Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Headlight Door Motor

Headlight door motors are an electrical component that is found on vehicles equipped with retracting or “pop up” headlights. While headlights with retracting doors and motors are no longer common place among manufacturers, headlight door motors are still found on certain older vehicles found on the road. The motors are controlled by the driver and serve the purpose of mechanically extending and retracting the headlights. When the motors fail it can cause issues with opening and closing the headlight doors, which can prevent the headlights from providing proper illumination. Usually bad or failing headlight door motors will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Headlight doors do not open

One of the most common symptoms of bad or failing headlight motors is headlights that do not open. If the headlight door motors fail, the headlights will not be able to extend and open. This will be an issue, as retracted headlights will not be able to provide suitable illumination for the driver. Some headlight motors can be manually extended by turning a knob, however any time they need to be opened or closed it will have to be done manually.

2. Headlight doors stuck open

Another symptom of a bad or failing headlight door motor is headlights doors that remain stuck open. If the headlight door motors fail when the headlights are extended or opened, they may remain stuck in the open position. Headlight doors that are stuck open may still be able to provide adequate lighting to drive at night, however they will require service to restore proper operation.

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

Erratic headlight door operation is another sign of a possibly faulty headlight door motor. A bad or failing headlight door motor can cause the headlights to malfunction and behave erratically. The headlights may extend and retract on their own intermittently, which may interfere with their ability to provide light. Electrical issues can also produce similar symptoms so having the vehicle properly diagnosed is highly recommended.

4. Grinding noise

Another symptom of faulty headlight door motors is grinding noises from the motors. If the motors make any sort of grinding sounds when they are in use then that may be a sign that they may be damaged and need to be replaced. Usually motors that produce grinding noises will also have problems retracting and extending the headlights.

While headlight door motors are not found on the majority of road going vehicles, they are still a component that can fail and cause problems for the vehicles that they are equipped with them. If you suspect that your vehicle’s headlight door motors may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the motors should be replaced.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(145,680)

Rating Summary
136,336
5,126
1,036
734
2,448
136,336
5,126
1,036
734
2,448

Jeff

32 years of experience
441 reviews
Jeff
32 years of experience
Chevrolet K10 - Other Inspections - Sacramento, California
On time, incredibly resourceful and helpful
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Sacramento, California
He is the best. Very knowledgeable and personable. I highly recommend him.

Theodore

15 years of experience
1293 reviews
Theodore
15 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe - Alternator - Bothell, Washington
I truly enjoyed having Theodore come and work on my car, I was a little skeptical about a company who sends mechanics to your home, but WOW was I impressed and will be using him for all of my car maintenance needs and so will my husband!
Mazda 6 - Car is slow to accelerate - Kirkland, Washington
It was a nice experience and very convenient.

Marco

28 years of experience
101 reviews
Marco
28 years of experience
Ford F-150 - Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting - Highland, California
Great experience! Marco showed up right on time and was very polite and pleasant. He got right to work and assessed my problem quickly and made recommendations for repair which I was able to take care of myself later. Very good experience and would definitely use Marco again!

Matthew

32 years of experience
934 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Pontiac Firebird - Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection - Newport News, Virginia
Arrived on time, very professional and knowledgeable - especially about my old car.

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

Related articles

How Is a Dirty Light Bulb Socket Cleaned?
Your Your car’s light bulb sockets are protected by lenses, so they won’t get as dirty as they might, but they will still accumulate dirt and grime over the years. Regular cleaning can help ensure they remain functional for a...
How Long Does a Door Latch Last?
A A door latch is located on every door on your vehicle. It is what keeps the doors shut while you are driving down the road. Each door has two handles, one on the outside and one on the inside....
How Long Does a Door Lock Switch Last?
There There is no shortage of electrical components in your vehicle today. In fact, so much of it seems to work by buttons and switches, it’s only natural that you run into problems now and then. A door lock switch...

Related questions

Headlights are really dim, car is brand new

The headlight system on your car is controlled by a module and this module will put out a low voltage to the headlights on low beam and maximum voltage on high beam. The lighting system is programmed in the module...

My headlights are not working correctly - 1996 Chevrolet Blazer

Hi there. Most of the time this is caused by a bad headlamp switch. When the switch fails, it will cause this to occur. If the switch is fine, then it may have an issue with the headlamp relay. I...

I replaced the tailight assembly but the the brake light still won't turn on.

You will need to do some further testing to figure out where the issue is. This is going to require you trace the power supply from the brake pedal to the bulb. All of the following can be the cause...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com