What is the License Plate Light?
These are the light bulbs that illuminate your car’s front and rear license plates. Some cars have one per plate; others have two.
Traditionally, they have been incandescent; i.e., lit by heating the filament. These bulbs are cheap and provide good clean light. However, they die quickly and are highly inefficient, losing up to 90 percent of their power as heat.
Some studies suggest that LEDs, or light emitting diodes, provide drivers with safer night time illumination. An LED is a form of transistor that emits light when current is applied. LEDs are very insensitive to vibrations, have a long life, light up much quicker than incandescent bulbs, are extremely compact, run cool, and provide more light per supplied watt than incandescent light bulbs. Plus, they are high efficient. However, LEDs are more costly.
Bulbs must be white — other colors are not legal.
Bulbs must illuminate the plate so that it can be read from 50 feet away.
Bulbs must be wired to come on when the headlights or parking lights are on.
How to Fix:
The license plate light cover is removed
The license plate light bulb is removed from the socket and checked for replacement
The new bulb is fixed into the socket
The light cover is reinstalled
The license light is checked for proper operation
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, LEDs use less than half the wattage compared to their incandescent counterparts.
It’s hard to notice if your license plate lights are burnt out until a police officer pulls you over and gives you a summons to fix it, so periodically check them yourself after sundown.
READ ALSO: HOW TO DO IGNITION RELAY REPAIRS IN CARS
Common signs indicating you may need to change the License Plate Light:
License plate light bulb does not illuminate
Importance of this service:
License plate lights are critical. Most states have a law requiring that every vehicle must be furnished with a rear lighting system, including rear lamps, rear reflectors, stop lamps, and license plate lights.