Car Headlights & Bulbs - Everything You Need To Know

By: Motor Easy
motoreasy guide to car headlights and car bulbs

Check your car lights once a week - enrol a friend's help to save time & hassle

If a friend, or your other half refuses to stand outside in the cold, then you can use your garage doors if they are painted and slightly reflective. A lower floor window will also help but you will have to move the car to check the front and rear lights.

Ensure you have someone when checking your lights Check your lights regularly to stay safe

When working with someone else make sure that you can always see them and can communicate with them easily through an open door or window. Agree a system of identifying what is and isn’t working. Stay safe at all times and do not allow the car to run for too long, especially in a restricted space. 

Front Lights 

  • Assuming you can see the front of your car and it was built from 2011 onwards, it will have DRLs (daytime running lights) which are on automatically. 
  • The indicators are easy to do left then right and your vehicle will also have side repeaters on the car wing or sometimes the door mirrors.
  • Check sidelights - the lights duller than dipped beams.
  • Headlights first on dipped beam and then flash the main beam.
  • Don’t forget the foglights (usually below or central to the other lights) and remember that the headlights have to be on for these to work.


Car headlights and bulbs are needed to be seen in dark, foggy conditions Your lights ensure you can see and be seen

Rear Lights

Moving to the rear, some vehicles have DRLs as well, although not all, check with the manufacturer if in doubt.

  • The indicators are always the easiest ones to check.
  • Then put on the headlights to activate the rear driving lights.
  • Then switch on the fog lamps.
  • Press the brake to test the brake lights.
  • Engage reverse gear to check the reversing lights.
  • Finally ask your assistant or remember to look at the number plate light.

 Light checks are vital before MOT tests and long journeys. If you're looking for more guides & tips, read on! 

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