License plate lights are essential for safety and legal reasons, as they ensure your plate number is visible at night. However, it’s not uncommon for these lights to experience issues ranging from blown bulbs to wiring problems.
Since these lamps are also attached above the plate’s rear frame and illuminate in a downward direction, it is highly possible that you will not notice the problem until it is pointed out to you or when you conduct an inspection of your car.
In this article, we will discuss some common reasons for license plate lights not working and how to resolve these issues.
Inspection and Troubleshooting
Checking the Bulb
To troubleshoot a license plate light, first check the bulb. Remove the number plate and carefully unscrew the light bulb cover. Examine the bulb filament; if it’s broken, replace the bulb with a new one.
Examining the Socket
If the bulb is fine, check the socket for damage or corrosion. Clean the socket with a soft brush and some electrical contact cleaner, then ensure the connection between the bulb and socket is secure. If the socket is damaged, consider replacing it.
Inspecting the Wiring and Connections
Next, inspect the wiring and connections to the license plate light. Look for any loose, frayed, or exposed wires. If you find any, secure them with electrical tape or replace them if necessary.
Testing Fuses and Ground
Test the fuses related to the license plate light circuit with a multimeter. If a fuse is blown, replace it.
Also, check the ground connection; loose or corroded ground can cause flickering or complete failure of the light. Tighten or clean the ground, if needed.
Preventing Future Issues
Regular Maintenance of Exterior Lights
Performing regular checks on your exterior car lights, such as license plate lights, tail lights, brake lights, and headlights, is essential for safety and avoiding problems.
This includes inspecting for cracks, foggy lenses, or other damages. Routine cleaning can help extend the life of these lights and keep them functioning properly.
Monitoring for Burnt Bulbs
Stay vigilant for signs of burnt bulbs in your license plate lamps, tag lights, and other exterior lights.
Replace burnt bulbs promptly to prevent issues. Keeping spare bulbs in your vehicle can come in handy when a replacement is needed.
Regularly inspect the connections between your lights and their power sources. Ensure that there are no loose or corroded connections that could cause your lights to fail. You can remedy loose connections by tightening or replacing them.
When confronted with a license plate light issue, it is typically the result of a faulty relay switch or a burnt-out bulb that needs to be replaced. In other cases, however, they can start to flicker because of a loose cable or connection.
Nonetheless, whenever you encounter a problem with your tag lamps, you should remove both of them at the same time.
This is because if one burns out, the same will likely happen to the other soon, regardless of whatever maintenance steps you take. It is also a good idea that you obtain LEDs instead of incandescent light bulbs, which typically cost about $2 – $3.
A working license plate light is essential for safety and legal reasons. So if you become aware of your license plate light not working, make sure to get it checked out and replace it at the earliest.