Automotive lighting system problems on today’s cars can be as simple as replacing a light bulb or as difficult as locating a poor connection or loose wire. From the trunk to under the hood, many newer vehicles have lights in a variety of places that are part of a complex system.
In our day to day experiences, we’re used to a simple solution when a bulb fails to light. We assume the bulb is burned out and simply replace it with a new bulb. That usually solves the problem, and there’s no need to call an electrician to do the job for us.
In vehicles, however, the complex nature of lighting systems can mean solutions to problems are more often challenging than they are easy. It takes a skilled technician to discover whether the problem is due to a bad bulb, a blown fuse, or worse yet, a loose connection somewhere in the vast network of wires that transports the electrical energy to the bulb.
Another reason that lighting system problems on cars can be anything but easy relates to the complexity of how today’s newer car body styles are put together. This can make just getting to some bulbs a challenging task.
On some vehicles, reaching the headlamp bulb involves removing part of the bumper or grill. It might also require removing panels at the rear of your car to access a brake or taillight bulb. These factors turn a simple bulb replacement into an expensive repair as more technician time must be paid for removal and replacement of car body parts or panels before it can be determined if the bulb is bad.
Many newer vehicles now have computerized systems that monitor bulb operation. If a part of this system acts up, it can send an alert that lighting system problems are present when the real problem is with the monitoring system itself.
Here’s another element that adds complexity to lighting issues. Some manufacturer standards require a very specific type of replacement bulb be used. While a more generic replacement bulb may operate fine, it may fail to meet the specific manufacturer standard. As a result, the system may interpret the substandard bulb as a problem and send an alert to the dash when no lighting problem is noticed.
Lighting system problems can also be non-electronic in nature. Headlight lenses are often damaged by exposure to harsh chemicals or cleaners used in many automatic car washes. If your vehicle’s driving lights are on or still hot from use during a carwash, the plastic in the lens can react to the chemicals in the soap solution and the result is fogginess or discoloration.
Though this is technically a cosmetic problem, safe nighttime driving can become an issue as fogging may reduce the amount of light allowed to pass through the lens. There are kits available to polish these lenses, but some kits work better than others. When lenses are in bad shape a better option may be to have a detail shop polish or buff them to restore clarity.
If you are having electrical or electronic lighting system problems, Dale’s provides electrical diagnosis and repair for all makes and models. With over 49 years of experience, our ASE Certified technicians have the skill and tools to meet your automotive repair and maintenance needs.
Call, stop by, or request an appointment online and let us keep your vehicle operating safely for your daytime or nighttime driving needs.