Low Beam Problems
Updated Wednesday Mar 28, 2018
One or both of the low beam headlights do not work when the driver turns them on.
The low beam don't turn on, but the high beams work. Below you will find some common issues related to low or high beam lights. In this article, we will discuss a few items that you need to check if you are having low beam problems. Here are a few car models that seem to suffer from low beam problems:
This problem can be caused by multiple failed parts including bad headlight switch, burned low light bulb, bad electrical connection, defective combination switch etc.
Step 1: Check Fuses
The low beams and high beams have their designated fuses for each of the circuit. In some car models, you will have separate fuse for the left and right low beams. Locate the fuse box under the engine and on the side of the dashboard. Find the fuse for the low beam and for the high beam.
If your lights are working on high beam but not on low beam, check the fuses first. Fuses are very inexpensive and easy to replace. If you find a burned out fuse order a box of 120 assorted fuses from on Amazon and replace the burned fuse with the same color, which should also be the same ampere rating.
Step 2: Headlamp Bulb
The next thing that you should check is the headlight bulb. You can easily replace the light bulb yourself. Depending on the bulb and design of your headlights you may low and high beam integrated into one. This is common in bulbs types such as the 9007 or 9004. A defective light bulb can be easily identified as you will notice the filament broken inside the bulb. Note that some cars have separate bulbs for the low and the high beams. In others, one light bulb has two filaments, one for the low and the other for the high beam. Carefully inspect the contact at the terminals of the light bulb. In the picture above you can see how the insulation had melted.
Step 3: Light Switch
If you checked the above items and you didn't?t resolve the problem with your headlights the next thing to check is the light switch. The light switch on the dash turns on the light, but switching between low and high beams is performed with the lever on the steering wheel column. This is known as the multi-function combination switch which is typically integrated with the turn signal switch.
To replace the multi-function combination switch it is required that the steering wheel is removed. This is a Do-It-Yourself project and should take you no more than two hours. An experienced mechanic should be able to replace the switch in about one hour.
Step 4: Relay
In some models, the problem could also be the low or high beam relay. The relays are located in the fuse box in the engine compartment. Replacement relays can be purchased on Amazon and can be easily replaced by any car owner. You can buy Automotive Replacement Relay on Amazon for a fraction of dealer prices.
Step 5: Further troubleshooting
If you have the circuit diagram and a multimeter such as the Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters, you can do further troubleshooting to diagnose this problem. A few things that you should check is to find our if the light switch is receiving power. Check if power is being transmitted to the multi-function combination switch. Switch between the high and the low beam and see if there is continuity at the terminals of the light and the combination switch. You can not perform much troubleshooting without a multimeter so start by getting a Top Rated Digital Multimeter from Amazon.
The cost to repair high low beam problems
If the problem is a blown fuse or a light bulb, most mechanics should be able to find those problems in less than 30 minutes. You will have to pay for half an hour rate and for parts. This repair can range from $50 to $120.
If the multifunction combination switch needs to be replaced, you are looking at a $200-$300. In some cases, the repair can cost even more, as the cost of purchase for the multifunction combination switch can vary greatly. You could save on the parts by ordering your multifunction combination switch and have any mechanic install it.
Search for multifunction combination switch.
FAQ: When should you use LOW beam?
You should use the low beam under these conditions.
- When it is dark
- If it foggy, snowing or heavy rain.
If there is low visibility you don?t want to use the high beam. Use the low beam lights to see better in short distances. High beams will not help you much and can cause more problems as the light get scattered.
FAQ: When should you use HIGH beam?
Use the high beam lights under the following conditions.
- Rural or poorly lit roads
- Extreme weather during the day
High beams produce more light and project further away. They are only used on highways and rural roads. High beams are very bright so if you have other cars approaching you on the other side of the road, make sure to switch to low beams until the other car passes you.
Also do not keep the high beams on, if you are following another car in front of you closely.