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How To Test Your Reverse Lights All By Yourself


The solo reverse test show.

This test will help you inspect your reverse lights without a helper.

photo by Matt Wright, 2008
Your car or truck's reverse lights are important safety features. They illuminate the scene when you're backing up, which is important, but they also warn pedestrians and other drivers that you are about to back up. This is probably even more important than lighting the way for you. It's important to be sure your reverse lights are functioning. Some states require they be working in order to pass inspection, others do not. Yours should be working regardless of the legality.

So you need to test your reverse lights, but you don't have a helper around to let you know if they are coming on. It's daylight so you can't tell by looking in your rear view mirror. What do you do? The answer is simple, but many people don't know their car works this way.

To test your reverse lights, turn the ignition key to the "ON" position, the spot where all of the dash lights come on but before you start it. Now put the transmission in reverse. If you have an automatic transmission, you might have to press the brake to release the shifter (a safety setting). Once you have the car in reverse, and the parking brake is on, you can get out of the car and have a look at the rear end. If you see two bright lights staring at you, all is well.

If one or more of your reverse lights is not working, you'll need to replace a bulb or two. Don't worry, we can show you how to do that, too.

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