Headlight switch replacement from $180
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Headlight switch replacement
Headlights not working?
We are so used to just flicking a switch and something working that when the flick doesn’t work it can leave us a bit confused as to what went wrong.
If you're out at night and jump in the car to go home and the lights don’t go on, what to do? Getting home becomes rather tricky without lights and, unfortunately, the car will need to be parked up until daylight. At that point, an auto electrician will need to check over the wiring, fuses, relays and connections and one possible conclusion is that the headlight switch has failed.
What is a headlight switch?
With every make and model of vehicle being different, it’s almost guaranteed that each headlight switch is a little different to the next. However, they all serve the same function in determining which action you want the lights to perform - turn on the parking lights, headlights and high beam on or off.
Some cars have this function on a stork switch next to the steering column. Others have a switch on the dash next to the steering column. High beam function should always be within easy reach and can sometimes be separate to the headlight on-off switch. The headlight switch can sometimes be a combination switch that includes other functions such as the wipers or indicators.
Most headlight switches are of plastic construction. A dash switch is usually a round dial or toggle switch while a steering column switch is a multi-function stick that protrudes from the column. Both have electrical connectors at the back or base of the unit which connects to the lighting relay and wiring circuit. When you select the headlight function the relay opens or closes the circuit to activate that function.
The headlight switch can eventually fail. The switch can also be damaged and get knocked about, especially if it is on the steering column and used for other functions.
Symptoms a headlight switch needs to be replaced
- Lights not turning on or off when operating the switch
- Lights turn on or off without any intervention
- Flickering or erratic lights
- Broken switch
- High beam doesn’t work
- Switch stuck on or off
How is a headlight switch replaced?
- Remove steering column cover (if required)
- Unscrew the faulty headlight switch
- Disconnect wires to switch
- Remove switch
- Check old switch with the new part to ensure they are the same
- Connect wires to the new switch
- Screw in the new headlight switch
- Replace steering column cover (if required)
- Test operation of lights
Tips to remember
Electrical components are best replaced or repaired by an auto electrician. This will ensure wires are connected correctly and there is no chance of an electrical malfunction due to incorrect installation.
Always check wiring, fuses and or relays before replacing electrical components, the fault might be as simple as a blown fuse.
How important is replacing a headlight switch?
Driving without operating headlights is not an option. Even if you only drive in the daytime, you never know when the weather will change. The authorities won’t see any excuse as a good enough reason for not getting your switch fixed.