What is the License Plate Light all about?
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 inexpensive 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 expensive.
Keep in mind:
- Bulbs must be white — other colors are not legal.
- Bulbs must illuminate the plate so that it can be read from 15 meters away.
- Bulbs must be wired to come on when the headlights or parking lights are on.
How it’s done:
- 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 installed 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.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the License Plate Light?
- License plate light bulb does not illuminate
How important is this service?
License plate lights are essential. Most states have a law requiring that every vehicle must be equipped with a rear lighting system, including rear lamps, rear reflectors, stop lamps, and license plate lights.