WhoCanFixMyCar discusses why your lights might be flickering and what you can do about it.
When your car’s lights stop working correctly, it can be dangerous, especially if you’re driving at night. That’s why it’s important to understand why this is happening - and what you can do about it - as soon as possible.
This guide covers all the possible reasons your car’s lights might be flickering.
The lights flicker while my car is running
There are six possible reasons your car’s headlights are flickering while the engine is running.
1. Failing battery
The most obvious explanation for lights that aren’t working correctly is a dying car battery. There are other symptoms to look out for, such as:
This guide explains the various options you have when your battery dies. There are also several things you can do to extend the life of your battery.
2. Faulty alternator
The alternator in your car turns mechanical energy into electrical energy, charging the car battery as you drive and powering various components. Your battery could be in perfect working order, but if the alternator can’t charge it, you’ll quickly notice signs that something isn’t right.
Alternators can sometimes be repaired, but it’s usually more cost-effective to replace them.
3. Loose connection/fuses
The flickering may be caused by a fuse that isn’t properly seated or a loose connection in the system. If this is the case, the flickering will probably be worse when driving on uneven road surfaces.
It can be challenging to locate loose connections for the untrained eye, so you may have to contact a mechanic.
4. Worn bulbs
Light bulbs don’t last forever; as they age, they sometimes stop working correctly. The same applies if they are damaged. You’ll be pleased to know this problem is easy and cheap to fix - all you have to do is replace the bulbs.
You can fit new bulbs yourself, or, if you don’t feel confident, get a mechanic to do it for you.
5. Wiring issues
When various headlight components are damaged, it can cause flickering lights. For example, if the inside of the connector melts, it causes a poor connection to the bulb, making it come on intermittently. Wires can also work themselves loose at the back of the connector, creating the same results.
6. Defective headlamp switch
The final explanation is that your headlamp switch is faulty, preventing the computer system from communicating with the electrical system. Sometimes, this can be fixed by replacing the headlamp switch - usually in older or high-mileage vehicles - while a deep dive into the electrical or computer system is required at other times, particularly in newer cars.
The dashboard lights flicker and my car won’t start
These symptoms typically indicate one problem, as discussed below.
Bad ignition switch
The ignition switch connects the circuit that provides voltage for the starter motor and creates the right conditions for the engine to crank. When it fails due to damage or old age, your car will struggle to start.
Other symptoms of a bad ignition switch are:
Car starts suddenly, then stalls
Problems turning or removing the key
Engine won’t crank
Electrical issues (such as flickering lights)
A bad ignition switch can have many causes, such as corroded terminals, loose connections, bad wiring and electrical surges. That’s why getting a mechanic to investigate and provide an accurate quote is a good idea.
If you found this guide helpful, you might also like...