How to Diagnose and Repair a Broken Auto Light Socket

Use simple detective work to unravel the mystery of a dead light

Step 1: Replace the bulb

When a headlight goes out, the problem is usually a bad bulb, which is easily replaced. However, the problem could also be a corroded socket or a bad wire. Keep in mind that when several lights are out, such as both headlamps or both taillights, the problem is most likely a fuse. If the fuse is bad, you can replace it and most likely be on your way.

In this article, we'll show you how to replace the bulb, and if that fails, we'll show you how to diagnose a bad socket and probe the wiring with a simple 12-volt automotive test light.

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Step 2: Clean the socket

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Step 3: Test the socket

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Step 4: Test for power at the wires

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