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How to Troubleshoot a Daytime Running Lights Problem

by Daniel Valladares

The daytime running lights on your vehicle are a safety feature that allow other drivers to spot your vehicle on the road during daylight hours. They also increase your road vision during sunrise and sunset. If something goes wrong with your daytime running lights, they should be fixed immediately. Whether your vehicle uses high beams or has a separate light assembly for the daytime running lights, the troubleshooting process is the same. There are three main issues that afflict daytime running lights, all of which have simple solutions.

Loose Electrical Connector

Step 1

Turn off the vehicle's engine and open the hood. Locate the daytime running light assembly at the front of the engine compartment.

Step 2

Access the assembly used by the daytime running lights. Some vehicles have a separate daytime running light assembly, but most vehicles simply use the headlight assembly. Most vehicles have their light assemblies secured to the vehicle with screws. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the light assembly. Place all of the screws in a safe place so that none of them are lost.

Step 3

Tug on the electrical connector at the rear of the assembly. If the connector comes out or is loose, plug it securely into the rear of the assembly. Tug it once more to test it. If the daytime running lights are still malfunctioning, the issue may be a burned out bulb.

Reinstall the headlight assembly and close the hood.

Burned Out Bulb

Step 1

Follow Steps 1 and 2 in Section 1 to locate the bulb.

Step 2

Remove the bulb used by the daytime running lights from the assembly. Consult your owner's manual on how to remove the bulb if you are unsure of how to do this. On most vehicles, the procedure involves rotating the bulb socket counterclockwise to remove it from the assembly, and then pulling the bulb out of the socket.

Step 3

Replace the old bulb with a new one. Again, check your owner's manual if you are unsure of what type of bulb to use.

Reinstall the assembly into the vehicle and close the hood. If the daytime running lights are still malfunctioning, the issue may be with a blown out fuse.

Blown Out Fuse

Step 1

Turn off the engine and open the hood. Locate the fuse box in the engine compartment. On most vehicles, it is directly behind the battery.

Step 2

Remove the cover from the fuse box located in the engine compartment. On the underside of the fuse box cover on Ford and Chevrolet vehicles there is a diagram depicting where each fuse is located within the fuse box. Locate the "DRL" or "Daytime Running Lamp" fuse. If you are unsure of the fuse location, consult your vehicle's owner's manual.

Remove the "DRL" fuse from the fuse box and replace it with a new fuse. Place the cover back onto the fuse box and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Replacement bulb
  • Replacement fuse

About the Author

Daniel Valladares began his career as a medical writer in 2008. He has written patient education brochures for several pharmaceutical companies and has worked as an auto mechanic at Kim's Speedy Auto Service since 2007. Valladares holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Rice University and is currently studying to become a personal trainer.

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