headlightOne evening, you turn on your car to drive home from work, only to find that a light is out. While it could be the bulb, the problem might involve the multifunction switch, the daytime light module, the relay or a sensor. What could be going on?

When It’s Just One Light

Generally, one bulb burns out and you need to replace it. From a technical perspective, all bulbs have a lifespan that factors in vibrations, hours of use and the tungsten filament inside. Also, if you tend to drive more at night, your lights will go out sooner than if you drive during the day. The standard life span of a bulb is 600 to 2,000 hours, which means you should only have to change it every five or six years.

When your car has Xenon headlights, the issue becomes more complicated. Along with a bad bulb:

  • It may have gotten loose
  • The socket is corroded
  • The igniter is having issues
  • There’s a bad ground connection or similar wiring issue
  • The bulb may have cracked or is leaking

Both Headlights Don’t Work

Two bulbs seldom go out at the same time. Instead, your car could be experiencing a voltage issue that involves the fuse, relay, module, switch, dimmer or wiring. Specifically, the wires that connect the headlight to the main battery are known to burn or get loose, which directly affects the lights.

On the other hand, a bad switch could be the result of simple wear and tear – after years of use, this part simply burns out. With the dimmer, your lights should partially work – you’ll get a high or low beam but not both. In this case, your car will need to have the full switch replaced.

Inconsistent Brightness

Do your headlights dim without command? Does the brightness randomly change as you’re driving? More often than not, you’re dealing with a charging system issue, such as a bad alternator or a slipping drive belt.

But this could sometimes be a physical issue, including:

  • Dirty headlights that need to be cleaned
  • Moisture inside the lens cover that causes fogging
  • Discoloration of the plastic cover
  • Lights that were knocked out of place and aren’t aiming correctly

With this group of issues, you’ll have to examine the light cover for any accumulated dirt or moisture, which reflect the light back inside. While this could be resolved with a simple cleaning, it may point to a greater problem: Something in the light’s housing is cracked and leaking, causing moisture to accumulate.

In any case, your headlights are a key safety feature, essential for nighttime visibility – both to see the road ahead and for other drivers to see you. Not addressing this issue greatly increases your chances of getting into an accident.
To have your headlights examined, reach out to DaSilva’s Auto Body for a diagnostic appointment. To schedule a time, contact our Naugatuck location today.