Reverse lights are also called backup lights. They are used to warn other vehicles and people around the car that the vehicle is about to move backwards. The reverse lights also provide some illumination when the car is backing up. Reverse lights on a vehicle must be white in color, and these come standard on all vehicles.
Testing Reverse Lights
If you need to test your reverse lights but do not have anyone around to help, there is a way you can do it by yourself. Turn the ignition switch to the “on” position (without starting it), then put the transmission in reverse with the parking brake on. It is very important to make sure the parking brake is on. Once that is set, get out of the vehicle and look at the reverse lights, they should be illuminated.
Reverse Light Replacement
If the reverse lights do not come on when you test it, you may need a reverse light bulb replacement. Reverse lights are required by law, so have a mechanic properly install the light for you to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Are Reverse Lights Required?
Every vehicle in the United States must have one or two rear-mounted rear-facing reverse lights. The lights should be white in color.
Problems with Reverse Lights
Bulbs can burn out on reverse lights, in which case you need a bulb replacement. Other problems can happen with these lights as well. If you replace the bulbs in your vehicle and the lights are still not working, chances are a sensor has gone bad. If this happens, take it to YourMechanic, as you are required to have working reverse lights on your vehicle as it is a safety feature. Another reason your lights could have gone out is from the reverse light switch. This is a switch that is connected to the gear selector mechanism. When you shift into reverse, the switch completes the electrical circuit and turns on your reverse lights.
Reverse lights are an important safety feature of your vehicle because they inform cars and people around you that you are going to backup. If someone is behind you or about to drive past you, they will know to use caution. Test your reverse lights regularly to ensure they are in proper working order. Having a reverse light out may cause you to get pulled over and receive a ticket. If you are having problems with your reverse light, you might need to have it replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 4 Essential Things to Know About Your Car’s Reverse Lights and was authored by Valerie Johnston.