Your car’s light bulb sockets are protected by lenses, so they won’t get as dirty as they might, but they will still accumulate dirt and grime over the years. Regular cleaning can help ensure they remain functional for a longer period, and help you catch other problems as well.

How are these dirty bulb sockets cleaned?

  1. Fuse is pulled: The mechanic will first pull the fuse for the light circuit. This ensures that he can safely work with the socket without being shocked.

  2. Cover is checked: If the mechanic is cleaning an interior bulb, he'll remove the cover. This is generally done easily with a small flathead screwdriver. If he's cleaning the socket on a headlight, taillight, or brake light, he'll just pull the socket and bulb out of the assembly. If he's cleaning the socket on a turn signal, he may use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the cover (this varies significantly from one model to another).

  3. Bulb is removed: The mechanic will pull the bulb out of the socket making sure not to touch the bulb with his bare hands.

  4. Socket is inspected: The mechanic will take a moment to inspect the socket. He must Look for signs of burning or scorching. If he sees any, the voltage of the circuit needs to be tested.

  5. Socket is sprayed: The mechanic will use electrical contact cleaner and he will spray the interior of the socket.

  6. Socket is wiped clean: With a clean cloth (lint-free), the mechanic will wipe the cleaner out of the socket. He will remove all of the cleaner, and make sure that the inside of the socket is dry and free of fibers and other debris.

  7. Light is reassembled: Once the socket is clean, the mechanic will reassemble the light and replace the socket in the housing/lens assembly.

YourMechanic can send someone out to your home or office to clean the sockets for you.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Is a Dirty Light Bulb Socket Cleaned? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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