceperson to check your:
  • Fuse, which may be blown
  • Bulbs, which may be burnt out
  • Bulb sockets, which may be dirty
  • Switch, which may be faulty
  • Relay, which may be faulty
  • Harnesses, which may become unplugged or defective
Like lights in a house, your vehicle’s lights operate on a circuit that can malfunction in various places. If one element isn’t working, the entire circuit will fail, and you won’t be able to see the road ahead of you properly.

How do I know if I need my headlights, beams, and brake lights inspected?

You can probably assume that your lights get a general look-over when you take your car in for regular maintenance. Still, there may be situations where you need to take your car in for a more thorough examination.
You should take your car in for a specific lighting inspection if:
  • Your headlights don’t light up (and it’s not because a bulb has died)
  • Your brights don’t light up when you pull the right lever
  • Your lighting is inconsistent between bulbs or very dim
  • Your brake lights are stuck on or don’t light up at all

How important is a lights inspection?

A lighting inspection is quite important for several reasons.
First is safety. You’ll need to rely on your lights (brights especially) in low-visibility situations, like nighttime or winter driving—and other drivers need your lights to work in order to see you.
Your brake lights are arguably the most important lights to keep operational. A dim front bulb may be nothing to sweat for a while, but defective brake lights can lead to rear-end collisions when other drivers can’t tell you’re braking.
Because of this hazard, most states and localities impose tickets and fines upon drivers with malfunctioning brake lights. You’ll also want to get your lights inspected to avoid trouble with the law.

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