Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Headlight Bulb

headlight bulb

Headlights are some of the most important lights found on road going vehicles. They provide the illumination that helps the driver both see, and be seen when driving on the road. The light is provided by high intensity bulbs that are installed in plastic or glass headlight housings. Headlight bulbs can come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, and are designed to be replaceable when they burn out. As the lights provide illumination for low light conditions, they are very important to the overall safety and drivability of the vehicle, especially for night time driving. When the headlight bulbs fail, the vehicle can be left without the very important safety and visibility that is provided by the headlights. Usually faulty headlights will produce a few symptoms that can let the driver know that they may require attention.

1. Dim headlights

One of the first symptoms of a bad or failing headlight bulb is dim headlights. Over time headlight bulbs can wear out and begin to shine noticeably dimmer than when they were new. A dim headlight will not provide proper illumination and is also usually a sign that the bulb is approaching the end of its service life.

2. Headlights flickering on and off

Another symptom of a bad or failing headlight bulb is flickering headlights. If the headlight bulb filaments become damaged or excessively worn it can cause the bulb to flicker. A flickering bulb will usually burn out soon after the issue has begun. A flickering bulb can also be a sign of a bad harness or connection, so a proper inspection is highly recommended.

3. Headlight is out

Another, more serious, symptom of a bad headlight bulb is a headlight that is out. With regular use, headlight bulbs will eventually burn out and cease to function. A headlight that is out is usually a sign that the headlight bulb has burned out and needs to be replaced. It is recommended to replace them in pairs if possible, as the opposite headlight will also usually be near the end of it’s service life if one of them has burned out.

The headlights bulbs are some of the most important bulbs found on any vehicle as their light provides visibility and safety, which is required in low light driving situations. If your vehicle is displaying the symptoms above, or one of your headlights has burned out, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the bulb should be replaced.

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

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
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 P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control 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: What does the high beam indicator mean in a 2012 Hyundai Elantra?

The high beam indicator is located on your instrument panel. When this light is illuminated, then the high beam lights are on, or the flash-to-pass feature has been used.

Q: Lights flickering on car.

Flickering lightbulbs are usually caused by a loose connection try wiggling the connector of the problem bulb to see if thats the problem, a partially broken wire would also cause this symptom. Have a mechanic come an inspect and repair...

Q: How do I turn on the daytime running lights?

The daytime running lights are low-power lights that can be useful to use during daytime driving, and will automatically adjust depending on how dark it is outside. To turn them on, rotate the light switch (located on the turn signal...