Throughout The Car Industry
Checking Your Bulbs May Be A "Bright Idea" But I'm Too Awesome A Writer To Stoop To Such Punnery
There have been quite a few how-to-ish articles posted around here but none has covered my particular automobile-upkeep-related pet peeve (OK, one of my many): burned-out bulbs.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “borrrrrriiiinnnnng.” Well, you are not far from Truthsville on that one. But seeing as how the burned-out taillight is practically the state symbol of Michigan these days—I’m still waiting to hear back from the governor on my idea, though, so it’s still “unofficial”—MANY of you need to need to be bored with this.
Bored into ACTION, that is!
By using my patented—again, unofficial, but still awesome—One-Person Lamp Checking System you can check almost every exterior light your car has all at once. No, it’s not magic, or at least not the kind of magic that would earn me fame, riches and everything else that damn Criss Angel dude has.
But I digress.
First off, let me note that not every car is the same and some may not conform to this method of checkery. Also, by continuing to read past the end of this sentence, you agree to waive all rights to sue/blame/curse me or my employer for anything that might happen anywhere even NEAR your car, now and forever.
Good. Here’s what you do:
When entirely safe to do so—say, in your driveway or a parking lot—put the key in and turn it to the position right before the one that makes loud boom-boom sounds come from your tailpipe.
Apply your parking brake or equivalent, then put the shifting stick in the “R” position. [If your car starts rolling STOP IT (literally), skip the “R” part and move on to the next bit.]
Turn on your headlamps and any “supplemental illumination” (driving/fog lamps), activate your hazard flashers and roll down your driver’s window. [Why on the last one? Two reasons: locking your keys in your car sucks and there’s something you have to do next that is easier when the window’s down.]
You can now—hopefully—walk around your car and verify that your headlamps, parking lamps, turn signals, tail lamps, backup bulbs, cornering lamps, etc., all work. Once you’re back to your starting point, reach through the window, activate your “high beams,” walk back to the front of your car and check those.
Ta-da! Pretty cool, no? Well, we’re still not done. What comes next is your chance to check your backup bulbs if you couldn’t before and to learn the secret to how one can see their brake lights whilst singly operating a motorcar.
Every town has strip malls, office parks and other establishments that have glass-front “architecture” you can—carefully—back up towards. Once you find such a building you just have to back up towards it—carefully—and check your car’s reflection to verify that everything back there that’s supposed to be lit-up is.
So there you go. I have just given away my hard-earned bulb-verification system’s secrets for free and without compensation. Well, that’s not exactly true. You will have spared BOTH of us from a possible road-rage-fueled, salty-language-filled talking-to/yelling-at when you seemingly turn, back-up or stop without signaling even though you really DID signal but because the bulb(s) was/were burnt-out the other person didn’t see any signal so despite your best intentions and otherwise-safe driving habits you….
Well, you get the idea.
NOTE: If Johnny Law pulls you over for a “burned-out taillight”, do NOT use having implemented my “system” as an excuse for calling the law-enforcement professional at your window a filthy liar, especially in a loud voice or with fast and varied hand-movements. Their pants are undoubtedly NOT on fire, and most of them don’t cotton to your brand of humor.
[I’m not saying I have first-hand experience with this, but let’s all just agree to it being a bad idea, regardless….]
Tags: how to, DIY, maintenance, bulbs, headlights, high beams, lights, lamps
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