Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...


Related questions

Q: How Long Are Headlights Bulbs Supposed to Last

The lifespan of a headlight bulb in a vehicle is not possible to predict with much accuracy. There are just too many variables affecting how long your bulbs will last. These factors include: Wattage rating of the lights....

Q: How do I use the high beams?

The high beams are extra powerful lights that provide added visibility for the driver. To turn them on, push the turn signal lever forward until it snaps into place. To turn off the high beams, pull the lever back towards...

Q: How do I control the map light?

The map light provides a small amount of light over the front seats for when you need extra interior lighting. The map light has three settings: Off (light will stay off until you change the setting), On (light will stay...