Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Bulb Failure (Exterior Light Fault, License Plate Bulb, Brake Light Bulb) Warning Light Mean?

In order to help the driver maintain their vehicle, manufacturers have been using computers and sensors to monitor just about everything in a car. Modern cars are sophisticated enough now to detect when any exterior lights have stopped working. When a bulb goes out, the overall resistance in the circuit changes, which then affects the voltage for that circuit. The computer monitors the circuits for all of the exterior lights for any changes in voltage and then displays a warning light.

What the bulb failure light means

The computer will switch on the bulb failure warning light when it detects any non-normal voltage in any of the bulb circuits. If you see the light come on, check all of the bulbs to find the one that is not working. Be thorough when checking the lights as modern cars have quite a few that can turn on the warning light. Some harder bulbs to find include license plate bulbs, turn signals on the side mirrors, the yellow parking lights at the front of the vehicle, and the tail lights at the back that come on with the headlights.

When you find the bad bulb, replace it and the warning light should turn off. It is possible for false positives to occur in which case the entire circuit would need to be inspected for any damage.

Is it safe to drive with the bulb failure light on?

In most cases, the car is still driveable. Now this doesn’t mean you should ignore the light. The exterior lights are very important for warning surrounding drivers of your car’s position and actions. Having non-functional lights can also make you responsible for damages in the event of a collision.

If you need any help replacing bulbs or if the light won’t turn off, our certified technicians are always available to assist you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...


Related questions

Q: Opinion on converting lights to LDD

If you are trying to go for a cool look, then I guess it is. To be completely honest, don't waste your money on that stuff. It costs a lot of money to convert that stuff correctly. You can get...

Q: The telltale light is on and yellow. Also the D.SC., DTC & DBC is on and yellow is it safe to drive it?

It sounds like a lot of different things are going on here. If you feel like the hand brake is on and the brakes are grabbing it with all the lights on, then I would say it is not safe...

Q: Driver's side low beam light is dim, even after replacing the bulb.

Did you see any corrosion or a broken connector on the dimmer side? Corrosion can build up in the circuit and rod the bulb of voltage causing a dim light. A technician with access to a wiring diagram can trace...