Have you noticed that your headlights are dimmer than they used to be? If so, you are probably wondering why. It is good that you’re proactive about diagnosing and fixing the problem because dim headlights can cause a range of complications. In the best case scenario, you’ll fail your annual car inspection. In the worst case, dim headlights can lead to serious road traffic accidents. Thankfully, the problem is usually easy to find and fix. Start with this list to see if you can identify the issue.
Why Are My Headlights So Dim?
1. Your Headlights Are Dim Because the Bulbs Are Dying
Headlight bulbs have a lifespan of anywhere from 450 to 1,000 hours. After that, the light gradually becomes dimmer before the bulbs die altogether. If you haven’t had your headlight bulbs replaced in a while, they are probably dim because you need to replace the bulbs.
2. Loose Wiring Is Making Your Headlights Dim
Old and dying bulbs may be the most obvious reason for dim headlights, but they’re far from the only possibility. Loose wire connections and other wiring problems can also create a situation where your headlights still work but put out less light than they should.
Wiring problems are more likely to be the culprit if you have attempted to make repairs yourself, recently had a minor accident, or someone tampered with your lights.
3. Your Headlights Are Dim Because Your Headlight Lenses Need to Be Replaced
The plastic coverings that protect your headlights, called headlight lenses, degrade over time, becoming oxidized as you spend more hours on the road. Oxidized headlight lenses are one of the most common reasons for dim headlights.
In this case, even brand-new headlight bulbs only emit a dim light. Your headlight lenses may have to be replaced, but they can also be fixed in some cases.
4. You May Have to Change the Lighting Settings
Newer vehicles have so many customization options that it’s easy to forget about them. Have you recently lent your car to someone else? Chances are that the lighting settings were changed, and you just have to readjust your headlight switch to make your headlights brighter.
5. There’s a Problem with Your Car’s Alternator
If your headlights shift between a brighter and dimmer output as you speed up and slow down again, a failing alternator may be to blame. The alternator could be damaged, or the belt may be loose. In both cases, the issue extends far beyond dim headlights.
What Should You Do About Dim Headlights?
Now that you know the most common causes of dim headlights, you may wonder if you can diagnose and repair the problem on your own. It is usually a bad idea to take these repairs on yourself, and DIY fixes are indeed one of the causes of dim headlights.
Take your car in to be serviced, and let your mechanic determine what the problem is and the best way to fix it. You’ve done your part — as a responsible driver, you noticed the issue quickly and took swift action. The rest is up to the professionals.
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