See And Be Seen: Repairing And Replacing Your Vehicle's Lights And Wipers

Posted on: 29 August 2017

Your lights and windshield wipers play an important role in getting you to your destination and back home again, especially in inclement weather. However, their functions are not limited to your ability to see the road in front of you. They also allow other drivers to see you as well as determine your actions or intentions. If either your wipers or lights are not functioning at their full capacity, you face the possibility of a serious accident.

What are the Signs That Your Wiper Blades Need to be Replaced?

  • Smeared windshield
  • Hesitant or stuttering wiper blades 
  • Wiper blades that are torn along the edges
  • Wiper blades that pull away from the windshield while driving instead of hugging it

Any one or combination of these symptoms indicates that it's time to replace your blades.

What You Should Know When Buying New Wiper Blades

While the wiper blades in older vehicles are often the same length on both the driver's and passenger's sides of the vehicle, many newer vehicles have a longer blade on the driver's side. If your vehicle has a rear wiper, the blade will be a smaller size than either of the two front blades.

You can determine the size of your blades wither by measuring them end-to-end or consulting your owner's manual. You can also find the sizes by searching the catalogs provided by wiper blade manufacturers in your local auto parts store. All you need to know is the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

Checking Your Vehicle's Lights

It's important to inspect your lights on a regular basis, not only for safety concerns but to avoid being pulled over by law enforcement and issued a citation. Perhaps the most important lights are the only ones that you can't check by yourself: your brake lights.

Faulty brake lights can cause a vehicle to hit you from behind when you stop suddenly because of the lack of a visual cue that braking has occurred.  Don't depend on the kindness of strangers to inform you when your brake lights are out. Have a friend assist you to inspect the brake lights as you depress the pedal. If one brake light is malfunctioning, you need to replace the bulb. However, if both lights are out, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop.

If one of your headlights is not functioning, you'll need to replace the bulb from the back of the fixture. There's no need to remove the front cover. If both headlights are out, it's likely a fuse or wiring issue. Your owner's manual will provide information on buying the proper fuse and the location of the fuse in the fuse box. If a new fuse doesn't work, it's best to go to an auto repair center.

When one of your turn signal bulbs no longer functions, you will notice the indicator light on your dashboard will blink much faster than normal. A bulb replacement will solve the problem.

Any auto parts store can direct you to the correct bulbs or fuses if you choose to maintain your own lights. If not, get your vehicle inspected by an auto repair center. It could literally be a matter of life and death.