Why Do My Headlights Keep Going Out? (Not What You Think)

Like most other car parts, your headlights have a limited lifespan. Sometimes, though, they might keep going out repeatedly and sooner than expected.

Therefore, in this situation, you need to understand what’s happening behind the scenes and how you can address it so they don’t fail at a bad time, so if you’d like to learn more, keep reading!

Why Do My Headlights Keep Going Out?

If your headlights keep going out, it might be the result of vibrations within the headlight housing that causes the wiring to disconnect. This happens mostly on off-road vehicles. They could also go out if you handle the bulbs with your bare hands, high temperature in their surroundings and moisture inside the housing.

If you’d like to look deeper into the reasons why your headlights keep going out as well as why it happens on one side, different bulb types and more, keep reading for more useful facts!

Why Do My Headlights Keep Burning Out?

If your headlights keep going out because the bulbs are always burning out, there might be a problem with the wiring in the lighting system.

Your wiring might be done in such a way that it supplies too much power to the bulbs so their fuse keeps blowing, and this is something you might not know if you always get the problem fixed by different mechanics and don’t ask questions after.

If all they see is a blown fuse and don’t know that it’s a recurring problem, then they’re just going to replace it and not look deeper.

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This might also be because you mishandle the bulbs whenever you install new ones. When you touch bulbs with your bare hands, you might leave oil smudges on the glass. This leads to uneven heating and instability when the bulb is turned on.

This problem is most common on bulbs that rely on processes that produce heat to emit light, i.e. halogens. If the bulb stays in use, there is a chance that the irregular heating will cause the glass to shatter.

Another potential cause may be the environmental temperature. If you’re in a hot environment, then bulbs that produce heat will have even more heat introduced into their systems, causing the components to burn out sooner than expected.

On the other hand, if you’re in a very cold area and you often leave your car out, the components will become more brittle and ultimately prone to failure.

As well, water getting into the headlight housing might cause these problems. For example, if you’re constantly driving through puddles and splashing water, then some of it may have made its way in.

Sealed headlights are better at preventing this issue, but water vapor could get in through the porous lenses and condense inside the housing.

Why Do My Headlights Keep Going Out While Driving?

Why Do My Headlights Keep Going Out While Driving?

If your headlights keep going out as you drive, this might be because the vibrations generated by your car dislodge their connections. Therefore, it’s recommended to have your car looked at by a mechanic to ensure any loose fittings are tightened.

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Why Does One of My Headlights Keep Going Out?

If only one headlight keeps going out, then the issue lies with the housing or connections on that side alone.

Therefore, to prevent this issue, make sure no water has gotten into the housing, the wiring is done properly and that the connections are tightened.

Why Does My Left Headlight Keep Going Out?

If your left headlight keeps going out, you should check the housing on that side to make sure it’s sealed, dry and that the connections are done properly and tightened.

Why Do My LED Headlights Keep Going Out?

LED headlights last longer because they’re not mechanical and produce little to no heat, meaning that if they keep going out, it’s probably an issue with loose connections.

Generally, this issue is most common on vehicles that drive off road where the shocks and vibrations dislodge the connections.

Why Do My HID Headlights Keep Going Out?

Why Do My HID Headlights Keep Going Out?

Like LEDs, HID bulbs are designed to be more durable so, unless it’s a low quality model, it might keep going out because of an issue with wiring and other connections.

Why Do My Subaru Headlights Keep Going Out?

Apart from the reasons listed above, owners of some models of Subaru Legacy and Outback have seen their headlight bulbs go out at a high rate for the following suspected reasons:

  1. Their cars’ auto headlight feature is very sensitive and turns them on more than necessary, shortening their lifespan by default
  2. There’s a power surge somewhere within the electrical system that sends too much current to the bulbs and fries them
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Subaru actually recognized that the rate of failure in these bulbs was a serious problem so they issued an extended warranty on the affected models.

Can a Blown Fuse Cause Headlights to Go Out?

If the fuse to your headlights blows then the headlights will go out because the circuit will no longer be closed.

When excess current is sent to the headlights, the fuse is supposed to blow in order to break the circuit and prevent further damage from occurring.

How Often Do Headlights Go Out?

How Often Do Headlights Go Out?

Assuming all the connections in the headlight’s electrical system and housing are done properly and you handle the bulbs with care, they are only supposed to go out at the end of their expected life cycle.

This differs between bulb types, but on average, different bulbs go out as follows:

  • LED bulbs go out after about 30,000 hours
  • HID bulbs go out after about 2,000 hours
  • Xenon bulbs go out after about 10,000 hours
  • Halogen bulbs last between 500 and 1,000 hours

To know more about headlights, you can also see our posts on how long do headlights last, why do headlights turns yellow, and how far should headlights shine.


Your bulbs might keep going out because of a bad connection within the electrical system that causes them to dislodge or receive too much power. You might be dealing with the latter if you drive off-road often, where the vibrations might be messing with loose connections.

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