Do you check your vehicle's lights?

This Pit thread prompts the question.

I’ve been pulled over twice for burned-out tail lights (different cars, left one both times). The statie informed me of the failure and sent me on my way, and the lamps were replaced the following day. No ticket, not warning, just a courteous notification.

Since I find myself in heavy traffic on my commutes, I’m frequently looking in my rearview mirror to check that my tail lights and brake lights are illuminated. Since most people up here drive with headlights on until well after they’re not required to, I do as well. I look at the vehicle in front of me to make sure I have two headlights illuminated. (At night it’s easy to see that they are.) I don’t do a ‘pre-flight check’, walking around my car to make sure everything that should be lit is lit before I get in to drive away; but I do try to pay attention when I drive.

So do you check your vehicle’s lights? How often?

Yes. I do it about once a month on my cars plus my kids’ cars when they come over. I even have a broomstick to depress the brake pedal while I check the brake lights.

I know a cop whose biggest drug bust happened because he pulled over a car with the license plate lights out! Now I check even them.

I’ve notice that quicky-lube places now check the lights. Of course they want to make some money changing them for you.

I’m pretty random about it. I’ve been surprised to find a bulb is out when I get a car inspected.

If the car behind you at a stop light is the right distance, slip your transmission into park (or set the emergency brake if a stick) and tap you brake peddle and look for the reflection in the chrome of the car behind you. Same thing with turn signals if you haven’t checked them in the driveway lately.

Phu Cat

IME, turn signals flash at twice their rate when one is burned out. But IME, many vehicles do not have indicators on the dash to tell the driver the turn signals are on. (All of mine to.)

Once a week.

Also, if I see a car stopped at a light with a light out, I honk my horn, roll down my window, make the the roll window down sign, and try to tell the driver:

“Hi…! Your light (fill in blank on which one) is out. You might want to check it. I’ve heard they’ve started ticketing people again and I don’t want you to get a ticket. OK…?”

I figure its the nicest way to approach it. Also, I drive a lot before the sun comes up and on-coming traffic with a light out can look like a motorcycle. I don’t want to hit someone I can’t see and I don’t want them to hit me either.

I park in our garage, so I see my headlights shining on the wall ahead. Backing out, I can sorta tell that the brake lights are both working by the reflection off the driveway, and the taillights by the illumination of the drive. I don’t want to give anyone any excuse to hit me in the dark.

[quote=“Johnny_L.A, post:5, topic:747438”]

IME, turn signals flash at twice their rate when one is burned out.QUOTE]

This. Shortly after I bought my car I had a signal go out. It took me a minute to figure out why the “tick tick tick” was much faster. It’s a nice feature.

Bikes I do a full walk-around every time I’m entering or leaving the garage to check the lights and a serious check (oil, tires, etc) weekly. I keep spare bulbs on hand.

Car I check the lights almost every day. But I will admit to sometimes driving with one burnt out for a day or two until I hit the parts store.

Some shopping centers have stores with large windows and “drive up facing the windows” parking. With these windows you can see the reflection of your lights in the window - easily check everything. Bright, dim, left, right, flashers, fog. Then back in and you can see reverse lights, brake lights, etc.

I’ve been driving since 1973, and every vehicle I’ve ever driven had a turn light indicator. Can you give some examples of vehicles that don’t?

Oh, lots of them! I see people all the time driving along with their signals flashing. Obviously they don’t have an indicator to tell them they’re on. Which reminds me… Mercedes Benzes are expensive cars. You’d think they would come standard with turn indicators! Or else, their buyers would be well-off enough to order them as options.

Ah, got it.

Nope, I pretty much just fix them when a cop tells me they’re out.

Me too.

I have been known to yell “turn signals” at cars as I pass them or sometimes get in front and flick mine back and forth a couple times as a hint. But there are some people who just don’t get it.

I doubt this. The dashboard turn indicators (I’ve always heard them called “pilot lights”) also click as they blink – but some are very quiet. I think drivers who leave their blinkers blinking are drivers who just aren’t paying attention. Until this thread, I’ve never seen nor heard of cars that lack “pilot lights” on the dashboard.

What about this thing about the lights blinking twice as fast when a bulb is out? I’ve always known that, but I wonder: Is this a deliberate design feature, or is it just some artifact of the way blinker circuits work? If deliberate, then why don’t ALL the other lamps in a car have some kind of warning also when they are out?

Psst… Sarcasm. :wink:

I trailer stuff a lot, so I check them (on average) about once a week.

I meet my gf a couple of evenings each week for drinks/dinner/fun. On the way home if I’m following her I notice any lighting irregularities, and vice-versa.

I’ll let an actual professional make definitive statements, but it would not surprise me to learn that the fast flash feature was designed into the circuitry. As a WAG, other lamps don’t have a warning function because there’s no easy way to build one in.