For the safety of you and other road users, it’s important to have working lights on our cars. This includes side- and taillights, headlights (main and dipped beams), direction indicators, stop lights, a rear number-plate light, reversing lights, fog lights (front and rear), daytime running lights (DRL) , long-range driving lights and hazard warning lights.

But how can you tell if your car lights are working and are your headlights correctly aligned?


How to check if your car bulbs are working

It’s possible to spot a broken bulb due to a light not working when turned on or if you spot a visible break in the filament, sometimes with blackened glass. In either case, it’s a good idea to test your bulbs with a test bulb kit.

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How to check if your headlights and taillights are working

The easiest way to check if your lights are working is to turn the engine on and leave the handbrake on. Then turn on each light and walk around the car to visually check them.

How to check headlight alignment

We all know how annoying – and potentially dangerous – it is to be dazzled by the glare of oncoming headlights. But how can you check that you’re not blinding other drivers with your headlights?

Checking the alignment of your headlights isn’t difficult, but you do need some specific tools: a Phillips-head screwdriver, masking tape, a spirit level, a measuring tape, level ground, a dark wall or garage door and 10m of space.

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While you could check your owners’ manual for the precise distance required to check your headlight alignment (different manufacturers have different recommendations),  it isn’t necessary to have a standard distance – as long as you measure correctly. In other words, the centre point of your headlights should be one cm lower for every metre your car is moved from the starting point. In other words, if the centre point of your headlights is 40cm from the ground when your car is 50cm from the wall, then the centre point should be at 35cm when your car is 5.5m from the wall. If this isn’t the case, the headlights need to be adjusted so the centre point is at 35cm. [external_footer]