Your car's headlights can act up, and if there's ever an issue with your headlights, you must fix it immediately. To assure you, and others on the road, are safe, you can't drive without properly working headlights. Any car, whether new or old, can fall a victim to a variety of headlight problems, and many of which relate to your car's headlight switch.
Possible Headlight Problems
There are many issues you could notice with your headlights, and they'll be easy to spot. If you notice that your lights aren't working, and won't turn on, or your low beams won't work, your car likely needs the headlight switch to be replaced.
What is the Headlight Switch?
Your car's headlight switch is a combination of three different switches all created into a single switch. The headlight switch is responsible for managing your car's parking lights, driving lights, and high beams. Depending on your car, your high beams may be controlled by your driving lights switch, and some cars may have a separate system for the high beams that won't link to the other light switches at all.
The headlight switch is usually used with a relay, which directly manages your lights. The relay is designed with a piece of metal and a magnet connected to it, with coil close to it. If a current shoots through the coil, a magnetic field is created and the magnet will be pulled in a direction to cause the switch to close, which turns your lights on. When a current is closed, a new one is created which travels from your car battery to your headlights. There are separate relays for other lights in your car such as your parking lights and high beams.
Some newer vehicles are designed with light sensors which power the relays. The sensors will automatically set your dim lights on when there's daylight outside, and shut your bright lights off. Once it starts to get darker out, the sensor will turn your brighter lights on. The driver of the vehicle should be able to turn the high beams on or off if necessary regardless of the sensors reading.
Testing the Headlight Switch
If you believe your headlight switch isn't working properly, you should test it. It's not difficult to test your headlight switch, but you'll have to be in a dark enough area to see the lights turn on. Make sure all your lights are working when you test your headlight switch. This includes your dashboard lights, high beams, parking lights, and all other driving lights. If you happen to find that some lights aren't working, and the problem is not the bulb itself, you will have to replace your headlight switch.
Guide to Replace the Headlight Switch
It shouldn't be too difficult for anyone to replace their headlight switch. There are only a few steps that you must follow in order to properly replace it with a new one. The first thing you'll need to do is disconnect your battery (the negative cable) and wait 10-15 minutes before starting this guide.
Step 1 – Removing the Headlight Switch from Dash
First off, get access to the headlight switch, which is located in the dash. Take off all screws located close to the headlight switch and/or remove the ring, which keeps your headlight switch fastened in place, from the area. Remove the headlight switch from the dash slowly and detach any wire plugs. Make sure you don't let the wire plugs fall out of the dash as you might not be able to pick them up depending on where they land.
Step 2 – Removing the Headlight Switch from Case
Turn the headlight switch on and press the case button, then take the switch out of the case. You may need to use a screwdriver if there are multiple buttons to release the switch. There may also be a nut which needs taken out, to remove the bezel, located on the bottom of the headlight switch, so it can be easily removed.
Step 3 – Installing the New Headlight Switch
Now that the old headlight switch is removed, place the new headlight switch into the case and if needed, put the bezel and nut back in place. Connect the wire plugs back to the headlight switch case carefully and place the headlight switch in the dash from its original position. Make sure you don't compromise the wires connected to the switch as they can get tied up easily and that would lead to further problems.
Now that you have replace the headlight switch you can replace anything else which was removed (screws, trim, etc), and connect the negative wire back to your battery. To make sure no mistakes were made in the process, just test the headlight switch again.