What Are Dome Lights In A Car? [5 Interesting Things You Didn’t Know About] [2023 Updated]

What Are Dome Lights In A Car

The interiors of cars are equipped with light bulbs that intend to offer visibility inside. Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, these lights are strategically positioned to direct a concentrated beam towards their respective seats only.  

But there are a few vehicles and models, which are fitted with dome lights. Such lights are installed in the middle of a vehicle’s ceiling and are meant to offer better intensity.

So, let’s talk about the different types of lights in a car.

What Are Different Types Of Interior Lights In A Car?

The lights in a car are categorized based on their purposes. 

  • Dome Lights – These lights are positioned overhead and are suitable to illuminate your car’s interior at night. Usually, they switch on automatically when doors are opened. 
  • Dashboard Lights – These lights are meant to see the different instruments in your car, like the stereo system, speedometer, etc. at night. They are adjustable and aid prevents night blindness. 
  • Stepwell Lights – These are specialized interior lights that let you stay inside the car at night without hassle. Even, some vehicles come with ‘welcome mat’ lights, which highlight a plain puddle or logo on the ground during the night. 
  • Door Lights – Door lights turn on when the car door is open. It allows passengers or drivers to easily get in and out of the vehicle. 
  • Map Lights – The small lights placed on the car’s roof are called map lights. They throw a light beam on a specific area, which is the passenger seat. 

Why Are Dome Lights Helpful?

Among the various kinds of lights in a vehicle, the dome lights are extremely helpful. 

  • A car is designed with a navigation system, dashboard instrumentation, multimedia device, and a menu-driven unit all of which can be seen clearly during the night with the help of a dome light.
  • Such lights provide illumination to allow the passenger or driver to see different items. They are helpful in reading, and mapping, and may also create a wonderful ambiance in the entire space.
  • These lights also help to locate distinct controls, like radio knobs and window controls along with other accessories like charging ports, cup holders, etc. It is essential to install these lights at an appropriate level to get the best results. 

How To Design A Dome Light?

The government agency of each state has specific specifications for exterior lighting. But the standards for interior lights come from manufacturers like Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai, Toyota, and others. 

For dome lights, the standards are defined on the based-on size, shape, illuminance level, and lumens. 

If you are too specific about the dome light, you may check it before buying a vehicle. Otherwise, you also have the option to get your car’s dome light changed as per your choice. 

Why Your Dome Light Is Not Working?

Everything in your car is not meant to work permanently. This holds true even for the dome light. Here are a few things you must know about the dome light.

  • Dome Light is Flickering – The light may flicker because of electrical issues, a bad alternator, a malfunction, or due to corrosive battery. It is best to get a detailed inspection done by your mechanic to identify the root issue. 
  • Dome Light Gets Dim – The main reason for dome light getting dim is the failure of the alternator or damaged battery. You need to check the voltage to determine whether the alternator is working fine or not. This is done using a voltage meter. If the voltage reading is low, you need to replace the alternator. 
  • Dome Light Stay On – There are chances that your dome light stays on even after closing the doors. It may be because the front door is not properly latched. Also, it may be because the sensor is not working. 
  • Burned Bulbs – When the entire or part of your dome light is not working, it may be because the bulb has burned out. It is easy to identify and fix this problem. 

When You Should Replace The Dome Light?

Usually, the interior light requires replacement when the bulb stops working. A lot of people opt for LED bulbs. Replacing LED bulbs is easy and your mechanic can do it efficiently by using adequate tools and knowledge. 

How To Replace Your Car’s Dome Light?

To start replacing the dome light, first make sure that the light is turned off. It must not be in the ‘On’ or ‘Door’ position. The other steps you may follow are:

  1. Locate the position of the dome light.
  2. There is a little opening between the plastic molding and the lens of the dome light.
  3. Use an interior trim or screwdriver tool to wiggle off the lender. You have to be careful while doing this so that the plastic tab does not break. Clean the lens properly.
  4. Now take out the old bulb and insert the replacement bulb. Make sure you don’t crack the bulb. It is better to wear gloves while replacing the bulb to avoid injury.
  5. Install the new bulb and check that it is working fine or not. 
  6. If the new bulb is working fine, you may install the lens back and pay attention to the plastic tab. Make sure that the old lens does not break when reinstalling or removed.

Is It Safe To Drive With The Dome Lights On?

It is not safe to drive with your dome lights on. Having these lights on can affect your drive. These lights can generate a glare on the rear and front windshields, which create blind spots for drivers. They are more problematic during the night, especially when it’s snowing or raining outside.

Such lights instantly divert the attention away from the road, which leaves you and the passengers in a difficult situation.

The interior lights distract the driver in the car. Hence, it is unsafe to drive your car with dome lights on.

Does Turning On The Dome Light Distract The Driver?

Distraction while driving is a major reason for accidents. Distraction occurs when the driver is focused on another activity while driving. Any light that distracts the driver must be avoidable.

If you use a dome light to find a mobile between seats, it can result in manual distraction. The dome light makes it problematic to focus on the road and leads to accidents. This is a cognitive distraction.

Is Driving With Dome Lights On Considered Illegal?

It is not illegal to drive with dome lights on. There are no rules or laws mentioned by any state for the same. However, it is not safe to drive with lights on. 

Turning on these lights is distracting to the drivers, especially at night. It causes glass reflection, which makes it difficult for drivers to see the route. These lights must be used when it is necessary. 

Is It Possible To Avoid A Fine While Driving With Dome Lights Turned On?

There are equal chances that you may or may not be fined while driving with dome lights on. Since driving with dome lights on is distracting for the drivers, there are a few aspects you must take into account:

  • Try Using Colored Lights – Rather than using standard bright yellow light, you may use green or red colored lights. Colored lights offer better visibility but do not intervene with your vision. They are great for indoor lighting.
  • Stop Your Car to Turn on the Light – If there is an urgent need to turn on a car’s interior lights, it’s better to stop and then switch them on. This reduces the risk of experiencing an accident or fine while solving your intended purpose.
  • Use Podcasts or Audiobooks – A lot of passengers turn on the dome light for reading. A great solution for such people is to use audiobooks. They can spend an enjoyable time without using the light.
  • Use another source of light – The dome light in your car illuminates the complete car. It is best to use an alternate, which is the flashlight of your phone. The flashlight is not distracting to the driver.

What Are Dome Lights In A Car? [Conclusion]

The dome lights in your car are meant not just to illuminate it from the inside but also to work as a safety feature. It indicates when a door is left open or if the trunk is open. You must monitor the interior lights of your car regularly so that it keeps functioning properly. Replacing the interior lights in your car is easy. Just make sure you seek professional help when necessary.

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