What Are the Lights Inside a Car Called? Get to Know Their Names

The lights inside a car are generally referred to as interior lighting, and they serve a variety of purposes. The most common type of interior light is the dome light, which is located on the ceiling of the car and turns on when the doors are opened or when a switch is activated. Other types of interior lighting include map lights, footwell lights, vanity lights, and courtesy lights. The purpose of these lights range from providing visibility for reading maps to adding ambiance to the vehicle’s interior.

Automobile Lighting

Automobiles are equipped with different types of lighting for both exterior and interior use. These lights serve various purposes, from providing enhanced visibility and safety to improving the look and feel of a vehicle. Understanding the different types of automotive lighting can help drivers make sure their car is in compliance with federal regulations and that their vehicle is well-equipped for the road.

Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting on an automobile typically consists of headlights, fog lights, and running lights. Headlights are usually the most powerful type of exterior lighting, providing illumination when driving at night or in poor weather conditions. Fog lights can also be used to improve visibility in foggy or misty conditions. Running lights are a common feature on newer vehicles and are designed to increase visibility during low light conditions such as dusk or dawn.

Interior Lighting

Interior lighting inside a car includes dashboard lights, dome lights, and glove compartment lights. Dashboard lights are usually used to provide information about different systems and functions within the vehicle such as speedometer readings or warning indicators. Dome lights provide illumination inside the car’s cabin when needed, while glove compartment lights offer additional illumination when accessing items from this storage area.

Benefits of Automobile Lighting

The primary benefit of automotive lighting is improved safety for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Enhanced visibility provided by headlights, running lights, and other sources can help reduce the risk of accidents due to poor visibility from inclement weather or nighttime driving conditions. Additionally, well-lit vehicles are more likely to deter potential theft or vandalism since criminals prefer operating in darkness where they cannot easily be seen by passersby or security cameras. Automotive lighting can also provide aesthetic benefits by creating a distinctive look for a vehicle that helps it stand out from others on the road.

Regulations for Automobile Lighting

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) regulates the design and performance standards for exterior automobile lighting systems including headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lamps etc., in order to ensure optimal performance levels across all vehicles on US roads. Headlight requirements set forth by FMVSS include minimum illumination levels as well as maximum glare levels in order to prevent blinding other drivers on the road during night time driving conditions. Other regulations regarding exterior lighting may also exist depending on state laws so it’s important for drivers to stay informed about local requirements before taking their vehicle out on public roads.

What are the Lights Inside a Car Called?

The lights inside a car are called automotive lighting systems, and they serve a variety of functions. Automotive lighting systems are designed to help drivers see better, provide warning signals and help other drivers see the vehicle. Automotive lighting systems also increase the visibility of a vehicle and can add style to its exterior.

Types of Automotive Lighting Systems

Automotive lighting systems come in two main categories: interior and exterior. Interior auto lights include headlights, dome lights, spotlights, fog lamps, license plate lamps and marker lamps. Exterior automotive lighting includes headlights, tail lights, brake lights, fog lamps, turn signal lamps and marker lamps. Some vehicles may also include additional types of automotive lighting such as side marker lights or cornering lamps.


Headlights are an important part of an automotive lighting system because they provide illumination for nighttime driving. Headlights have evolved over time from being incandescent bulbs to halogen bulbs to xenon HID bulbs. Incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a metal filament until it glows while halogen bulbs use halogen gas to produce brighter light than incandescent bulbs. Xenon HID bulbs produce light by passing an electric current through a xenon gas filled bulb.

Installation of Automotive Lighting Systems

Installing an automotive lighting system is not difficult but it is important that it is done correctly for safety reasons. Headlight installation requires special tools such as pliers and screwdrivers to remove the headlight assembly from the vehicle and replace the headlight bulb with a new one if necessary. It is important to ensure that all connections are secure before reattaching the headlight assembly back onto the vehicle so that it works properly when turned on.

State Regulations for Vehicle Lighting

Each state has its own regulations regarding what types of automotive lighting systems can be used on vehicles operating within their jurisdiction. The regulations vary from state to state so it is important to check with your local DMV before installing any type of automotive lighting system on your vehicle in order to ensure that you will not be in violation of any laws or regulations if you do so.

Different Types of Automotive Bulbs

Automotive lighting systems use different types of bulbs depending on what type of light they produce and how bright they need to be for optimal visibility at night time or in other low-light conditions. The most common types of automotive bulbs used today are incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs and xenon HID bulbs. Incandescent bulbs produce light by heating a metal filament until it glows while halogen bulbs use halogen gas to produce brighter light than incandescent bulbs. Xenon HID bulbs produce light by passing an electric current through a xenon gas filled bulb which produces much brighter light than either incandescent or halogen bulbs can achieve but also requires more energy from the battery than other types do as well as more complicated installation procedures due to their complex wiring requirements

FAQ & Answers

Q: What are the lights inside a car called?
A: The lights inside a car are called interior lighting. This includes dashboard lights, dome lights, and glove compartment lights.

Q: What are the benefits of automobile lighting?
A: The benefits of automobile lighting include increased safety, improved visibility, increased security, and improved aesthetics.

Q: What are the regulations for automobile lighting?
A: Regulations for automobile lighting vary by state but all cars must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for headlight requirements.

Q: What are the different types of automotive bulbs?
A: Automotive bulbs can be divided into three main categories including incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, and xenon HID bulbs.

Q: How do you install automotive lighting systems?
A: Installation for automotive lighting systems depends on the type of system being installed. For example, replacing a headlight bulb requires complete removal and replacement with a new bulb.

In conclusion, the lights inside a car are important components of an automobile, and they are usually referred to as interior lighting. They provide illumination for the occupants of the vehicle and can also be used to set a certain mood or atmosphere. Interior lighting comes in many different varieties, including dome lights, reading lights, footwell lights, and more. To ensure safety and visibility inside your car, it is important to keep these lights in good working order.

Author Profile

Carl Frisch
Carl Frisch
With more than 30 years in the bicycle industry, I have a strong background in bicycle retailing, sales, marketing and customer service. I have a passion for cycling and a dedication to excellence. As a manager, I worked diligently to increase my capabilities and responsibilities, managing up to eleven mechanics (at Palo Alto Bicycles) and later as a working partner in my own store.

As the shop owner of Spoke n’ Word Cycles in Socorro, NM, the success of the mission was my responsibility, which I pursued passionately since we opened in 2003 through the spring of 2011. I am adept at managing owned and loan inventory, preparing weekly & annual inventory statements, and managing staff. The role as managing partner also allowed me tremendous freedom. I used this personal freedom to become more deeply involved in my own advancement as a mechanic, to spearhead local trail building, and advocating for cycling both locally and regionally.

As a mechanic, I have several years doing neutral support, experience as a team mechanic, and experience supporting local rides, races, club events. I consistently strive to ensure that bicycles function flawlessly by foreseeing issues and working with the riders, soigners, coaches and other mechanics. Even with decades of experience as a shop mechanic and team mechanic, and continue to pursue greater involvement in this sport as a US Pro Mechanic, and UCI Pro Mechanic.

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