Symptoms of a possible broken headlamp dimmer switch

Article by Christian A., on September 5, 2018

Depending on the situation, you may need to switch between the high and low beams of the headlights. The headlamp dimmer switch is there to ensure that the correct beam is employed on a certain road situation.

The headlights are normally turned on at night to light up the road ahead, ensuring that the driver gains enough visibility to keep the trip as safe as possible. By default, the low beam is used when the headlight is turned on. Low beams illuminate the road at short ranges up to around 150 meters, making it usable when driving in urban areas. However, when the road is poorly it, there is a need to activate the high beam for long-range illumination.

High beams are usually used on the highway as they can provide illumination on distances of more than 150 meters. To shift from the low beam to the bright high beam, you need to use the headlamp dimmer switch.

However, there are situations when you need to switch back from the high beam to the low beam. When there are oncoming vehicles, you have to switch back to low beam since high beam lights can blind drivers from the opposite lane.

It is recommended to switch to low beam when the oncoming vehicle is within 150 meters of your car. Likewise, low beams should be used in heavy rain, snow or sleet. In foggy conditions, high beams could bounce off cloud particles and reflect back at the driver, which means low beams are more suitable in this situation.

To be able to shift from low beam to high beam and vice-versa, the headlamp dimmer switch is an important tool. But no thanks to frequent use, the switch wears out and could fail. When the switch fails or malfunctions, it could be a matter of life death not for your car’s occupants, but also for those of other vehicles on the road and even pedestrians. Good thing is that you can detect whether the headlamp dimmer switch by taking note of these three symptoms.

You can’t the turn headlights on

If the headlights don’t turn on, there might be a lot of causes, and one of them of is a broken dimmer switch. If this happens, better have your car checked properly as a non-working headlight is great safety issue.

Dimmer switch is stuck on a single headlight setting

If the switch is stuck on one setting, you won't be able to switch between low beam and high beam. This means that the dimmer switch could be failing or is already broken.

The headlight won’t switch between low and high beams

When the dimmer switch isn't stuck and it won’t properly select the correct beam setting, then there could be some problems. Usually, this is caused by the contacts wearing out or failing. In this case, the headlight dimmer switch might need to be replaced.

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