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Troubleshooting a malfunctioning headlight

Troubleshooting a malfunctioning headlight

Maybe you’ve noticed a flickering light coming from your car’s dashboard. Perhaps it flickers on and off, or perhaps it blinks on and off. Whatever the case, this is extremely common among headlights on modern vehicles. This is a sign that there’s a short in the power system, and you’ll need to look into it. Other times, you might notice your headlight is just not working at all. This can happen for a number of reasons. You need to narrow down the issue to find out what’s wrong. These are the possible causes of a headlight failing to turn on:

  • Headlight switch (or “headlight button”) is broken.
  • Bulb is burned out.
  • Fuses are blown.
  • The headlight mechanism itself needs to be replaced.

This is the first thing you need to check out. Headlight switches come in many different varieties. Some are automatic, turning the headlights on when the car starts up in the morning or when you turn the headlights on. Others are manual, where you twist the headlight switch to turn the lights on and off. Others the headlight switch has no effect on whether the headlights come on or stay off. You need to check whether your headlight switch is manual, automatic, or does nothing when you turn the switch on or off. 

To do this, you’ll need something to check the headlight switch. You know, a screwdriver. If you have one lying around your house, that’ll do, but you might need to go out and buy one. If you don’t have a screwdriver, you can probably get away with probing the headlight switch with a penknife. If that doesn’t work, it’ll be time to take your car to a Mechanic. Next, you need to find out what the switch does. Go to a car parts store and look up “headlight switch.” You’ll probably find that there are three different kinds: manual, automatic, and nothing. The manual headlight switch will turn the lights on and off, while the automatic headlight switches will have a sensor that turns the lights on when it gets dark and turns the lights off when it gets light. The nothing switches don’t do anything. Which headlight switch is in your car?

Headlight fuse blows out

Here are some quick steps to troubleshoot a headlight fuse that keeps blowing out:

  1. Let the car cool down. Unplug the light and pull the switch. At this point, see if the fuse blows. If not, then we can safely conclude that the problem does not lie with the wiring.
  2. Ensure that the bulb is working and is of the correct wattage.
  3. If the problem still persists, consult a mechanic.

Headlight Flickers On and Off

Faulty headlights can be fatal for you as well as the vehicle on the other side of the road. Should your car’s headlights flicker, it is imperative that you troubleshoot the problem. Most commonly, a poor wiring connection is the culprit here.

Try wiggling the wires softly, without accidentally electrocuting yourself. If you see a wire falling out of place, you know it’s guilty. Repair the wiring by making a stronghold connection in the interfaces. A flicker is often a result of discontinuous electrical supply to the headlights. 

Additional Reads

Car Maintenance Tips: 14 things to look out for!

Why does the Mechanic always “find” something else that is wrong with your car when you go in for a simple oil change?

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