Headlights are essential safety features in cars, especially during night driving. Most people do not know there are differences between high-beam and low-beam headlights. A high beam cannot substitute for a low beam. In the same manner, a low beam cannot substitute for a high beam.
The headlights can fail in different ways. Sometimes, a headlight bulb can fail and still light. A good example is when one low-beam headlight not working. Auto manufacturers wire low-beam and high-beam headlights on different circuits. This way, a low beam on a single side can fail while the high beam on that side is still functioning.
This article will explain why one headlight is not working, but a high beam does. You’ll also learn how to fix the underlying issues. But first, let’s examine the probable causes.
What causes one Low-beam Headlight not Working?
There are several causes of low beam headlight not working on one side. A blown fuse is one of the most common headlight issues I have fixed in my garage. Here are my experiences with what I found to be the possible causes. But before we go ahead, always check the headlight fuses before narrowing down to other causes.
Burnt headlight bulbs
If the left or right headlight is not working, it could be you have a burnt bulb. As explained earlier, headlamp bulbs can fail in several ways. Only the high beam or low beam can fail. If one side headlight won’t work on a low beam, you likely have a failed bulb.
But if both low-beam headlights stopped working, the bulbs are most likely not the culprit. This is because it is quite rare for both bulbs to fail at the same time.
Another likely reason why headlights won’t work on low beams is a lousy headlight relay. There’s a relay inside the fuse box that works in harmony with the switch on the steering column or dashboard to control the headlights.
The relay has a solenoid inside, which can become faulty and require replacement over time. If this is the root cause, the low-beam headlight may not light until you replace the bad relay.
Lousy multifunction switch
The multifunction switch inside the vehicle can go bad over time. This switch controls several functions like windshield wipers, turn signals, single switch control, headlights, and more.
The multifunction switch can become faulty and prevent one of these features from functioning as needed. However, it is essential to note that this is a possible but unlikely reason why one led headlight is not working.
As explained earlier, if you’re asking what are the most probable causes of one low beam headlight not working? You should think of a blown fuse. A blown fuse is the most common reason why one side’s low-beam headlights fail to work while the other side is working.
Automakers protect every electrical system component in a car with fuses. Most fuses in vehicles have a tiny metal strip running across two terminals. The small metal strip transmits electric flow from one terminal to the other and is designed to melt whenever there’s a power surge within the system.
Once the metal strip melts, it’ll prevent electric flow from traveling to the system it is protecting. Of course, this will prevent that component from working.
How do you fix Low-Beam Headlights not working?
You’ve seen the probable causes of one low beam not working, but how do you fix low beam headlights not working? Since there are several causes, there are several ways to fix them. Firstly, you have to start by tracking the root cause of the problem.
Replace blown fuse
It is essential to always start diagnosis from the most common probable causes. For example, if your headlights’ one low beam is not working, you need to locate the fuse boxes and test the fuses responsible for the headlights.
Cars usually have two fuse boxes—one underneath the steering wheel and the other in the engine bay. On most cars, the manufacturers place the headlight fuses inside the fuse box underneath the steering wheel. Therefore, you should start your diagnosis from this place.
Open the fuse box and locate the headlight fuses following the diagram on the fuse box cover. You will likely see three to four different fuses for the headlamps. Test them with a test light and ensure they are working correctly. If any of them is faulty, replace them with another fuse of the same amperage.
Inspect and replace bad relays
If all the fuses are in good condition, you have to narrow down to the headlight relays. Check them and ensure they are working correctly. If the relays are bad, replace them accordingly.
Change dead bulb
As explained earlier, bulbs can die in several ways. A bulb’s low beam can fail while the high beam is still working. In the same similitude, the high beam can fail while the low beam is still working.
If one side of the headlight is lighting in both low and high beams, translate the bulb to the other side of the lamp and see if it will work there. If that bulb works on both sides, you have a dead bulb that needs replacement.
It’s also possible to have one headlight not working after replacing bulbs. It usually means wrong installation or manufacturing defects. Therefore, you have to ensure that you installed the bulb correctly and the bulb is in good condition before heading to other feasible solutions.
Check and replace the multifunction switch.
As reiterated above, the turn signal, wiper blades, or headlights will stop working if the multifunction switch fails. Therefore, if one or more of these components stops working, the multifunction switch can be the culprit.
If all the potential solutions above prove abortive, try changing the multifunction switch. However, this should be the last thing you should look into because it is less likely to be the root cause. Check out this well-detailed article where I explained how to diagnose headlight bulb problems.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: Why is my left low beam not working?
Something is wrong if the right or left low beam is not working. It could be the multifunction switch, one of the headlight fuses, the headlight switch, the headlight relay, or the dimmer switch. The common and easiest fix among them is a blown fuse.
If a blown fuse is the root cause, you can rectify the problem with $10 to $15 if you fix it yourself. But kindly note that the repair cost will be more if you have a certified technician fix it.
Q: Can you drive with one low beam out?
A non-functioning low-beam headlight does not prevent you from driving. This, however, does not mean you should run without a low beam. The fundamental laws in most states require you to drive with both lights from night till morning.
The law also states that all lights in a car should be in good working condition. The corps can pull you over and issue you a ticket. So, it’s essential to track and rectify the underlying issues.
Q: How much does it cost to fix a low beam?
The cost of fixing a low-beam light depends on the leading cause of the problem, your car model, and the technician doing the repairs. If the leading cause is a blown fuse, then budget to spend between $10 to $15 if you’re replacing it yourself. The money is to get a replacement fuse of the same amperage.
But if the root cause is a defective headlight bulb, budget to spend around $75 to $100 for the replacement. The parts should cost $25 to $75, while the service charge will be about $50 to $75. Kindly note that this is just an estimate. Therefore, the exact price can be lower or higher.
Q: Should you replace both low beams at once?
It is recommended to replace both bulbs at the same time, even if one of the bulbs is still working. This is because replacing one bulb will prevent the headlights from outputting the same light quality. Night driving has its drawbacks. So do not add to it by driving with uneven light qualities.
Q: Does AutoZone replace low beams?
Autozone is not a mechanic garage. With that in mind, they do not render mechanic services like wheel alignment, balancing, brakes, headlight replacement, etc. However, Autozone will guide you on how to replace headlights and provide all the tools and parts you need for the job.
If the cause of the low beam not working issues emanates from faulty headlights, they can help you to replace the bulb only if the bulb replacement does not affect taking off any other system components.
Q: How long should low beams last?
Both low and high beams are designed to fade out at the same time. So if you’re asking how long does a headlight last? A standard headlight bulb should last five years before needing replacement. However, most system components fade out earlier before their expected lifespan. This means your low and high beams can last up to five years and can die earlier than that.
This article has outlined the causes and how to fix one low-beam headlight not working. However, if this issue happens after replacing a headlight, the leading cause may be different. Check out this article where I explained why one headlight is not working after replacing bulbs.
In summary, a blown fuse is the most prevalent cause, and you should start your diagnosis here. If all the fuses are good, narrow down to the bulbs before heading to the relays.