So ever since I finally got my Nissan Pao back after I smacked it into a deer, there’s been one little tiny thing I’ve been wanting to fix. There were other bigger things I needed to take care of first, and it’s such a tiny, insignificant detail that I never really justified making the time. At least, until this weekend. And, if I’m honest, the work:reward ratio I think would be pretty awful for most people. But, for whatever reason, not for me. Not because it wasn’t a huge pain in the ass for something that hardly anyone cares about, because it was. But it’s a detail I care about, somehow. All I did was change some tiny light bulbs in some extremely hard-to reach places. But now I have working… sidelights? Parking lights? Town lights? I’m not even really sure what they’re called.
Here’s what they are: inside the Pao’s headlights, under the primary headlamp bulb, is a tiny little extra bulb. This bulb is for what here in America we usually call “parking lights,” which usually are your turn signals burning steadily along with the taillights and side markers and other running lights, but not the headlamps. They’re lights to be seen by instead of seeing by. In some other countries these need to be white/clear lamps. Occasionally they’re worked in to the headlight unit like on my Pao; my old Reliant Scimitar did it like this, too, and the best known example is probably in those Hella double-glass headlights used on pre-’67 VW Beetles and Porsche 356s, among other cars:
See that little bulb there on the Porsche? That’s the equivalent. On my Pao, it’s in basically the same place. But the problem is getting that tiny-ass bulb out to replace it is absurdly difficult. So much of car repair is just jamming your hands into tight, awkward areas, and this is a prime example of that. You get to the bulb from behind, but the little lower bulb is behind part of the metal bracket that holds the light in and is an un-removable part of the body, leaving less than an inch to twist the little housing, slide the bulb out, change it, etc. Look:
There’s so little room there! That’s why I put off changing these bulbs for so long and why it took me way, way, way longer than changing two light bulbs ever should. In fact, in getting one of them out, I accidentally lost the old bulb through the little hole and now it’s trapped inside the headlight unit, rolling around:
Well, crap. You can barely see it, so I’m just going to leave it in there, a little reminder of, um, something. I wonder if I’ll be able to hear it rolling around?
I went through all this because I just really like the effect of these lamps. They illuminate the headlights with this dim, warm, yellow glow that I suppose I could use as DRLs or something, but, in reality, I just like. I’m not really sure they have all that much of a “purpose” but you know what? I could say the same about myself.
I tried to photograph them, but the camera just makes the headlights look on-on, which is not really what’s going on:
So, you’ll just have to trust me. The effect is strangely satisfying, and despite what an ass-pain it was and the fact that likely nobody will ever notice and scream “Hey buddy! Fantastic town lights!” as I drive past, it makes me happy.