Three Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Headlights

Your headlights are an important safety component, especially at night or during inclement weather. In some states, you can be ticketed if your headlights are out of order. Sometimes, they can stop working without you even noticing, especially if you don't drive at night very often. It's important that you or your mechanic check your lights regularly even if you rarely use them. Here are a few common headlight problems to look out for.

The bulbs are burned out:

Bulbs aren't meant to last forever and they will burn out eventually. If you have multiple bulbs and only one burns out, then your headlights will be dim. Turning on your brights to compensate for a burned-out bulb in one lens may not work as well as it sounds in theory. In some cases, you can change only the one bulb and be on your way. However, most modern headlights are sealed and cannot be opened, so you will likely need to replace the entire assembly.

You have a bad fuse or wire:

If both your headlights stop working at once, then check your headlight fuse. The headlight fuse is most likely to be located under the dashboard. A blown fuse will have what looks like a broken wire in the middle of the fuse, similar to a broken filament in a light bulb. Have the fuse replaced with a fuse of the same amperage. If you find that you're blowing headlight fuses often, then check for other issues such as shorts in the wiring. These shorts may be difficult to trace, but an experienced mechanic can quickly check common problem areas.

Your headlights are dirty:

Though keeping your headlights looking good is mostly a cosmetic problem, serious fogging or yellowing can actually dim your lights. If you have modern plastic lenses, that plastic can accumulate a crust that thickens over time. It is caused by a combination of age, heat, road debris, and moisture. To prevent this issue, make a regular habit of specifically cleaning your headlight lenses from the beginning. If you have just discovered this issue after they've been crusted for a while, then there are several techniques to remove the build-up yourself, or you can call a professional.

To remain safe on the road, you'll need to make sure your headlights are working and bright. You and your mechanic should be checking them regularly. If you're having any kind of lighting problem, whether it's your taillights or your headlights, see a mechanic like White Pass Garage to make sure you don't have a deeper electrical issue.