Troubleshooting Guide for LED Headlights

May 30, 2021 7 min read

LED headlights - they're more affordable and sustainable, but have problems. Let's look at common problems with LED headlights and ways to solve them. If you have LED headlights now, or are planning to in the future, it's best to read on - you could save yourself a lot of headache in the future.

1. How to troubleshoot LED headlights

The first thing to do is to check the fuse box. It’s usually located to the left of the steering wheel and is rectangular in shape. The fuse box is usually painted green to make it easier to spot. If the fuse is missing or broken, you’ll have to find a replacement.Next, be sure to screw the bulbs into the correct sockets. Sometimes, vendors will slap generic-looking bulb sockets onto the car, which isn’t always a reliable fix. If the bulbs aren’t properly seated, they could burn out and ruin your bulbs.
LED receivers — the brains of the headlights — also need to be wired properly. In general terms, every receiver includes three wires: ground, signal, and power. Wire the ground wire to the chassis’ rubber mounting grommet. The signal wire will usually be #14 if it matches the receiver’s plug (see image below). Finally, plug the power wire into the cigarette lighter socket or a power outlet.
While you’re wiring, always verify that the power and signal wires are connected properly. Check for continuity by inserting a continuity tester into the plug and watching the voltage dip. If your receiver is older, you’ll want to make sure to reinforce the plug with washers and nuts so that the wheels cannot accidentally short the wires.
When wiring your receiver, you’ll also want to verify that the signal wire makes an adequate connection to the bulbs. The power wire’s connections should be made by stripping the wire back to the plug, making your work much easier.
Headlights have a lasting effect on a car’s resale value, which makes it essential to have plug-and-play operation. That’s why the primary wiring is always located under the driver’s seat.
Problems arise when the main wiring is tucked under a fascia, or is connected to another part inside the body. When that occurs, there can be multiple points of failure.

2. Excess heat can damage LED headlight bulbs

Excess heat can damage LED headlight bulbs. LED headlight bulbs are manufactured in controlled environments, and must be protected from temperature fluctuations. Leaving an LED headlight bulb in your car on a hot day, or parking your car in the sun with the headlights on, can damage the bulbs. The solution: Replace the headlight bulbs with more efficient options.
LED bulb replacements are much more common than bulb replacements. Automobile manufacturers typically replace bulbs with LED versions if the original bulb has been exhausted or the bulb fails after years of use. If you’re a flashlight aficionado, much of the following information is common knowledge:
LED bulbs last about twice as long as traditional bulbs, but they only last for about 40 fun hours, so it’s always best to avoid wasting money on bulbs that are nearing the end of their lifespan.
LED light sources are technically incompatible with incandescent bulbs. Incandescents emit light at a frequency that can cause eye strain, nausea, and vomiting in some people, as well as severe electrical shock if a light fixture is accidentally grounded. LED sources, on the other hand, provide light at a frequency that is stable as you drive at high speeds (much like incandescent bulbs do), so they aren’t considered a major eye strain hazard or electrocution risk.
LED lights do not contain mercury. Mercury poses serious health hazards when forming metallic contacts with the skin, and accumulates in large quantities in the brain. Once placed inside the human body, mercury deposits in the brain and nervous system, impairing motor skills, memory, concentration, and the ability to think clearly. If you’ve ever had your hair or fingernails pulled while driving or touched by an especially persistent dog, a frequent source of mercury is probably one of the things that went wrong.
Dirty, water-dripping bulbs that inadvertently get drenched can damage the terminals of your bulbs, which means these bulbs aren’t easily re-programmed when they get dirty again.

3. Are your headlights dimming? There might be a simple fix

If you notice that your headlights seem to be dimming more than usual, then you should take your car to a shop to have them checked out. It could be something as simple as the headlight bulbs need to be replaced, but there could also be more serious issues with the electrical system of the car.
LED lights like those from LED Expert provide significantly more brightness than older bulbs, but the issue is, everything’s connected. Older bulbs don’t just turn on and off by themselves. Some require a circuit to light up the road ahead of you. Other bulbs have a mesh inside that turns on and off with the driver’s turn signals.
Those old bulbs can degrade over time and look bad because they have a limited lifespan. When you flip on your lights, they draw a small current that is how they know when to turn off. Over time, this current can degrade the presence of the small plastic film inside the tube.
A manufacturer will repair the bulbs for you, but it would be a good idea to get a mechanic to check the actual circuit to make sure the bulbs aren’t having a problem. A couple of replacement bulbs would fix the issue, and you’ll save yourself the time of dropping your car off in the shop. If those bulbs look deteriorate over time, it’s worth fixing them at the source. This technique also saves you the headache of replacing your lights during the night.
If you have any sort of bulbless headlight, like the Taillights, then these bulbs are designed to not use a driver’s turn signal. This means they don’t need to be connected the same way that your headlights are, as these systems don’t get dimmed when you’re not turning your head. This usually means they’re a lot brighter than their bulbs would indicate.
Regardless of whether you have your lights bulbless, they can tarnish if the bulb is left on a surface for a long time or inside a mesh for too long.

4. A flickering or blinking light lets you know that there’s a problem

Flickering lights can be a sign of a lot of different things, but the best thing to do is to call the building’s management or your landlord to make an appointment to have it looked at.

1. The Power Running Out

LEDs require a lot of power to work, so it is vital that the individual box that the lightbulbs are contained in has enough juice to last the life of the lightbulb.
However, most lighting systems have a single, standardized connector that plugs into the power outlet, meaning that sometimes the manager may not know exactly how much juice the system is carrying. So, no matter what the number is on the wall, there’s usually someone there to look at it.

2. The Noise

Any sound that is generated by the LED is noisier than normally seen, mostly due to the warmer-than-normal bulbs and other non-standardized fixtures.
They’ll also generate a lot of heat. As bulbs last for thousands of hours, they’ll also need to be replaced periodically — they lose heat more quickly than a traditional bulb. The exception to this rule is if they’re the bulbs for the exterior lights.

3. Flooding

Rather than throw your hands up and call the water service, make sure you get an estimate from the electrician. Anything that’s going to be happening in your home is more than likely going to require some sort of repair. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Proper drainage is a good idea; simply drape a tarp over anything that may leak. If the water service comes out to check the drain tile, they’ll ditch any broken pieces for now. However, it’s worth walking through the home to check to see if anything else, besides the dripping tiles, has broken off and stored somewhere.

4. The Voltage

The wall sockets, outlets, and switches for any lighting system must all have the same specifications.

5. Yellowing of the lens is normal but here are ways to prevent it

The yellowing of your lenses is a normal occurrence after a few weeks of wear. This is due to the proteins in tears and body fluids reacting with the plastic of the lens to produce a discolouration. The discolouration is harmless and does not affect vision.Since you aren’t worried about your eyesight with later models of LED headlight systems, your performance will probably not be affected.
Depending on the type of switch, adapter, relay, and circuit board you use, there are different steps that need to be taken in order to control the flickering. You may need to check your owner’s manual to determine which steps are required for your dashboard and lights. However, the general steps are as follows:
There are two primary types of multi-bulb taillights — voltage and frequency. The former is more common and is used on vehicles with a port on the rear bumper. These bulbs have an on/off switch, usually also called a petcock, which you can wiring. Frequency-driven bulbs use a relay or a microprocessor to turn on or off specific bulbs when the corresponding switch is pressed.
The on/off switch determines if the bulb will be on or off; either one or a combination of the two.
The voltage taillights, used on vehicles with a VIN number, use two solenoids in parallel to control the brightness and frequency of the bulbs. You will experience intermittent flicker, as the bulbs won’t be on all the time.
As far as the circuit board, the frequency resolution requires the bulbs to be turned on and off a fixed number of times per second. This is typically a four-pole or four-phase AC voltage applied to every single waveform of the AC signal. If the bulbs are wired this way, they will most likely stay on a fixed frequency regardless of the chassis speed.

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