Troubleshooting LED lights Problems: What You Need to Know

May 20, 2021 7 min read

While LED lights can be more cost-effective and longer lasting than other options, they're far from perfect. Let’s walk through some of the most common problems with LED light systems and how you can solve them. If you currently have LED lights installed, or are planning to in the near future, we encourage you to read on — it could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

1. What are the most common LED headlight problems?

Headlights do not illuminate the road in front of you properly: If the headlights are too low, they will not illuminate the road in front of you properly. The headlights should be adjusted so they are located at the same height as the eyes. This will ensure that the driver can see the road clearly.
Also, if the headlights are too far away from the eyes they will not be properly clear. You want bright aiming lights for the highway, but not so bright that it causes eye strain. If you’re routinely above the recommended upper limit of the maximum driving intensity (100 nits) on bright days, it is possible that your lamps are too hot. The regulation for lamps sold in North America is 1000 lux/m 2 or 1000 lux per square centimetre. Remember the lower limit of 40 lux/m 2 established for vehicles? Now we’re up to 120 lux/m 2 or 1650 lux per square centimetre. The LED lamps that come with models of some new vehicles can reach up to 160 lux/m 2 or 2000 lux per square centimetre! The higher the lux, the more light the lamps produce, and the better the overall lighting performance. Headlights also affect the range of your vehicle. If the headlights are not properly aligned, they will throw your vehicle’s sensors off their path. This will impact how your vehicle performs in low light conditions for other drivers, and may affect your fuel economy! To verify that your lamps are properly aligned and that you’re not adjusting them too high, you should first turn the lights on and off with a signal lamp. If the lamps do not light up properly, then your lamps need adjusting! To adjust headlight aim properly, take the following steps: Check for any issues with the physical fit of your headlights: If your rear lights are missing a bulb or are coming loose altogether, replace them. This can be done by a professional installation at your local automotive shop.

2. How to solve an issue with your high beams

If you notice that your high beams aren’t working, the problem is likely with your headlight switch. When the high beams aren’t working, it’s usually because the headlight switch was accidentally rotated to the left, which will turn the high beams off. The headlight switch is located on the right side of the steering wheel.If you have a 2017 model vehicle, your switch’s location will be slightly different — it’ll be on the lower portion of the steering wheel between the right (fuel) and left (air) forks. On older vehicles, your headlight switch may be on the far right of the windshield.
2 Common LED Headlight Problems

1. No High Beam

Most light bulbs contain 24 bulbs, but light-emitting diodes (LED) contain only four. When a bulb is removed from its socket, the electronics inside switch to the highest wattage available. But most automobile lighting uses one or two light-emitting diodes and only a single bulb. If you have a bulbless bulb around the sixth or seventh socket on your vehicle, it is perfectly functional but may fail randomly from time to time. Please don’t freak out, it only happens to a small percent of bulbs. To prevent these failures begin by rotating the high-beam indicator switch slowly until it stops moving. Next, put the bulb back in the socket and turn the indicator switch to the “on” position. This should make the indicator light come on and you’ll be seeing 3–5 high beams. Continue to rotate the switch slowly and repeat steps 3–5 as needed. If after several turns the indicator light still does not come on, you will need to replace the bulb with a working one. If you do not see the indicator light come on after multiple turns, the problem is likely with your housing. Check out easy-to-follow instructions here to make sure the ballast in your home isn’t the problem. Further reading on this: “Do I Need a Headlight Tint?”

2. flickering or flickering in other areas

As annual vehicle production increases, so does the frequency of problems with light bulbs.

3. How to fix a flickering, or dim headlight

If your headlight (or both headlights) have stopped working, you’ll want to test to see if it’s just the bulb that needs to be replaced. First, try to replace the bulb with a new one. If the new bulb doesn’t fix the issue, then the problem is going to be deeper-rooted.That’s why a professional automotive installation is suggested after a repair.
Some common problems include a low lumen output, weak or flaky wiring, and dead or short circuits in additional parts of the vehicle power distribution system (such as the voltage regulator). Keep in mind, too, that LED headlights are relatively new technology and can sometimes be difficult to fully understand and diagnose.
1. Try replacing the bulbs with a different brand. Replacing the headlight bulbs is a quick solution and can get the job done quickly if it’s a complicated problem. But if you’re having trouble finding replacement bulbs, and you don’t want to spend the time to do it yourself, consider a second option. There are plenty of online retailers that carry a variety of commonly sold brand replacements. These include Jatex, LEDonite, and DuetLite.
2. Look at the wiring. Did the wires seem fine when you bought the old bulbs? Wires might have been probably twisted or wrapped tightly. Even small electrical components inside the lights — such as resistors and photoresistors — can cause shorts or intermittent failures even if all the other electrical components inside the vehicle are in working order. There’s an especially easy fix for this.
3. Replace the battery wiring (especially the negative terminal). If you’ve replaced the bulbs, testing to make sure the battery wiring is operating properly can save you frustration and prevent future headaches. First, turn off the vehicle by pulling the starter cord completely and letting the engine turn off. Next turn on the headlights by pulling the harness connector for the two wiring harnesses connector on the car’s chassis using a 10mm allen key. If the headlights are turning on by itself, that’s a good sign.

4. How to troubleshoot your parking lights and turn signals

There are some common problems that can cause your parking lights or turn signals to not work. If your parking lights aren’t turning on, the problem is usually related to a burned out lightbulb, loose wiring, or a faulty switch.To check on your headlights and possible causes, you will need to open your hood (if you don’t, chances are good that someone else has opened it on you) and look under the hood. Make a note of the model year of your car and identify the bulbs where they may be either burned out, remembering to look near the highest wattage bulbs. You might discover some that look like this:
Similarly, make a note of where your turn signals may be faulty. Do this by looking behind the turn signal hinges:
Dismantle your car’s battery if applicable and charge the bulbs for a few hours to inspect for signs of damage. If your lights aren’t working, you might need to replace the bulb(s). But if they don’t work when you need them to, there’s not really a fix for that. Instead of slouching back surrendering to your inevitable laziness, seek professional assistance. Keywords: automotive electronics, automotive wiring, diagnosis and repair.
Any taillights can fail if they’re not properly secured to the frame or roof. They can also suddenly come on unexpectedly and refuse to turn off when you’re driving. To test your lights, securing your taillights to your frame or roof will help prevent them from being mysteriously energized by your engine and/or bumping into objects. Rear taillights may also be affected if the wires leading to them are outsized.
Make sure that your lights are securely stranded (untethered) before inspecting your taillights to find a spark plug location.
As your car ages, it can begin to leak oil or generate excess moisture. This can result in a blocked head gasket and/or fuel leak. A check under your hood can help identify a plugged or leaking fuel tank.

5. How to fix the problem of a brake light out on one side

This is a really common problem, and it’s one that’s pretty easy to fix, too. The first thing you need to do is figure out which light is out by driving your car and turning on your lights. If the driver’s side light is out, then you know you need to fix the passenger side light.If both lights come on simultaneously or at different times, then seek ways to control the variability of lighting.
Shopping for LED lighting may be overwhelming at first, so it is important to shop with the right expectations in mind. While LED technology is steadily improving, the choice of an LED bulb is only part of the decision-making process. It all depends on what you want your new LED car bulb to do for your vehicle. So before you go into a store to pick up your new LED bulb, be sure to shop around to find the right type of lightbulb. Bulbs made of mercury, aluminum, and/or plastic are all the same, but they all have slightly different characteristics and what each bulb can achieve. Some popular types of bulbs include these:
Standard bulbs: These are the bulbs we all seem to be familiar with — white, red, or yellow with a two-prong plug. Depending on the vehicle manufacturer, these will often run about $1.50 per bulb. The most common uses for standard bulbs are for turning on the car and to operate the clutch and wipers. The most common drawback to these bulbs is that they tend to break down easily, especially if you turn on your car for an extended period of time often. They also tend to last a long time.
Lamps: These bulbs are sometimes called life preservers and are designed to last up to 500,000 hours. These types of bulbs are often used to start the car when the engine isn’t running, assuming you are using the starter.

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