How Do I Know if a Headlight is Broken?

How Do I Know if a Headlight is Broken?

Sometimes it’s obvious that a headlight is broken and needs to be fixed, such as if the headlight won’t turn on even though the rest of your motorbike is working fine. This likely means the bulb needs replacing, which is an easy fix that can be done at home if you know how. There are also other signs that your headlight is broken or on its way out, so keep reading to find out what you should be looking out for. 

How to Check Your Headlight

Every rider should check their headlights once in a while, especially if it’s been a long time since you changed the bulb. Driving without working headlights is a criminal offence, and you could face a fine if you’re stopped by the police. Working headlights and foglights are a necessity whilst driving in the dark, and poor headlights will affect your visibility, increasing the risk of an accident. 

This is especially the case when riding a motorcycle, to avoid collisions with careless drivers. Checking your headlights will not only save you from paying a fine: it could save your life. The easiest way to check how your lights are working is to keep your bike parked in a safe space and turn on your engine. 

Turn on your headlights (you may have a low beam and a high beam, depending on your bike), then get off your bike and have a look. Notice if the headlight is dimming or flickering, as this is a sign that your bike’s headlight may need replacing. This can also be a great time to check your other lights. 

A Dim Headlight

Your headlight could be dim for several reasons, such as a faulty or dying bulb, or faulty wiring. If you notice your headlight isn’t as bright as it used to be and this is affecting your ability to see the road, change it straight away. If that doesn’t fix the problem, take it to a garage as they may need to check the wiring and the health of your motorcycle battery. 

Flickering Lights

A flickering headlight is not a good sign and can also be a distraction for other drivers on the road. If your headlight is flickering, this means there is not enough energy getting to your lights to power them properly. This can be an early warning sign of issues with your battery, especially if your lights flicker when you first turn them on. 

A flickering headlight can also be a sign of faulty wiring, which will need replacing. This may not only affect your headlights but your fog lights too. Unless you know how to change the wiring on your headlight, it is best to leave this to a professional. 

Your Headlight Won’t Turn On

An electrical problem is a likely reason for a headlight that won’t turn on. Burnt-out bulbs are another common issue for headlights not working, which is why we recommend keeping a spare headlight bulb wherever you store your bike, such as in your garage. 

Another cause of a headlight that won’t turn on is a low battery. This means your bike’s battery cannot generate enough power for the bulb. If this is the case, other electrical items in the vehicle may not work either, such as the fog lights or indicators. If you left your headlight turned on overnight or for a couple of days by mistake, this could have drained your battery or left it completely dead. 

You can use a jump-starter or get yourself a smart charger to recharge your battery, which will recognise your motorcycle battery and its current state. A smart charger will charge your battery to maintain optimal health, without overcharging the bike and causing damage. If you need more help with a dead motorbike battery, have a read of this motorcycle battery charging guide. 

Headlight problems are a common issue in motorbikes and one that should never be ignored. Not only is a faulty or broken headlight illegal, but it could also be a sign of a larger problem. As a bike owner, you should check your headlights regularly and speak to a mechanic at the first sign of trouble. If you want to save money, changing a headlight bulb is a task that can be done at home. 

Information about fog lights taken from
Information about a broken fog light taken from



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