Side marker lights are important components of the safety of a vehicle on the road. Paired with a reflector, these lights are amber in color and shine to the sides of a vehicle.
Since the late nineteen sixties, all vehicles sold in the US and Canada have been required to be fitted with marker lights and reflectors placed on the sides of the vehicle at all four corners. The purpose of the side marker lights is to make other drivers aware of the vehicle when driving at night. Drivers who approach a vehicle from the side and are unable to clearly see the headlights or tail lights can discern the position and direction of travel, as well as the length of a vehicle in the dark.
Some side marker lights are built into the headlight and taillight assemblies of a vehicle. Others are part of a turn signal/marker light assembly. Still others come as separate devices mounted away from the headlights and taillights.
Operational side marker lights are required on your vehicle, and in most municipalities, a driver can be ticketed for a faulty light. The marker lights should come on when you start your vehicle and turn on the headlight switch. If you notice that a side marker light will not turn on - or if the housing is broken - the light (or at least the bulb) should be replaced.
The procedure to replace a side marker light bulb, which is far more common than replacement of the light itself, depends on the placement of the light. If the side marker light is part of a headlight or tail light assembly, the bulb socket must be extracted from the assembly. On some vehicles, this can be difficult to access. A technician might need to lift your vehicle and reach the socket through a wheel well, for example.
In many cases, the bulb is readily accessible through the engine compartment, trunk, or cargo area. In those cases, a technician will likely need to remove a cover or shield, unplug the wiring harness, dislodge the bulb socket, extract the bulb, and replace it with a new one before reassembling the unit.
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