Q: Headlight flickers, then goes completely out

asked by on

When I start my car both headlights are on and working. Not even a minute later the passenger side lowbeam flickers, then goes completely out. Can you please point me in the right direction

My car has 117000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If the vehicle has conventional halogen headlamps, then I’d look for a loose or broken ground to the headlights, either at each individual headlamp, or the headlamp circuit. If the vehicle is equipped with HID (high intensity discharge) headlights, then there may be two possibilities. The HID bulbs themselves may be bad, but the second part - the ballasts, or ignitiors, for the bulbs may be bad. HID bulbs do not have a metal filament like halogen bulbs. They are filled with xenon gas. This gas requires a lot of voltage to light off. The ballasts, take the 12 volts from the vehicle and amplify it to 35,000 volts or more. That’s why HID bulbs kind of look like a flash bulb when they first light, then take a moment or so to achieve full brightness. Once lit, they only require about 35 watts to maintain their brightness where halogens require 55+. You can try replacing the headlight bulbs first. HID bulbs are not cheap but they’re less expensive than the alternative. If the ballasts are bad, they are part of the headlight assembly. Very few - if any - manufacturers offer the ballast as a separate replacement part. You’d most likely have to replace the headlight assemblies.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Headlight flickers, then goes completely out

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Steering wheel doesn't return back to the center

Hi there. The condition you are describing is often a symptom of a steering column failure. The steering column is comprised of several individual sections, starting at the steering rack, and continuing to the steering wheel itself. Sometimes on newer...

Q: ABC Malfunction Light is on

The power steering pump is the most common failure for the ABC light being on. The pump has an internal pressure sensor that will indicate when the pump pressure is below specifications. I would recommend having a mechanic like one...

Q: Trunk won't lock

Hello. When you say the trunk won't lock, I am assuming that the trunk lid will latch closed but you are able to open the trunk after remotely locking the car. If your car is equipped with keyless ignition, be...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
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...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...