No one wants a violation for a defective light on a truck or trailer. Yet commercial truck drivers receive more roadside violations for lighting than for malfunctioning brakes, worn tires or any other problem. In fact, Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) inspectors across the country issued nearly 1 million violations in 2014 alone for everything from damaged reflectors to broken turn signals.

And you’re not just looking at unplanned downtime and costly fines when you’re pulled over for a lighting malfunction. Each violation affects your CSA safety score, ranging from two severity points for a broken marker to six for a broken or missing light.

The best way to make sure all of your truck’s lights are working properly is to conduct detailed lighting inspections before and after a trip. Make sure your inspection form is detailed enough to cover all areas of lighting; a generic “Check Lighting” box is not sufficient. You need to verify that every head lamp, tail lamp, turn signal, reflector, warning lamp, license plate lamp, fog lamp and marker is in good working order.

If a light needs to be replaced, don’t let cost be your only consideration. As with many replacement parts, prices vary widely. But saving a few dollars up front could cost you hundreds in fines and unexpected downtime later.

What to consider when buying replacement lights:

  • Choose sealed beams – Contaminants like water, dirt and salt will cause corrosion and premature bulb failure if they get inside a lamp housing. Look for sealed beams that keep these contaminants out.
  • Select lights with vibration resistance – Commercial trucks are built to withstand constant vibration on cross-country hauls, and they can experience violent jolts when heavy cargo is loaded and unloaded. Because these shocks can cause bulbs to break prematurely, choose a lamp designed with special shock resistors that absorb vibrations.
  • Upgrade to LED – LED lights use hundreds of diodes that emit light at the same time, resulting in a smoother, brighter and longer-lasting light than incandescent bulbs. They also require less electricity and are more resistant to shock and vibration. Yes, LED lights are more expensive to purchase, but they can last 10 years or longer if properly maintained.

To learn more about lighting options or to schedule a preventive maintenance inspection, contact your local Volvo Trucks dealership. Volvo experts can help you find replacement lights, markers, fuses and roadside repair kits for your specific application, including value-priced Road Choice™ lights. You can also order replacement lighting through the SELECT Part Store™. Log on today to learn more about monthly discounts on popular parts and shop supplies.