Posts Tagged ‘headlights’


Why Are My Turn Signals Flashing Irregularly?


My turn signals suddenly started flashing irregularly.  The light on the dash flashes erratically as well.  Is there something wrong with the headlights?

-Hank D., MA


Whenever turn signals start flashing like that, there is usually either something wrong with the headlights or the turn signal flasher relay.

If both the front and back turn signals are actually flashing, your problem is most likely with the relay.  If both the turn signals don’t actually flash, then the relay is probably sensing the fault in the headlight, and the headlights may need to be replaced.

- Ken the Car Guy


Why Does My Headlight Relay Keep Failing?


My car’s headlight relay has busted twice now within just a few months.  What could be the problem?

-Fran D., OR


I’ve seen this happen often with car owners who have replaced their original headlights with aftermarket lights.

If you install new headlights on your car, you need to make sure they draw the same amperage, otherwise the relay will eventually fail.  Superbright and blue colored headlights are notorious for breaking headlight relays, so watch out for those.  If you really want to use aftermarket headlights instead of OEM ones, you’ll need to get a relay designed to handle the load.

- Ken the Car Guy


Why Is My Battery Draining?


If I let my van sit for a day or two the battery will drain to the point that I can’t start the engine.  After running it for a while it stays charged up.  There aren’t any lights on, so I don’t know what could be draining it.  Any thoughts?

- Joe S., TN


While there may be something draining the battery, it’s also possible that your battery has simply reached the end of it’s life and needs to be replaced.  But before giving up, let’s try a few things…

My first suggestion is to let the car run for an hour or two to make sure the battery is well charged.  Once it’s all juiced up, turn off the engine and leave the headlights on.  They should be able to run for at least an hour without draining your battery too much.  If the headlights start to dim after just a few minutes, the problem is likely with the battery.

Another thing you can try is pulling out all the fuses to see if some peripheral device is draining the battery.  Locate the fuse box and pull out any fuses you see.  After letting it sit overnight, plug all the fuses back in and see if the van starts up.  If it does, it’s likely that some device is pulling amps without you knowing.  Through a little bit of trial and error you should be able to figure out what the culprit is.

As a general rule of thumb, car batteries will need to be replaced every 3-5 years, but here’s hoping yours will come back to life!

- Ken the Car Guy


Why Do My Headlights Flicker On and Off?

Dear Ken, I recently installed a new alternator on the used car I found on Cars for a Grand. The cars great, but since I put it in I’ve had nothing but flickering headlights.

Even the idle goes up and down whether the lights are on or off.

Can this be loose wiring or could it be a bad voltage regulator?

- Gus M., IL

Dear Gus, first check the belt to be certain it is tight enough and meets specification. If it’s slipping, it could cause the alternator’s speed to vary, thereby changing its amperage output. That could cause lights to flicker. A loose belt could impact idle speed on lower-horsepowered engines.

Also, a loose connection could also cause headlight flickering. Check for clean, solid electrical ground at the alternator’s mounting points.

Last, a failing voltage regulator could be the problem.

The voltage regulator might have been damaged by — or caused damage to — the old alternator, necessitating its replacement.

Hope this helps.

- Ken the Car Guy