Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Frequently Do Headlight Bulbs Burn Out?

How Frequently Do Headlight Bulbs Burn Out?

headlight burnout

Headlights aren’t just convenience accessories – they’re required for driving at night. They’re also important for safety, which is why so many modern cars come with daytime running lights as a standard feature. Of course, light bulbs have a finite lifespan, and this should be listed on the package of the bulb you purchase as you’ll eventually need to change them. If you’re finding that you have to replace your headlight bulbs very frequently, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong.

Possible reasons for frequent bulb burnout

There are several potential issues that might be resulting in shorter than usual light bulb lifespans on your car. However, bear in mind that the more frequently your lights are used, the faster they’ll burn out. If your car has auto daytime running lights (that is, more than just the parking lights), or you do a great deal of nighttime driving, you’ll definitely go through bulbs faster than other drivers. There are other possible issues:

  • Skin Contact: If you replace your own headlight bulbs and you touch the bulb’s surface with your bare skin, you’re shortening the lifespan automatically. Contact leaves oil from your skin on the bulb, which creates hotspots and shortens the bulb’s life. Wear latex gloves when changing your lights.

  • Bouncing: If the mounting location of your bulbs isn’t secure, there’s a chance that they could bounce. Excessive vibration can break the filament (the part that heats up, creating light) inside the bulb. If there’s play in the bulb after installing it in the housing, you may need a new lens.

  • Incorrect Installation: Light bulbs need to be installed smoothly, and without any jerking, prying, or other stress. It’s possible that an incorrect installation procedure is damaging the bulb.

  • Incorrect Voltage: Headlights are designed to operate with a specific voltage. If your alternator is beginning to fail, it’s possible that it’s creating voltage fluctuations. This can lead to early bulb burnout (and you’ll need to replace your alternator, as well).

  • Condensation: The interior of your headlight lens should be clean and dry. If there’s moisture inside, then this will collect on the surface of the light bulb, eventually making it blow.

These are just a few of the problems that could be causing your bulbs to fail early. The best advice would be to have the problem diagnosed and repaired by a professional mechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...


Related questions

Q: Switched to synthetic oil, now I smell burning oil, possibly engine running hotter

Hi, thanks for writing in. Synthetic oil is typically a little bit thinner than conventional oil. Often times when a vehicle is switch from conventional to synthetic this can cause oil leaks or burning oil. I would recommend changing your...

Q: Headlight on the passenger's side quit working

The lighting control module is located under the dashboard, just to the right of the steering column. It is available from a number of parts sources, including the dealer. However, you may be able to order the part online or...

Q: The clock in the car and light on the passenger airbag light

Hi there. Most of the time, the dimming and brightness of the dashboard lights are controlled by a switch on the vehicle's instrument panel or under the dash near the fuse box. In some cases, this dimming switch may become...