Let There Be Light: Checking Your Car’s Lights

  • Barrowford MOT Centre

As the sun sets earlier and rises later, and with the clocks soon to jumping back, check out Barrowford MOT’s quick guide to making sure that all the lights on your car are working this autumn!

As you are probably already aware, the lights on your car are used for a few different things – making you visible to other road users, letting people see what you’re doing, and (of course) letting you see where you’re going! It’s really important that all of your lights are working, so here’s a quick guide for checking them all out.

Why check your car’s lights?

Doing this routinely means you’ll be able to drive safe in the knowledge that other people can see you and your signals. Remember, if your lights aren’t working, you’ll fail your MOT! You can also be given an on-the-spot fine if you’re spotted with a broken light, so make sure you’re legal!

Get together

Have someone stand outside and check the lights are working while you turn them on and off. If you can’t find a willing assistant (it is getting cold out, after all), then don’t worry, park near something like a garage door or window and use the reflection of the light to see if they’re working. If you’re unsure as to where each one of the below is on your car (it happens) check out your car’s manual or better still, have Barrowford MOT help you out.

Front lights:

  • Sidelights – turn your lights to the first position and check that the sidelights are working.
  • Dipped beam – now the next position. Everything OK?
  • Main beam – give your assistant a flash to make sure they’re still paying attention.
  • Fog lights – pleas remember to test these too
  • Indicators – remember to check both sides.
  • DRLs (daytime running lights) – newer cars (since 2011) will have daytime running lights, which should be on all the time unless your headlights are on. Make sure that these are working.

Rear lights:

  • Driving lights – these are the ones that come on when your sidelights or headlights are on.
  • Brake lights – much easier with an assistant! Press the brake pedal and see if they come on.
  • Fog lights – just like before, check that these work in case you need them.
  • Indicators – left and right again, so that people can see where you’re going to turn.
  • Reversing light – another one that’s easier with an assistant. Shift into reverse and check the light comes on.
  • DRLs – some cars have daytime running lights on the rear as well as the front. Check if your car does and whether they work.
  • Number plate light – if your car has one, your number plate should also be illuminated while you’re driving in the dark.

Other things to check:

  • Side repeaters – You can find these little lights on the side of your car, normally under the wing mirror. Sometimes, they’ll be built into the wing mirror as well.
  • The horn – while you’re doing the lights, test your horn, too! It can be important for letting other road users know you’re there. Just make sure you warn your assistant, or they might get a shock!

Checking your lights is a really simple job that is easy to forget. Running through our quick checklist once in a while can mean that you’re safe (and legal) out on the roads.


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