6 Possible Causes for Headlight Flickering

  • Jul 9, 2021
image of car headlights image of car headlights

Headlight flickering isn’t just an annoying inconvenience — it can also prove dangerous on the road! Learn what causes flickering headlights and what you can do to fix it with these helpful tips.

1. Dying Battery

One of the most common causes of headlight flickering is a dying battery. Your headlights rely on power from the battery to function properly. If the battery is failing, flickering, or dimming headlights may be the result. In this situation, you’ll want to get a free battery inspection from your local Tires Plus. If your battery is causing your headlights to flicker, it may be time to purchase a new one.

A car battery typically lasts three to five years. However, frequent short trips, leaving your car parked for long periods, driving a vehicle that has many aftermarket electrical accessories, or living in a very hot or very cold climate can decrease the lifespan of a battery.

Regardless of if your battery is to blame, it's best not to ignore flickering or dimming headlights. For one thing, flickering headlights may jeopardize your safety on the road, as this issue may make your car less visible to other vehicles. Additionally, flickering headlights could signal a serious problem with your vehicle’s electrical system.

2. Failing Alternator

When the alternator starts to give out, your car’s electrical output is affected. This could result in flickering, dimming, or inoperative headlights, as the headlights depend on power from the vehicle's battery. When the alternator is unable to charge the battery, the vehicle's electrical system will quickly drain the battery. If you find yourself in this scenario, be sure to get your alternator checked by a qualified technician and see whether it needs to be fixed or replaced.

Keep in mind that when your car’s battery light illuminates, it usually indicates that your alternator is failing or there is an issue charging the battery.

3. Worn-Out Bulbs or Lamps

If the bulbs or lamps of your headlights are old or damaged, it can cause the headlights to flicker. Fortunately, this can be a relatively quick fix. Bring your vehicle into your local Tires Plus, and one of our technicians can replace the old or damaged bulbs or lamps.

4. Loose Connection or Fuses

When the headlights flicker, it could mean that there is a loose connection or the fuse may not be properly seated. You may especially notice this problem when you’re driving on a rough surface, such as a gravel road. Loose connection and fuse issues can be tricky to find, so it's best to bring your vehicle into your nearest Tires Plus to properly diagnose your electrical system issues.

5. Bad Wiring

Sometimes, a headlight may start flickering due to physical damage to headlight components. The inside of the connector may start to melt, causing a poor connection to the bulb. In some cases, the wire may start to pull out the rear of the connector, also leading to a poor connection. 

Addressing this problem may involve replacing the damaged components. Since doing so involves disconnecting electrical components, getting an inspection from a qualified technician might light the way. 

6. Faulty Headlamp Switch

If the electrical system and the computer system of your car aren’t “talking,” you may end up with flickering headlights. A failing headlamp switch, in some cases, may cause this condition. You might be able to resolve this by having a new headlamp switch installed. Or, it may require a deeper dive into your car’s computer or electrical system, including the fuses, relays, switches, battery, and alternator.

When seeking solutions for faulty headlights, Tires Plus has the expert technicians and services you need to get the job done right. Visit your local Tires Plus for a free battery inspection or replacement today!

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