Lights Out: A Quick Guide on Bulb Repair Before Starting a Mechanic Program
July 18, 2018
From blown fuses to an indicator switch malfunction, there are plenty of reasons for a tail or indicator light to stop working suddenly. When that happens, it’s time to get those bulbs repaired as they’re crucial for letting other drivers know when the car’s braking or turning the corner. Highly trained mechanics know all the ins and outs of basic bulb repair, from assessing the damage to replacing and testing a new bulb, helping to get drivers back out on the road fast.
Are you interested in becoming a mechanic and want to learn how to replace bulbs like a pro? Here are some important points to consider.
What Professional Auto Mechanics Consider Before Getting Started
While replacing a broken head, indicator, or tail light might seem like a rather simple procedure, mechanics take into account things like disconnecting the vehicle’s battery and making sure that they procure a bulb that is compatible with the vehicle. Car bulbs vary, so knowing whether or not a bulb is meant for a specific vehicle is important before beginning repairs. In many cases, drivers and mechanics can determine the right bulb for each vehicle by referring to the owner’s manual.
Mechanics will disconnect the battery to ensure that they are safe while conducting bulb replacements, as even the most minor electrical car repairs have the potential to be dangerous. Before they begin repairs, however, professionals with auto mechanic certification make sure to put on the appropriate protective gloves. Then, they get to work carefully unscrewing the nuts and bolts holding the battery in place. After that, they’ll start disconnecting the cable leading to the negative terminal, and finally remove the battery.
How Graduates of Mechanic Programs Remove and Replace Car Bulbs
Depending on where the burnt out light is located, the mechanic will need to gain access to it in order to remove and replace the bulb. For tail lights or rear indicator lights, mechanics will start by separating the trunk lining from the interior of the panel, then remove the screw behind the area where the bulb is housed. After disconnecting the wires from the light socket, mechanics twist and pull out the bulb and socket together.
After that, it’s a simple matter of removing the bulb from the socket and replacing it with a new one. Recent graduates of a mechanic program should be very careful when installing a new bulb, as many of them are quite delicate, and can shatter whenever too much pressure is applied. In fact, some of the oil residue on hands and fingers could even damage the bulb after prolonged use. To prevent damage to the bulb as well as injuries, mechanics are encouraged to wear protective gloves and eyewear. After securing the bulb and socket, and reconnecting the wires, all that’s left to do is test the light to see if it works.
Determining if the Problem Is with the Bulb or the Socket
Car lights can go out for a number of different reasons, and for some of them the bulb might not be the culprit. A corroded or faulty socket can also be responsible for a bulb problem, and mechanics will often test them if a new bulb fails to work. Often this involves using electrical cleaner to get out any corrosive debris, and then using a tester light to see if the socket has any juice.
Should the tester fail to light up, it’s probably a good idea to check the wiring around the socket for any issues such as cuts, frays, and holes in the protective rubber. Mechanics can also use the tester to see if the wires have any power as well. Sockets, wires, and connectors that provide no power need to be replaced ASAP.
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