Why Your Automatic Headlights May Not be Working

Knowing why your automatic headlight is not working is the first step to resolving the issue. Headlights are designed in such a way as to save you from trouble by illuminating your path at night and in foggy conditions. This is an important component of a vehicle as it helps other drivers see you coming.

In this article, we will find out how you can figure out what is happening to your automatic headlights, how to sort out issues with it and also provide answers to related questions about it.

Where is the automatic headlight sensor?

Care should be taken when trying to locate the sensor of a headlight as some models may vary in location. It’s advised to consult your owner’s manual for a specific location detail of your car’s sensor. 

The headlight sensor is usually located near the front grille of a vehicle or mounted behind the headlight assembly sometimes, It may be necessary to remove the headlight assembly so as to access the sensor 

Is there a fuse for auto headlights?

There is usually one fuse for both headlights and the fuse is located in the fuse block assembly or fuse block. The fuse block assembly is located below the steering wheel at the left. There are roughly a dozen of fuses in the fuse block assembly, the cover sometimes lists what fuse is the headlight fuse. Each manufacturer has their own way of doing it and it varies from model to model and brand to brand. This varies with models, you may have to refer to the owner’s manual that came with the vehicle. 

Also here is a list of likely locations of the headlight fuse:

  • Behind the glove box
  • Behind the central ashtray
  • In the boot 
  • Under the bonnet.

Recent cars do not have individual fuses for each headlight. Instead, the lights are controlled by a Body Control Module BCM or General Control Module GCM. 

automatic Headlights not working

Are automatic headlights always on?

The tail lights are not lit during the Daytime Running Light operation. So when the sensors sense that it’s not dark, the headlights and tail lights will be turned off and the DRLs switched on.

If your headlight is turned to auto when it is dark, chances are the headlights and tail lights will be switched on. People do confuse DRL with headlight operation.

Daytime Running Lights are headlamps which are on when the engine is running and the headlights are off. So, yes Automatic Headlights are not always on except when need be probably you are in a dark area or driving at night.

Why are my automatic headlights not working? 

Some good cars are equipped with an auto position on the headlight switch which makes the headlights come on when it is dark while the car is on. This is may attract extra cost features and it’s not found on all car models, especially cheaper models. Automatic Headlights turn on the headlamps at full normal power and the rear taillights as well.

If your car’s automatic headlights are not working, you should first check that the lights are in the AUTO position and not in the ‘off’ position or any other. Even though your car may come with automatic headlights, that mode may not have been selected as default.

If the automatic headlight still did not work despite being in the AUTO position, then probably the sensor has stopped working properly. 

However, It’s easy to test with the headlights in the AUTO position, first, cover the sensor with your hand. The sensor is located at the front of the dashboard near the windscreen, it is a small round object. If the headlights still fail to light up then it’s a case of a failed sensor and should be replaced for the automatic headlights to work.


It’s highly recommended to keep your headlights on auto. It keeps you from worrying about not remembering to turn them on or to turn them off. If para venture you have ever seen a car on the road at dark hour with their lights off, it’s always an older model that doesn’t have auto headlights and this is really not good. That is simply the disadvantage of not using automatic headlights for your car. You may forget to turn them on. And become almost invisible to other road users.


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