Checking And Removing Your Car Headlights

Learn how to keep your headlights working properly - and what to do if they are'nt.

If your car has problems with the headlights you are a hazard on the roads. You are also driving an illegal vehicle. It is imperative, then, that you regularly check to ensure that your headlights are working correctly. But what can you do if you find that one of your headlights is faulty?

The first thing to do is to check the fuses in the fuse box. Consult your car handbook to see which fuse covers the headlights. If it is blown, replace it with one of the same rating and try the headlights again. Hopefully, the problem is solved.

If you still have problems, then your trouble may lie with the power to the lighting switch. This will require a check of the wiring of both the head and side lights. It may be that the filament in a certain position of the headlight has blown. In this case the light may work in the dipped but not the full position or vice versa. To correct this problem you will have to remove the headlight. Here's how:



CLIP-ON VARIETY

The fittings for clip on headlights can be accessed from under the car's bonnet. Release the top fixing with a screwdriver. Now carefully prise the light away, pulling it up and away from the bottom lugs. Now pull the multi-connector plug from the terminals on the bulb.

SCREW IN VARIETY

Remove the outer trim and undo the screws affixing the retaining ring to the light. Remove the ring and pull the headlight forward. Now, disconnect the wiring and remove the light from it's housing. Remove the rubber cover and bulb clip, if it has one.

You are now ready to check the bulb. Remove the bulb from the light and look at it against the light to see if the filament has blown. If so, you will need a new bulb. If the bulb looks o.k., check the headlight connections. Clean the terminals using fine paper. Now use a test lamp to probe each of the terminals (clip the test lamp lead to a good earth point on the car's body first). Switch the headlights onto the high beam position. The lamp should now light when you touch the high beam terminal. Now repeat the test for the dipped light position. If the tester lights in both tests, it may be that the earth wire is faulty. Test this by attaching the lead of your test lamp to the live battery terminal, then probe the earth connector. If the tester doesn't light, then the earth is at fault. You can often correct this by cleaning the earth. Check your manual to see at what point the earth fits to the vehicle. Unbolt the connection and clean the tag connector and the body work with emery cloth. Now apply some Vaseline to this area.

If you decide to purchase a new bulb you will find that there are two kinds available: tungsten and quartz-halogen. Tungsten bulbs are cheaper than quartz-halogen and they last longer. The advantage of the quartz-halogen light, however, is that it emits a brighter white light and will not dim with age. If you do go for a quartz-halogen bulb, be sure not to touch the glass portion of it. The oil in your skin will attack the surface and will cause a hot spot that will cause the bulb to quickly blow out.

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