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At night and during adverse weather conditions, vehicle visibility is a must. Because no matter how good a driver you are, you're still at risk for accidents if other drivers can't spot your ride. Think about it. "I didn't see your car," is quickly becoming one of the most common excuses given after vehicular collisions. If you don't want to be at the receiving end of that statement, then you need to do everything you can to enhance your ride's visibility. This is something you can do with the right Side Marker light. As its name implies, this marker is designed to mount on both sides of your vehicle. What this component does is it makes your vehicle more noticeable during poor visibility conditions. Each marker usually comes with a low-intensity lamp that lights up as you drive. When your car is parked, this marker's reflector catches light from an oncoming or incoming vehicle. It tells nearby drivers of your vehicle's location. That way, other drivers can avoid hitting your ride. One of the best things about a great set of side markers is that these lamps can also be wired to your turn signals. So when you activate your turn signal lights, drivers flanking your vehicle will know of your intentions of turning or shifting lanes. Because of the importance of your Side Marker light, it's vital that you keep it in shape. If you have a marker or two that needs replacing, pick out the right replacement marker/s for your ride from Auto Parts Warehouse today!
Selecting the Right Side Marker
Since 1968, amber front and red rear side markers have been a strict safety requirement across all 50 States. They have been proven to annually prevent over 100,000 accidents, near the same number in non-fatal injuries, and close to $350 million in damages. Buying one is pretty straightforward, but you can maximize what your investment by following these simple tips.
The first thing that you should know is that new and replacement markers should be an exact fit for your vehicle's specific year, make, and model. With the exception of a few of its components-as you will soon see-there is no such thing as Universal fit when it comes to side markers.
Bringing it All Together
There are five components that make up your side marker. Each component can be replaced individually depending on the damage and/or need, or the entire thing can be replaced altogether.
- Bulb Socket: This holds the actual bulb that lights the marker up. This is the only component that is generally universal across the board. The thing to look for when it comes to the socket is the connectors. Very rarely will you find a set-up that isn't the standard 3-wire-but always check the manual of your vehicle or the existing socket to be sure.
- Base: This secures the entire side marker in place and is always chromed out to reflect and enhance the light coming from the bulb. The two things to look out for when picking a base are the fit on your car, and whether or not the one you need is for the driver's side or passenger's side of your vehicle-these cannot be interchanged.
- Lens: The lens is the most visible aspect of the side marker. Do not be fooled by those selling you lenses in a variety of colors. Federal regulations are very clear that the only acceptable color is amber. It is again important to consider the specificity of fit for your ride and which side you're looking to fix a marker on. Some customizability is allowed for vehicles with flat sides-it's still safest to stick with an exact model.
- Trim: Side marker trims anchor the assembly in place. Almost always chromed, they allow for a great deal of customization and come in a variety of designs: from the plain standard versions to those with grills incorporated. The only real limiting factors for the trim are the shape of the base and of the lens that you have installed.
Getting It Right
Research-and a lot of it-make it easy to bring all the elements together to keep you street-legal and safe. For any easier shopping experience, it's always a good bet to use your present markers as a reference. Better still, try to shop on a website that gives you the option to incorporate the specific year, make, and model of your car when searching for side marker parts-this approach minimizes errors of fit significantly.
Replacing Your Side Marker Lights
Your side marker lights not only keep you on the right side of the law, but also serve to protect you because they increase the visibility of your vehicle significantly. The best part is that, when it comes to side markers, replacing them is one of the easiest DIY tasks out there. It will save you a whole lot of money handling the replacement yourself-just follow along with this handy guide.
Time to Complete: 30-45 mins.
Stuff You Will Need:
- New side marker part or whole assembly
- Owner's manual
- Screwdrivers ? flat or Philips depending on your need
- Jack (optional) ? depends on specific vehicle model
Getting It Done:
Step 1: Uncouple the battery and wait at least half an hour before proceeding.
Step 2: Locate the side marker assembly that needs replacement.
Step 3: Access side marker light that needs replacing.
*NOTE* Depending on whether front or rear, and the model of the vehicle, accessing the marker may require something as simple as popping the hood or trunk to something as complicated as lifting the vehicle with a jack. Refer to your owner's manual for guidance.
Step 4: Disengage the bulb and socket assembly-on most vehicles, this requires a simple counterclockwise twist.
Step 5: Remove the bolts or screws that hold the assembly in place and remove the entire lighting fixture.
Step 6: Install any replacements (bulb socket, base, lens, trim-or all of them!) onto your car and secure in place.
Step 7: Reconnect battery and test operation of side markers to verify success of replacement.
- Always wear protective goggles, insulated gloves, and closed-toed shoes when performing replacements and repairs.
- Park on a level surface and make sure parking brake is engaged. Bolster wheels with any pieces of wood or rock to make sure your vehicle stays put.