Ticket for a burned out headlight???

Why the hell do they give out tickets for a burned out headlight?
For starters one often doesnt even know it’s out.

And second, replacing a headlight bulb isnt something one can do anymore at home. Very often anymore it requires removing several engine components so you have to take it into a shop and have it done by a trained mechanic.

So seeing the complexity of replacing a headlight bulb/lamp, wouldnt it just be smart to issue a warning and only require it to be signed off when completed?

They do if you have a reasonable excuse like it only happened a couple of days ago and it’s booked in to be repaired on Monday.

In most jurisdictions you get what’s called a “fix it ticket”. It has a fine, but the fine is waived if you get it fixed within a certain number of days. And the last time I got one (which was about six months ago) I replaced it myself. At home. Took all of 5 minutes. The cars I had 25 years ago required taking things apart to replace, my newer ones don’t.

I have older cars and haven’t replaced one in a long time, but the last time I did I went to Walmart and got one for a couple bucks and put it in. IIRC, I got some kind of warning ticket 15 years ago.

I have heard your tale of lamentation and it has moved me.

Lo, I have composed an Elegy for you, as a response to the woe you have suffered. Surely, no finer, more sensitive soul has greater cause to present grievances than you.

I’ll now perform the Elegy, for you, on this, the world’s smallest, yet loveliest violin.

All who hear it weep.


Probably your state has a deal where you can take your case to a judge or whatever and explain, “yo, I git this here shit fixt,” and the judge may yet show mercy.

Go in peace.

Didn’t watch Making a Murderer?

Meh. It’s not bad, for what it is, but I didn’t weep that hard. Good effort, though.

Try a threnody next time.

I’m very surprised that you did not get a warning first. The bulb could have burned out just minutes before while you where driving.

I got a warning once. Started my car and saw that a headlight was out. It was twilight. I needed to drive to work. Cop must have been very bored, or letting me know as a courtesy. If I had my lights turned off, since it was not dark, it would not have caught his attention.

Bahh…as an owner of many a junk assed cars…

Either you KNEW you had a headlight AND ignored it…or you were sooooo much an un observant drive that you did NOT notice that you had a headlight out.

Either way, you deserve a ticket IMO.

I almost never drive in the dark, but since I keep my headlights on all the time, one burnt out recently. I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t happened to pull into a spot where a window reflected my lights. Or actually, light. And if I had noticed it in the dark, I’ve still got to drive to the store to buy the replacements with one headlight. Or drive around town with the high beams on, which other drivers love the shit out of.

That said, the OPs experience is odd to me, too. As with others in the thread, I’m used to hearing about repair tickets.

What cars are you talking about here? :dubious:

Yes, I suppose the OP could be the guy/gal that WAS heading to the auto parts store to get a new headlight when the old one burned out and the man got him…

But 99 percent of the time?

We know he/she knew…

Count yourself lucky the cop wasn’t playing “padiddle” when he stopped you. Those nightsticks hurt.

They give out tickets for public safety. Get it fixed, bring your date stamped receipt to court along with a picture of the front end of your car with both headlights working (maybe with that days newspaper in the shot) on your camera phone & maybe they’ll let you go with a warning.

On the bright side, you now know that they not only ticket cars with headlights out, they are Actively Looking for them to give tickets to. So, don’t be that guy.

Often the headlight is an excuse for a stop, and in that stop they look for more stuff to really nail you. Perhaps the officer was pissed - he thought he caught a striped bass but instead you were a toadfish. So he slapped you before tossing you back in the water.

Don’t piss off the fisherman.

VW, for one.

I have those nice HID headlights in my VW GTI, and when the last one went I was quoted $150 for the bulb + a few hours of labor (~500 total) for the replacement.

The problem is, things are so tight under the hood that you need to disassemble the front part of the car to pull the headlight assembly in order to change the bulb.
At one point I considered whether a child’s slender hand could reach in the gap, and my kids were almost recruited for this duty.

After a few YouTube videos to get my courage up, a friend and I spent an hour removing forty screws and bolts to get the bumper off and remove the headlight assembly.

Two bulbs from Amazon: $49 each
One hour of labor with a friend: Free

I’m still not certain what the dealer was smoking, since my buddy and I aren’t mechanics, we don’t have special tools, we don’t have a lift, and we still did the job in under an hour.

So you were able to do this at home, didn’t have to remove any engine components, nor did you have to have a trained mechanic do the work, right?

Again: what kind of car is the OP talking about? :dubious:

I think they should ticket more people for headlights out. It’s dangerous. If you don’t notice a headlight out it’s a sign you aren’t very observant. If you know you have a headlight you should be heading directly to the auto parts store or/and a garage.

I notice if my headlights are just dirty. It boggles my mind to think people don’t notice when one is completely out. On one of my trucks the lenses are cloudy so need to be polished, it still passed inspection and is only driven during the day so I’ve been procrastinating but it’s a noticeable difference to me.

On most cars it’s very easy to change the bulbs. I think people are just to lazy to figure it out. My sister told me she couldn’t figure out how to change hers last week. It’s some little Toyota. She had the bulb. Took me less than five minutes. Popped the hood. took off a rubber gasket and twisted the lamp holder out. Changed the bulb and put it back together.

Yeah there are cars where it can be a pain in the ass. They aren’t common. If you own such a car it’s a reasonable expectation you’ll have a garage fix it rather than driving around with one headlight.

If you do get ticketed for a headlight, repair it the next day and appeal the ticket. If you show the court documentation you addressed the issue immediately they are likely to show leniency.

Invalid assumption.

There are a lot of people out there whose extent of Automotive troubleshooting is limited to if it doesn’t start, it’s probably out of gas.

Maybe a GMC Acadia?

I, too, am surprised the OP got a ticket, and I’m curious as to exactly how that interaction went down. If a police officer stopped me and told me I had a headlight out, my response would be either “Yeah, I just noticed that; I’m planning to replace it right away,” or “Oh, wow, I hadn’t noticed. Thanks for letting me know; I’ll have to get that replaced right away.” And I wouldn’t expect to get a ticket. But if I had said, “Screw you, man; what’s the big deal about having a headlight out?” Yeah, then I might expect a ticket.