Your car is equipped with an electrical system that uses a series of wires and cables to power the various components and systems in your vehicle. In addition, your car parts are working together to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
With continuous use, some of these parts will eventually wear out or become damaged, which can cause different issues with your vehicle. But why are my car lights flickering?
The most common causes of flickering lights are: a dying battery, a failing alternator, bad wiring, or worn-out bulbs. Your headlights rely on power from the battery to function properly. If this is the case, you may also notice dashboard lights flickering and problems with your car’s radio.
5 Reasons Why You Have Flickering Car Lights
Perhaps the most aggravating aspect of owning a car is attempting to diagnose problems when they arise. A car light can flicker for a variety of reasons. Here are five of the most common reasons:
#1 Bad Battery
Your car battery supplies power to all of the electrical components in your car, including the lighting system, electric power steering, power windows, heated seats, and more. If your battery is bad, it can cause your dash lights and headlight bulbs to flicker.
Whenever you start having problems due to your car’s battery, the first thing you should do is to get a repair service appointment with a professional technician. The last thing you want to do is end up with a dead battery and being stranded on the side of the road.
#2 Worn-out alternator
The alternator is one of the three rotating plates that generate electrical power in your car while the engine is running. The other two are the starter motor and the vehicle’s battery. You may also notice a whining noise coming from under your hood.
If you have a faulty alternator, your vehicle’s electrical system starts to act erratically. The flickering of your vehicle lights is usually one of the first signs that something is wrong with your alternator. Replacing this car part is crucial, so you can get your car running smoothly.
#3 Loose connections
One of the most common reason of flickering headlights is bad or loose wiring. Over time, the battery wires loosen and corrode, which causes the current to fluctuate. You may notice a burning rubber smell or sparks coming from the battery area.
Wobbling bolts or intermittent connections of some electrical components can also cause flickering dash lights. Schedule a maintenance service appointment and have them check the ignition wires to make sure they’re tight and not corroded.
#4 Bad bulbs
If your headlight bulbs are old or damaged, they may start to flicker. Newer LED lights are less likely to flicker than traditional halogen bulbs. Damaged bulbs can be caused by a number of things, including bad ground connections, physical damage, or simply old age.
As a car owner, this is one of the cheapest solutions. You can go to any local store and replace your light bulbs with new ones. Just make sure you get the right type of bulb for your car. You can probably find this information in your owner’s manual or at your preferred store.
#5 Malfunctioning switch
Bad communication between the computer system and the electrical system can also be the reason that causes lights to flicker. Most of the time, this is caused by a faulty switch or fuse.
This is a bit more complicated issue that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. You can take your car to the dealership or any reputable auto shop for help. A mechanic has the equipment to examine your car’s charging system to see where the issue lies.
What does it mean when your car lights flicker?
Dashboard lights tend to flicker when there is a problem with the battery, alternator, or electrical system of your car. However, worn-out bulbs can also cause flickering. Here are some of the scenarios that may cause your auto lights to flicker:
Car lights flicker when the car is off
If you crank your engine and your lights flicker or dim, that means your battery’s voltage is low, and it can’t provide enough power to start your car.
Most of the time, this means the car battery is bad and needs to be replaced. You may also notice that the car’s battery warning light on your dash is illuminated.
Dashboard lights flicker
Flickering dash lights may indicate a problem with the electrical system, but it could also be a sign that something is wrong with the alternator. It can also be related to another component called the voltage regulator.
Flickering or dimming headlights
Why are the Lights Flickering or dimming in your car? Batteries play a big role in keeping your headlights bright. If you have a bad battery, it can cause your LED bulbs to flicker or dim.
Here is where you may want to get professional advice. An experienced mechanic diagnoses why you are having problems with your dashboard lights. He or she can also help you with things like brake fluid, transmission fluid, tire brands, and even oil changes for your car.
Would a bad alternator cause flickering lights?
Yes, faulty alternators are one of the most common causes of flickering automobile lights. If it s not working properly, it can cause your vehicle’s battery to lose power and fluctuate.
Other signs that you may have a bad alternator include:
- The battery warning light on your dash is illuminated
- A grinding noise coming from under the hood
- A burning rubber smell
- Continuous dash lights flickering
How to fix flickering vehicle lights?
eplacing the headlights with cheap ones that tires shop or store stores might seem like a good idea, but you may end up wasting your money if the flickering is caused by another electrical problem. You can also get a replacement on websites like XK Glow.
The best solution is first to diagnose what is the cause of your flickering headlights. Once you know what the problem is, you can then take the appropriate steps to fix it.
If your vehicle has the check engine light on, you can start by using an OBD scanner tool to read the error code and get an idea of what might be causing the problem.
Here is where you are going to hit the “dead spot” and know exactly what to do without the need to improvise with a solution that might not work or even make the problem worse. Other articles filter this step out, but we believe in full disclosure so you can make the best decision.