Sellers of used cars like to give a lot of information on the trim in their ads. Details of the lights are few and far between. We put together a few tips on how you as a buyer can still get an idea.

The list is usually long. The car for sale has … – and then you often get things that have long been prescribed such as ABS and ESP, or self-evident things such as the rear window heater or airbags. Leather seats and sunroofs are always mentioned. Alloy wheels also appear, even though steel wheels have become quite unusual. Often sellers hit the nail on the head with this though because most people find a stylish appearance more important than, for example, driver assistance systems.

And what about the lights? The thing that is most likely to appear in the trim list is LEDs, even if it’s only in connection with daytime running lights or the raised brake light. If a potential buyer wants to learn something about the main lights, the only way is to request this information from the seller.

Even photos of the interior help with exploring the lighting equipment. Can the light switch be seen on them? And is the thumb wheel for the headlamp leveling system missing next to it? Then a car complying with European ECE regulations is likely to be fitted with xenon or LED lights. Fog lights also need a switch. Sometimes a (cut-off) switch for the cornering lights indicates their presence. Such a detail is often unknown to professional sellers.

But why should you even think about such trifles as the lights on a used car? Aren’t colors and fragrant leather more important? Well, that’s true for living room furniture, but that doesn’t need to drive through a pitch-black night. By the way, not only the lighting technology itself, in other words halogen, xenon or LED counts, but also things such as light distribution, cornering lights, or even the most modern solution, glare-free high beam. For people interested in safety they make more sense than wheels that are an inch bigger.

It’s important to check the lighting systems when buying a used car. Are headlamp leveling and any additional functions working? So best to do a test drive in the dark or with full lights on during the day. If any error messages appear, it’s at least time for a discount. If the car has xenon, it’s worth taking a look at the light color or asking whether the lamps have ever been replaced. Because xenon loses light over time, up to 50 percent. A pink or purple light color is a sign. For replacing the lamps with good brands such as the Xenarc series from Osram you need to factor in 200 to 300 euros or dollars.

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