5 Common Headlight Problems and How to Fix Them
Headlights don’t really cause any car problems. However, you should take headlight failures very seriously. No sane driver wants to be on the road after dark with malfunctioning headlights.
You can check out the following list for headlight problems car owners typically run into, with suggestions for possible fixes:
1. One Headlight Doesn’t Work
This is an easy problem to solve. If only one of the headlamps isn’t working, then this is most likely because the bulb has burnt out.
Replace the old bulb and the headlight should work as usual. When you replace one, it’s always best to check the other as well. If one bulb has died, the other might go out soon as well. As a precaution, you should consider replacing both at once.
2. Flickering Headlights
There are many reasons why headlights may flicker. The bulbs could be dying, or may not be connected to the vehicle properly. Internal wiring issues can also cause this problem.
High power-consuming accessories, like stereo systems, can draw power away from the headlights. They flicker as a result.
You should first get your car checked out by a mechanic to diagnose the exact problem. Easy fixes like properly connecting the bulbs to the car could potentially solve the problem.
You can also benefit from anti-flickering headlights (check these out in our shop). These are specialized bulbs with built-in mechanisms to reduce the chance of flickering.
3. Dull Headlights
Dull headlights are the result of two issues. Either the headlight bulbs have a problem or it’s the headlight cover.
Inspect the headlight cover for haziness or a yellowish color. Cloudy headlight covers are quite common. This occurs when the UV sealant on the covers wears off. The plastic of the covers, when exposed to sunlight, becomes oxidized.
To brighten up hazy headlight covers, first wash them with soap and water. Then you can polish it with toothpaste to remove the oxidation. There are also at-home headlight cover brightening kits.
If the issue is with the headlight bulb, consider replacing it. It’s highly recommended to switch out old halogen lights with LED bulbs. Carifax has a range of LED bulbs that are brighter than halogens, and also last a long time.
4. Poor Beam Strength
The headlights may work, but the beams are not as good as they should be. This is commonly caused by aging headlight bulbs. Replacing the bulbs may restore the old beam strength.
Foggy headlight covers can also affect how far and wide the beams go. Clean the headlight covers as instructed above to restore maximum visibility.
Hazy headlight covers are due to oxidation. So even if you wash your car daily, headlights covers are still vulnerable to this. Once you polish and clean the lenses, always remember to apply UV sealant. It’s this material that keeps the headlights from getting cloudy.
In case the beam strength continues to be unsatisfactory, you can consider replacing the bulbs. LED bulbs can create bright and powerful beams. Xenon bulbs aren’t bad either, though they don’t last as long as LEDs.
5. Headlights Flicker When Driving
Does flickering occur only when the car is moving? Are the headlights fine when the vehicle is parked?
Headlights going on and off when you drive, especially on rough roads, is almost always caused by a bad connection. Your headlights are not attached to the vehicle properly.
This is not difficult to fix. Remove the lens covers and tighten the bulbs. Make sure you don’t tighten too hard.
Be careful to check if the wires are in order. Kinking in the wires may cause flickering issues. Get the wiring checked out by an experienced mechanic to ensure the poor connection isn’t caused by a physical problem.
The vast majority of the time, headlights problems are caused by bulbs issues. Therefore, make sure your vehicle has reliable, high-quality headlight bulbs properly installed.
Your headlights shouldn’t cause problems too often. If they do, you need to get the internal system checked out by a professional mechanic.
As most headlight problems are minor, you can apply DIY fixes as explained above. So don’t panic if your headlights aren’t working. Go through the list above to see if your problem has an easy, at-home solution.