How To Test Headlights Without Car


When it comes down to it, testing car headlights is pretty simple. You can test your bulbs directly, or you can check out how well their glow reflects off of other things around you. If nothing changes when you do either one, then they are not working properly!

It is very important to know what kind of light source you have before trying to determine if your lights are working correctly. For example, if you have an automatic transmission, then the headlights will already be on as soon as you start driving. This makes determining whether the bulbs work difficult because you cannot turn the lights off and compare them with no light.

Luckily, there are some ways to easily test vehicle headlights without using a machine! Here we will go over several easy ways to test your car’s headlamps. Once you have determined that they are not working, you can grab yourself some extra bedtime reading!

Testing Your Bulb Functionality

When it comes right down to it, most cars these days use a system called xenon (XEN) illumination. With this type of lighting, electrons in the bulb are excited into a higher energy state which produces ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV light is then shifted towards lower frequencies where it does not burn anything but instead gives off a bright white light.

This process takes place due to the special coating on the filament inside the lamp.

Use a mirror to test reflection

how to test headlights without car

There are many ways to test your car’s headlights. The easiest way is by using a mirror. You can hold the mirror up at a ninety-degree angle so that it reflects some of the light back from the vehicle next to you, or use a full length mirror so that you get an extended view.

By testing both types, you will be able to see whether your lights work properly in low lighting conditions and if they burn out correctly. Make sure to do this before leaving home otherwise you may not be aware of any issues until you reach your destination!

You also should check the intensity of the bulbs as well as how evenly the rays spread. This could include looking for hot and cold spots and determining the strength of the beam depending on what type of surface you are driving on. If the beams seem very weak or blurry then this would indicate need of a replacement bulb.

Test the high beam first to make sure it works effectively. Then switch over to the low beam to verify these.

Use a white piece of paper to test brightness

how to test headlights without car

When testing your headlights, you will need to use a material that will not change color when illuminated. A plain sheet of paper is our favorite way to do this!

Simply place the paper in front of the light source (your headlight) and see how it glows. You can now determine if the lights are too dark or too bright by comparing them to the other side of the car.

If the lights seem darker than the other side, then they are probably still working but just cannot be seen because they are covered up by dirt, grease, or both. It is important to make sure that you have cleaned your vehicle properly before trying to check the intensity of the bulbs.

Make sure to turn off all of the unnecessary electronics such as the radio, phone, etc., so that you do not influence the intensity of the bulb being tested.

Make sure they are not dirty

how to test headlights without car

While headlights do have lenthy lives, they can be replaced or repaired if they fail. If you need to check their intensity, go outside during daylight hours and turn them on.

If they work, great! You’re all set until they don’t. However, most people don’t realize how to test headlight performance unless something is wrong with it.

So, how do you know if your headlights aren’t working? By the way they look when turned on.

You want to make sure that they glow properly and evenly. Also, make sure there are no dark shadows anywhere. It could be due to excessive dust in the bulbs or cracked lenses.

When checking out cars at auto dealerships, make sure to ask about setting up an inspection for headlights. This will help save you time later by letting someone else do it for you.

Check the bulbs

The first thing you should do is check your vehicle’s existing headlights. You can use either natural light, external sources, or both to test them.

If they are not working properly, then replace them! If they look old and faded, it’s time to invest in new ones. It will cost less than buying a newer model that works out of box.

It’s also important to remember that even if a headlamp looks like it has never been used before, it may need replacing due to bad bulbs.

Wiggle the bulbs

how to test headlights without car

The first way to test your car’s headlights is by wiggling or shaking them. If they are flickering in shape, then those lights aren’t working very well.

It’s not totally uncommon for cars to use different components when it comes to their lighting systems. For example, some vehicles will only have one light source- either ones that work as daytime running lamps (DRL) or ones that function as low beam headlamps.

Others may have two separate sources, with one being DRL and the other being highbeam mode. But, no matter what make and model of vehicle you get, all good headlights will flicker consistently when you turn on the engine and activate their functions.

This should be the case whether the vehicle has automatic dimming or not. In fact, most modern vehicles now automatically dim their headlights according to speed so drivers behind you won’t suffer due to poor illumination.

Replace the bulbs

how to test headlights without car

The next thing you will need to do is replace the headlamp bulbs. You can either buy new lamps, or look online to find used ones. Make sure they are matched in style and function!

Some cars come with low-beam headlights as standard equipment, while others may have high beams as the only option. It’s important to know what type of light your car already has before buying additional ones.

Be careful not to overwrite your current lighting by buying too many, however. Many people confuse blacked out lights with dark lenses, which would be better than nothing at all but not ideal for improving night vision.

Take our helpful guide here to learn more about how to test your car’s headlights!.

Make sure the headlights are adjusted correctly

how to test headlights without car

While cars come with pre-programmed settings for their headlamps, it is important to be able to modify them. This is very helpful if you want to test different types of lights such as dipped or non-dipped bulbs, patterned lams, etc.

Some manufacturers make changing these settings difficult so do not waste your time trying unless you have modified yours already!

If after testing one type of light you find that they do not work properly, you can simply switch back to the previous setting until you find one that does. Your car will mostly likely retain the information from before when was working so you do not need to start over!

This article will go more in depth about how to easily change your vehicle’s interior and exterior lighting without using a tool.

Test the direction of the lights

how to test headlights without car

The first thing we will do is test the function of your headlights. You can test this by looking down at the ground and having them turn on.

If they are working, they should light up and direct themselves towards the ground.

It is also important to check that they go dark when you pull off of the road. This way, you know they cannot be turned on or off via software programs such as Google Maps or Apple Cars.

These two things are very important because people may not always accurately describe how their car works.

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