Whether it’s glorious sunshine or lovely warm rain – this summer we’re not really spoiled with good weather, but at least the days are long. So long that we rarely drive in the dark, which means that we usually don’t even notice the lights and lamps that aren’t working. But isn’t it much more pleasant to replace broken lamps or clean corroded lamps in the summer? Come fall, we usually can’t be bothered anymore. So, look up to the roof of your car next time you get in. At the front, or on the sides, or in all of these places, small lamps should ensure that you’re not left in the dark at night when getting in and out of the car. Is that what they’re doing?
Depending on the age of the car it’s completely normal for the small lamps which come in different designs to give up the ghost at some stage. Most of the time the plastic cover can be detached carefully with a small screwdriver, exposing the lamp. Now’s the time to check whether perhaps there’s a better replacement from Osram, maybe an LED version? If the glass bulb in the roof is still intact but won’t come on when the door is open, the reason may also be a dirty or faulty contact switch in the door. Have you seen one of those? Some are big, some are small, and they consist of a small pushbutton and slide switch as an NC contact. This means that when it’s pushed in (when the door is closed) the circuit is broken and the lamp is not on. When it’s released (when the door is opened), it closes the circuit and the light inside comes on. At least in standard vehicles, and in new or rare exotic ones the interior light issue sometimes tends to be resolved differently.
If the small button is located somewhere on the frame of the car within reach of the door, the first step is to find out how to get it out. Some are only press fitted, others are screwed in or fixed into place from the inside with a nut. So sometimes you’ll inevitably need to access the small component from the inside; to do that the cladding needs to be removed in some car models. Two cables are attached to the back of the button, one is the ground and the other the current-carrying conductor to the lamp. Are both clean and correctly connected? Perhaps the cable is broken further back in the harness, but I haven’t heard of this before. If you now push and release the button, the light inside should go on and off. You’ll recognize dirty or faulty buttons by the crunching noise when you push them; sometimes the pins have broken off or are stuck on the inside. Depending on the vehicle it costs between 10 and 20 euros to replace a button, so nothing really.
In more sophisticated series there are of course controls for the interior lighting. If they break, I won’t be able to help you, I’m afraid. And while you’re in the process of looking around your car, think about upgrading to some nice ambient lighting. It doesn’t cost a fortune and will look super cool and super warm in the fall when it’s cold and wet and dark. Check it out. And do it now while it’s not raining or snowing yet.