The courtesy light bulb is also called a dome light and is located on the ceiling in your vehicle. It is normally towards the front of the car and provides light when you open the car door. This light makes it easier to enter or exit the vehicle, find items, and put your seatbelt on. Some courtesy light bulbs last for an extended period of time after all of the doors are shut, staying on for a minute or two. These courtesy light bulbs can be turned on and off by a switch.

Many modern vehicles use LED light bulbs for courtesy light bulbs. Traditional incandescent light bulbs may also still be used. LED bulbs do have a longer lifespan and are brighter than incandescent bulbs, but they can sometime be more expensive up front. Incandescent bulbs do not burn as brightly and normally last a couple thousand hours, but they tend to be cheaper in the beginning. Most new vehicles are making the move to LED lights because they are more environmentally friendly.

For example, an LED light bulb may last for 12 years and can be placed in many different areas of the vehicle. Some LED lights are available in different colors for the interior of your vehicle. This may be illegal in some states though, so it is important to check with your local regulations before installing these light bulbs.

Signs your courtesy light bulb is going out include:

  • The light is dim
  • The light flickers when it is on
  • The light does not turn on at all
  • The light has physical damage that you can see

Courtesy light bulbs do go bad after a certain amount of time, especially if you use them a lot. They are bound to burn out or can become damaged. When this happens, they need to be replaced as soon as possible to aid you in seeing when entering and exiting the vehicle. It is important to be aware of the symptoms the courtesy bulbs give off before they completely fail. That way, you can be ready with new bulbs so there will not be as much inconvenience.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Courtesy Light Bulb Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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