car headlights

Your car lighting system is one of the most fundamental features of your car, and one that you probably use everyday. So much so, in fact, that it can be easy to forget exactly how complex and varied it is, encompassing your fog lights, hazards, indicators, high beams and more. Now, the good thing is that car lights are standardised, and they’re equally easy to use whether you’ve got a brand new car or you’ve netted a used one from one of our online car auctions. So, in case you need a quick refresher, here’s a short guide that gives you a recap on exactly what each one does, and how they can help make driving easier.

The different functions of lights

All cars have several basic light functions. These functions have different uses, as you can see below:

  • Standard lights – standard lights are to be used in the dark. We know, pretty obvious. What isn’t always obvious is that these lights can be brightened or dimmed, usually by a button close to your steering wheel or your right knee, on the lower dashboard. You often turn the lights on via twisting a button on one of the indicator levers.
  • Hazard lights – these lights are for indicating to other drivers that there’s a hazard or obstruction to look out for, or that they should be wary of your movements. They’re sometimes used to thank drivers for moving/letting you go at a junction (although technically, they’re not supposed to be!). They can also let others know when you’ve broken down, or if you’re immobile for any reason. The button for these lights is a red triangle, usually towards the centre of your car.
  • High beams – high beam lights are to use on dark roads, or anywhere else where lighting is poor. These lights should only be used where there is no other traffic driving towards or away from you. To use these, you often push the indicator that you use to turn the standard lights on away from you (towards the dash).
  • Indicators – indicators are just that! They are used to indicate to drivers in front and behind you where you are going – left or right. These should always be used to provide safety to yourself and others. They will be a lever on one side of your steering wheel, on the opposite side to the wind-screen wipers.
  • Fog lights – as the name suggests, lights to be used in the fog. They help other motorists see your lights in dense fog. These are a little more trick to find, but are usually near your right-hand knee, as a button to press.

What do I need to know legally?

From a legal standpoint, there are a few core things you need to know. The top and bottom of it is that it is an offence for your car lights to be out. But the finer points are relayed below.

  • You must ensure all lights, including registration lights, are visible and working. This requirement is only between sunset and sunrise.
  • You must not use your lights when they may dazzle or blind another road user (including non-car drivers).
  • You must use hazard lights when your vehicle is stationary or broken down.
  • Bear in mind that ‘night’ is defined as half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise.

What are the types of car bulbs?

There are a few types of car bulbs, so we’ve broken them down into the main types below:

Halogen lights

Halogen headlights are by far the most popular on the road. While they are popular, they’re incredibly energy inefficient. The heat they give off is a big energy waster, and they also don’t light the road as well as other types.

LED lights

LED headlights are energy efficient and much quicker to ‘rise’ (become brighter) than other types of light. You may be wondering why they aren’t used as widely as halogen lights? Well, that’s because they’re expensive! They also require separate coolers as the electricity they use makes them a little toasty.

Xenon lights

These lights are by far the most visually distinctive – mainly because they’re incredibly bright! Usually light blue or yellow, you’ll be able to tell these xenon lights a mile away. And while that can be useful when you’re driving, it doesn’t always make them too popular with other road users, partially because they can offer quite a startling glare. If you’ve got them, make sure to use them with caution!

So, those are the basics covered! And if you’re looking to buy your next used car or salvage car, then you’ve come to the right place. Here at RAW2K, we’ve got a huge number of used cars for sale, including models from leading brands like Ford and Seat. Our online car auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis, so great deals are always available. Take a look around the site and see what you can find today!