How often do your headlights cross your mind? Not that much, I am sure. When you switch off your car, you expect everything to shut down. Therefore, when the headlights do not go off, it simply means something is wrong. At this moment, all you can think about is the headlights. However, this is a common incident in cars. Nothing remains in perfect conditions forever. So it is wise to be aware of what shortcomings you may face ahead.
Reasons Why Your Headlights Would Suddenly Not Go Off
So, why would your lights still be on after switching off the engine? And what can you do about it? Here are three probable causes and how you can deal with them.
Faulty Headlight Relay
A relay connects the headlight to the engine, which provides electricity to light it. When you switch on your lights, a relay is triggered, which sends a message to the engine.
When the link breaks when the headlights are on, they will remain that way until the relay is fixed. To check whether the problem is the relay, tap on it gently. If the light goes off or flickers, the relay is the problem. To remedy this, you will have to replace the relay.
Defective Engine Timer
You have the option of automating the headlights instead of manually switching them on and off. Cars now come with the alternative where headlights will go off 3-5 minutes after the engine is off. If the timer defects, then the lights will stay on. When this happens, try to use parking brakes to trigger the headlights to go off.
Headlights Filling with Water
Headlights generate heat when they are on. When you switch them off, and the air outside starts cooling faster than the air inside, condensation will occur. Hence, the headlight may begin filling with water. Another way water would get inside would be if the headlight had a crack or worn out seal.
This way, when it rains, when you are washing the car, or an oncoming vehicle splashes water, the water can get inside it. If the damage is fixable, then replace the seal or repair the crack. If not, you will need to purchase a new one.
Procrastinating to fix this will result in fogginess which will affect the effectiveness of the headlights. The water will also cause damage to the wiring and bulbs in the headlights over time.
Headlights not working
Unlike when it’s a single headlight, you cannot suspect a burnt bulb when both are not working. A burst bulb is an easy problem because you can easily change it with a new one yourself. In this case, however, it is probably a wiring problem. Seek professional help if this happens.
How Should You Take Care of Your Headlights?
Do a routine check-up on the headlights
If anything is wrong such as dimming, one side not working, flickering, or cracks, you will notice sooner if you have regular check-ups. It will save you from any surprises. If you need to replace your headlight, you will do so beforehand.
Clean them regularly
Washing your headlights keeps off the dirt that may build up and block light from being adequately illuminated. This will affect your visibility, especially if it is rainy or misty.
How to Restore Your Headlights
Headlights wear out eventually, but instead of replacing them, you can consider restoring them. Here are a few tips you can use to achieve this at home:
- Make use of baking soda- add baking soda to water and apply on the headlight using a sponge, then rinse with warm water.
- Use toothpaste and baking soda- mix the two and use a toothbrush on the headlight. Continue to scrub until you start to see the mixture get dirty, then leave to dry. Once dry, rinse it off with warm water and a cloth.
As you have learned from above, headlights are an indispensable part of a vehicle. You, therefore, have to be keen that they are functioning correctly. If they don’t work as they should, fix them asap to avoid any accidents.
Having your headlights remain on after switching off the engine isn’t an isolated problem, so there’s no need to panic. However, it’d be best to have them checked out as soon as you can since they will drain the battery and just pile up on the things you need to fix!
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.