What is the DRL Warning Light & What Does it Mean?

What are Daytime Running Lights (DRL)?

Daytime running lights, or DRL, have been implemented in many places around the world as an added safety measure for cars. These lights help to make cars more visible in low light situations and show that the engine is running. Systems like the daytime running lights are designed to keep you from getting into an accident so it’s important to know the warning signs that indicate their failure.

What Does the DRL Light Mean?

Every manufacturer does things a little bit differently so refer to the owner’s manual for any specific information regarding your vehicle. Usually, if the DRL light is on, it indicates that the computer has detected an issue. When you start the engine, the DRL light will come on for a few seconds or until you release the parking brake. This light should turn off afterwards once the system verifies that everything is working as intended. Typically, a faulty bulb may be the culprit, but there are fuses and relays in the circuit that can cause similar issues. Keep in mind that some systems will leave this warning light on to tell the driver that the lights are on.

Common Causes of the DRL Light

The DRL warning light may illuminate due to various common triggers, which often include issues with the bulbs, wiring, or sensors associated with the DRL system. Burnt-out bulbs are a frequent culprit, and a thorough inspection of all DRL bulbs is typically the first step in diagnosing the problem. Additionally, wiring issues, such as frayed or damaged wires, can disrupt the electrical flow to the DRLs, triggering the warning light. Malfunctioning sensors that monitor the DRL system may also inaccurately detect faults, leading to the illumination of the warning light.

Diagnosing the DRL Problem

When the DRL warning light appears on the dashboard, conducting diagnostic procedures can help pinpoint the underlying cause. Begin by visually inspecting the exterior lights, focusing on the DRL bulbs to check for signs of damage or wear. If the bulbs appear intact, the next step involves examining the fuse box to ensure that the DRL fuse is not blown. Beyond visual inspections, using a multimeter to test the continuity of wiring and voltage output at various points in the DRL circuit can provide valuable diagnostic information. Additionally, accessing the vehicle's onboard diagnostic system with a compatible scanner can retrieve error codes associated with the DRL system, guiding further troubleshooting efforts. While it’s possible to diagnose a DRL problem by yourself, we recommend seeing a mechanic to get a professional inspection.

How to Fix the DRL Light

Resolving issues with the DRL system often involves straightforward repair and maintenance tasks. For instance, if a burnt-out bulb is the culprit, replacing it with a new, compatible bulb can restore the DRL. Likewise, addressing wiring issues may require repairing or replacing damaged wires and connectors to ensure a secure electrical connection. Regular maintenance practices, such as cleaning the DRL lenses to remove dirt and debris, can also prolong the lifespan of DRL components and prevent issues from arising. Following manufacturer recommendations for bulb replacements and using high-quality replacement parts can contribute to the long-term reliability of the DRL system. It’s possible to fix the DRL problem by yourself, but we recommend reaching out to a professional mechanic to ensure nothing goes wrong when repairing.

Is it Safe Driving with the DRL Light On?

Even if the light is warning you of a fault, the car is still pretty safe to drive. As long as your car’s normal headlights are working, you have nothing to worry about. You should still have the warning light investigated by a professional as there could be a worse problem developing.

Additional Comments Regarding the DRL Light

In cases where DRL issues persist despite troubleshooting efforts, seeking professional assistance from certified mechanics or automotive technicians is advisable. Mechanics have the expertise and specialized diagnostic equipment necessary to diagnose complex DRL problems accurately. They can conduct comprehensive inspections of the DRL system, identify underlying faults, and perform repairs or replacements as needed.

Additionally, professional technicians can ensure that DRL repairs comply with manufacturer specifications and safety standards, reducing the risk of future issues and ensuring optimal performance. If your daytime running lights are malfunctioning, book an inspection with one of our mobile mechanics in your area today to come to you and diagnose the DRL Light.

Next Step

Schedule Warning Light is on Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Warning Light is on 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


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

Recent Warning Light is on Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating


Rating Summary


42 years of experience
519 reviews
42 years of experience
Hyundai Accent L4-1.6L - Warning Light is on - Tomball, Texas
Ronald was very friendly, knowledgeable, and timely. Way better treatment than the mechanics at the shops in my neck of the for both my vehicle and customer service! He even indulged my son chit-chatting with him as he worked! Thanks again!
Infiniti G35 - Warning Light is on - Tomball, Texas
He was a really good mechanic and fast... He checked for other possible solutions and he was only here for about an 1.5hrs and my car is running like it should.


24 years of experience
818 reviews
24 years of experience
Audi TT L4-2.0L Turbo - Warning Light is on - Jacksonville, Florida
On time arrival. Obviously knows autos and clearly explained potential causes of my "idiot" light being on. Could not be more convenient, either.
Nissan Frontier - Warning Light is on - Jacksonville, Florida
Always knows what questions to ask and has never tried to sell me on something that “maybe” might fix the problem. Has always given it to me straight up and gotten two of my trucks up and back on the road in one visit. GREAT Mechanic, always has the right tools for the job and just a cool guy to talk to during a stressful time. Thank you, Brian!


21 years of experience
802 reviews
21 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 V6-3.0L - Warning Light is on - West Palm Beach, Florida
Jeremy is wonderful. YourMechanic sent me Rohon first who messed up my oil change and only put half the required oil in my car triggering lights. Jeremy came out and swiftly corrected the problem. I will only use him going forward.
BMW 320i - Warning Light is on - Lake Worth, Florida
Jeremy was prompt , courteous and knowledgable and went above and beyond to be helpful . Was very happy with the visit .


37 years of experience
611 reviews
37 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee V6-3.6L - Warning Light is on Inspection - Sacramento, California
Rodney is great to work with, this is the second time he's come out to help me with my vehicle. He showed up early, took care of the issue, then thoroughly explained what was going on. I'll be happy to have him come out any time.
Jaguar XJ8 - Warning Light is on - Sacramento, California
Rodney has worked on my Jaguar before and, as usual, immediately diagnosed the problem and fixed it! Jay B. Hunt

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.


Related articles

What Does the Power Steering System Warning Light Mean?
The steering system warning light lets you know when there is an issue with the power steering system and will be disabled until fixed.
What Does the Airbag Warning Light Mean?
When the airbag warning light stays on, the airbags won't deploy for seated passengers in a collision. This could be due to a sensor issue.
What Does the Distance Warning Light Mean?
The distance warning light turns on when your car is in danger of hitting another car or obstructing object.

Related questions

Where are the supplemental restraint system warning labels located?
Your Altima includes two supplemental restraint system (SRS) warning labels. You’ll find one on the outside of the driver side sun visor, and another on the outside of the passenger side sun visor. These warning labels provide important safety information...
DRL won't turn off
Hello there, a few different faults can cause the daytime running lights to stay on. The most likely would be the headlight switch (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/headlight-switch-replacement), DRL relay (https://www.yourmechanic.com/services/fog-light-relay-replacement), or a wiring issue. Have a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic,...
Car shut off when driving, 2009 Toyota Camry
Has the Check Engine Light illuminated after the stall? A loose battery connection can cause abnormal problems on many vehicles. Have the battery and charging system tested for issues and check your maintenance schedule to make sure services are up...

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