Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Headlight Closure Relay

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Headlight Closure Relay

The headlight closure relay, also commonly known as the headlight motor relay, is a component that is found on vehicles equipped with motorized “pop up” or retracting headlights, that open and close. While motorized headlights are no longer commonplace with newer vehicles, they are still found on some older road going passenger cars. The headlight closure relay is the electrical relay that controls power to the headlight door motors, and allows them to open and close. When current is fed to the relay, the power circuit to the headlight is completed and the headlights will change position.

1. Headlight doors don’t open

One of the first symptoms of a failed headlight closure relay is headlight doors that don’t open. If the headlight closure relay fails it will not be able to provide the power for the headlight motors to open the headlights. The headlight bulbs may still turn on, however the headlights will be stuck in the closed position, and therefore unable to provide any light for the driver.

2. Headlight doors stuck open

Another symptom of a bad or failing headlight closure relay is headlights that remain stuck in the open position. If the relay fails when the headlights are opened it will leave the headlights stuck in the open position. The headlights may still be able to provide forward facing illumination, however they will not be able to retract. Some headlights may still be retracted manually, by turning a knob on the motor, however they will have to be manually opened and closed every time.

3. Headlight doors operate erratically and open or close on their own

Erratic headlight door operation is another symptom of a possible bad or failing headlight closure relay. A faulty relay may cause the headlight motors to malfunction and behave erratically. The headlights may open and close suddenly, on their own, or rapidly open and close, preventing the headlights from providing proper illumination. A faulty motor, or wiring can also produce similar symptoms, so having the vehicle properly diagnosed is highly recommended.

While headlight closure relays will not be found on most newer cars and trucks, they are still a component that can fail and require service, on specific older vehicles. If you suspect that your headlight closure relay may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the relay should be (replaced)[https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/headlight-closure-relay-replacement].

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

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Need to permanently disable the anti-theft kit

The only way to disable the system is by unlocking the doors or using a factory remote. If the door does not work, then it may have a bad switch on the key lock that needs replaced.

Q: electrical ( headlights )

It is possible both bulbs are burned out. The low beam filament in each bulb should be tested with an ohmmeter. The bulbs can also be powered off the car to see if both filaments work but be wary of...

Q: Door not closing.

Ford actually issued a recall regarding faulty door latches. I suggest calling your local Ford dealer with the VIN of your vehicle to see if it is covered. If not, a trained mechanic, like one from YourMechanic, can install a...