They could be dirty, old, or not getting the power they need. The solutions could be new bulbs, a thorough clean, repair or replacing faulty batteries and alternators, or cleaning up your wiring.
To get your headlamps back up to maximum brightness, Fixter is ready to help. We’ve got the finest network of fully qualified mechanics ready and waiting to put any problem straight. Even better—it’s easy and effortless with our completely contactless end-to-end service.
How do you fix dim headlights?
Almost all of us would reach straight for a new bulb when we think our headlights are losing power, but it’s not always what you need. The following tips will help you figure out if you’ve got a bad earth connection or your battery is on its last legs.
It could even be something as simple as giving the lens case a proper clean; that can improve visibility by far more than you’d expect. Another common issue is how your lights are set. If they’re not aligned correctly, they certainly won’t be illuminating your way as they should.
What are the common causes of dim headlights?
Your old bulbs are on their way out
Risk level – Low
What to do – Replace the old bulbs with new ones.
If your bulbs are old and show signs of ageing, then replacing them could be a good place to start.
The headlight case (or lens) is worn or dirty
Risk level – Low
What to do – Clean or replace the headlight casing.
It’s a simple solution to an often-overlooked problem. Cleaning your headlights can significantly improve the quality of your beam. A drive-through car wash won’t do as good a job as a thorough manual clean, especially when using a headlight cleaning kit designed to provide optimum results.
Scrubbing the clear plastic headlamp with toothpaste or T-Cut can bring a lovely clear shine back to a dulling matt cover.
The beam alignment isn’t set properly
Risk level – Low
What to do – Have the beam alignment tested and adjusted as necessary.
If your headlights are pointing in the wrong direction, or even if they’re only a little way out, they won’t illuminate the parts of the road you need. Misaligned headlamps can easily be mistaken for dim bulbs.
Poor electrical connections and corroded wires
Risk level – Medium
What to do – Have the wiring and earth wires tested.
Where wires are corroded, rusty, or broken, your lights won’t receive the correct flow of power they need to operate at 100%. Cleaning connections can make quite a difference, especially with the ground or earth cable/wire. Giving the ground/earth connection to the vehicle chassis a good clean could be all you need.
Your battery or alternator isn’t providing enough power
Risk level – Medium
When your engine is running, your lights are fed electricity by the alternator—when it isn’t running, they rely on your battery. If your lights flicker or are dim when you’re driving, it could be down to a faulty alternator. If your lights dip and flicker at low revs or when ticking over, but not when you press the accelerator, then there might be an issue with your battery.
How much does it cost to fix dim headlights?
The average cost of replacing a headlight bulb in the UK, according to our Fixter data, is around £28.79 to £38.20.
Can a bad battery cause headlights to dim?
Yes. If a battery isn’t holding its charge sufficiently, it can’t provide the electric components of your car with the power they need as and when they need it. Check the battery, and if it’s time for a new one—replace it.
Do car bulbs lose brightness?
Yes, they can. Halogen lights are known to dim over time, and traditional bulbs also lose brightness as they age. Bulbs can become tainted with a brown or yellow, dirty film within the bulb, affecting their brightness levels.
Do headlights get dim with age?
Another reason that headlights dim with age, as we previously touched upon, is the continual abuse from the weather your headlight lens receives—especially from the rain and dirt thrown up from the road. A worn headlamp cover or casing will impact the strength of your beam when badly scratched or corroded.
How can you tell if a headlight fuse is blown?
All of your car’s electrical components are protected by fuses. If your headlamp fuse blows, your lights should stop working. However, if the low beam works and the high beam doesn’t, it’s more likely a problem with the relay that controls them. To narrow down the problem, check the fuse wire is in one piece and isn’t blown out.
If your headlights are causing concern, one of our trusted mechanics can visit you to track down the issue. Book an appointment with Fixter, and we’ll run a diagnostic test or carry out a mechanical examination to pinpoint the problem. Once we understand what it is, we’ll explain how we’re going to fix it and what it will cost.
Fixter is revolutionising the car maintenance industry, one repair at a time. Fixter was founded to make car maintenance as easy as booking a taxi. Digital, transparent and stress-free, with world-class customer service. Since launching in Manchester in 2017, Fixter has expanded to more than 100 towns and cities across the UK and provided thousands of car owners with honest, convenient and affordable car repair services.