One interesting phenomenon of car ownership is headlight flicker. It can happen from time to time for a variety of reasons and it can leave the owner frustrated and confused about what is causing it and how big of a deal it is. Below, we have outlined the three main causes of light flicker and what we can do about it. Stopping little annoyances like these can greatly increase your driving pleasure.
Are all of your lights flickering?
When all of your lights are flickering we immediately think it is a grounding problem. This kind of thing can usually be narrowed down to a corroded ground wire or a bad connection between the lights and the main wiring harness. We search out the source of the grounding issue and solve the root of the problem.
Are they flickering or pulsating?
When your lights are pulsating, which we would describe as more of a surging of the lights up and down instead of a constant flicker, we immediately think there is a problem with the alternator. When the alternator is no longer able to suitably charge the battery, the power in the electrical system is no longer constant so the brightness of your headlights and instruments panels will surge up and down as power is available. We wrote an extensive article on this right here if this is the symptom you are seeing.
Is it more of a strobe light effect?
If you are seeing more of a constant “strobe light” it would send us on a hunt for a loose connection somewhere in the power source. This one is pretty easy to diagnose on your own actually. If you are driving at a steady rate of speed and you are getting a strobe light effect from your headlights you should think loose connection. It will pulsate up and down as you increase the throttle when it is an alternator problem and will flicker more intermittently if you have a grounding issue.
Final word: As always, we are happy to help with any issues you are having with your headlights. You can let us know at your next regularly scheduled maintenance or you can send us a message and set up a quick visit to get a diagnosis and fix your annoying headlights for good.