There are so many accessory lights on the vehicle, and side lights are one of them. Let us note, that accessory lights were added to the vehicles for a certain purpose, so they cannot be referred to the accessory lights that are non-obligatory. So, let us see headlight construction and find out, what side lights are, where they are located and whether it is legal to leave them off in certain road situations.
What are side lights?
‘Side lights’ is the word combination, that is commonly used in Great Britain. In the US, we call them parking lights. These are small light bulbs that are located very close to the headlight edge. If you inspect your vehicle’s headlight, you will notice a small light bulb (LED or just a regular tiny bulb) that turns on automatically when you are parking. Alternatively, you can turn it on manually if you wish to.
Where are side lights located?
As we noted above, you will find a tiny light bulb, that is located inside the headlight assembly, under the leadlight lens. It is positioned closer to the outer side of the headlight, in order to help drivers see your vehicle in cases when you have to stop at the sideway when it’s dark. Also, it helps during parking when you maneuver.
Why do you need side lights?
Below is the list of situations when it is a good idea to use side lights. However, situations differ and you may want to add a couple of extra points to the list from your own experience.
- Alternative to dipped beam headlights;
- When it’s dark or cloudy;
- During foggy days;
- When parking;
- Whenever the natural lighting seems to be low, yet it’s not low enough to turn on the lights;
- When parking;
- When parking on a road when it’s night, and the speed limit there is over 30 mph.
Is it ok to drive with the parking lights on all the time?
Sidelights, a.k.a. parking lights, are rumored not to influence the battery. If you still believe, that there is something that really does not influence the battery, we recommend remembering this simple rule. Everything that consumes energy does influence the battery because it takes power from it. Parking lights are very low in wattage, compared to car stereos and other light bulbs that you have. Still, there are certain experiments held by people, that clearly show the battery life is influenced by the parking lights being constantly on. If you decide for yourself to keep parking lights on on regular basis, just remember to check your car battery at least once a month.
What are the most common bulb sizes of sidelight bulbs?
Note, that side light bulbs are available in the regular and LED version. Plus, you can pick the color you like. Still, keep in mind, that in almost all states it is illegal to have red and blue lights in the front part of the vehicle. So, it’s better to choose between cool light and warm light.
- 207 (R5W);
- 434 (H6W);
- 501 (W5W);
- 209 (BA15D);
- 233 (T4W).
Are parking lights and side lights the same thing?
Yes. They are commonly called side lights in the United Kingdom, while in the US they are commonly referred to as parking lights.
Can I replace my parking lights alone?
Sure thing, as long as you know, how to replace headlight bulbs, and have the basic tools to do that.
How do I find out what bulb size of parking lights I need?
You can check it in your owner’s manual or just online by googling ‘car bulb size lookup’, then fill in the year, make, and model of your vehicle. You will get the list of all bulb sizes you need for your vehicle, including sidelights.
Steven is a certified mechanic and technical writer at Halo Headlights. Steven is excited about fast cars, loud music and car mods. On yearly basis he visits SEMA, as well as other car shows.
He has installed thousands of HID and LED kits and did hundreds of custom headlight retrofit projects. Now, he is ready to share his experience with Halo-Headlights.com readers.