Without a fully functioning headlight switch, the simple task of turning on your headlights becomes a hassle. Just imagine if you're driving at night along a highway, and you need to switch on the headlights. You click the switch, but nothing happens. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but keep in mind that these lights are what make other drivers see your car clearly especially when driving at night.
Signs to watch out for
So, before a busted switch turns your car into a road hazard, take note of the following signs that you need to get a new switch:
The switch doesn't click whenever you switch it on.
If you don't hear a clicking sound anymore whenever you turn on the switch and the lights suddenly stopped working, then you most likely have a faulty switch. Take a look at the switch assembly and see if the plastic knob, wires, and other parts are damaged.
A combination switch turns on the headlights, but not the other lights.
If your vehicle uses a combination headlight switch and the other connected lights except for the headlights don't seem to work, take a look first at each lighting assembly and see if the wiring and bulbs are in good condition. If everything is fine, then you probably have a busted headlight switch.
The switch show signs of physical damage.
This is probably the most obvious sign: a switch that's cracked, warped, dented, or wobbles out of the housing. If this is the case, then you need to get a replacement right away.
Both headlights don't work at all.
A lot of things could cause this issue. These include a busted relay, module, fuse, wiring, dimming relay, or headlight switch. If you've ruled out all the other possible causes, then the culprit is a busted switch. In this case, the headlight relay or module doesn't receive any voltage, triggering a headlight failure.
Things to keep in mind when diagnosing switch problems and installing a new one
When you suspect that a switch is the culprit behind your headlight problems, better take a look at it as soon as possible. Aside from the fact that it's risky to drive around with faulty headlights because of a busted switch, you might get in trouble with the cops since you can't operate your headlights properly. After all, you don't want to get fined, what with all the money you have to shell out to replace a busted switch. Fortunately, high-quality replacement switches are very affordable.
Because installing a new headlight switch is easy, you don't have to pay for a mechanic. Simply find the right replacement part, locate the switch assembly, remove the old one, and install the new switch. The trickiest part during installation is removing the old switch because depending on your car make and model, you might have to remove the entire steering column. But as long as you have your car manual with you, installation should be manageable. If you need to wire a new switch, have your car's wiring diagram handy so you won't have problems routing back the wires later on.