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
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.


Related questions

Q: Why does a chime sound when my headlights are on, the engine is off and the driver’s door is open?

The reminder system in your Altima is there to help ensure that you don’t forget small but critical things like buckling your seat belt or taking the key out of the ignition when you leave the car. You’ll also hear...

Q: What would cause my lights to flicker on and off and cause the vehicle to stall

Hi there. I would need to know what kind of car this is to be able to accurately tell you what may be going on. It sounds like a bad connection though. If the battery and alternator are now good...

Q: Headlight stuck

The flip-up headlights have motors in them that enable the flip motion. The fuses in the motor circuit, motors, and wiring, all should be checked for wear or damage. The motor itself may have failed. Have an experienced technician, like...