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It’s unsafe to ride a motorcycle with a faulty headlight at night. I am saying it from my personal experience because I was on a night ride a few days back, and suddenly, the headlight stopped working.
If your motorcycle headlight isn’t working, then don’t drive at night until you fix the issue. In this guide, I’ll explain why your motorcycle headlight is not working and how you can fix it.
So, why won’t a motorcycle headlight turn on? A motorcycle headlight won’t illuminate when the main fuse is blown, the headlight bulb is faulty, battery terminals are corroded, there is a short circuit in the wires, there is bad grounding, or the battery is faulty.
Table of Contents
Why Won’t My Motorcycle Headlight Turn On?
If your motorcycle headlight won’t turn on, it doesn’t mean your headlight is faulty, and you need to replace the entire unit.
There could be any reasons why a motorcycle headlight won’t turn on, but the most common reasons are a blown fuse, a faulty headlight bulb, or a broken wire that connects to the headlight switch.
When I inspected my motorcycle fuse box, I found that my headlight fuse was blown. Fortunately, I had a 15A spare fuse in my fuse box. I replaced that, and my headlight was back to life.
If your motorcycle headlight is not working, then inspect the following parts to fix the issue:
1. Blown Fuse
All motorcycles come with a fuse box to prevent major faults in the electrical system due to a surge in voltage. If you open your motorcycle fuse box, you’ll see more than 9 to 12 fuses of different amperage ratings.
The fuse is a safety device that melts when the current flow exceeds a certain limit to prevent damage. A blown fuse is the most common reason your motorcycle headlight isn’t working.
If your headlight is not turning on starting the motorcycle, open the fuse box and inspect the fuse that connects the battery power to your headlight. If the headlight fuse is blown, replace it with a spare fuse with the same amperage rating.
You can interchange the same amperage fuse to ensure the headlight fuse isn’t blown. Because, sometimes, the fuse doesn’t look blown, but it’s defective from the inside. You can do a continuity test with a multimeter to ensure the fuse isn’t faulty.
Related: Why Do Motorcycle Fuses Blow?
2. Faulty Headlight Bulb
All older motorcycle models come with a halogen bulb with a tungsten filament that burns after a certain period. If the headlight bulb is faulty, it won’t illuminate even when your motorcycle engine is started.
A faulty headlight bulb is the second most common reason why your motorcycle headlight stops functioning. All modern motorcycles come with LED lights in the headlamp that get faulty due to changes in voltage.
You can replace the headlight bulb if you’ve all the tools and a spare bulb. Turn off the ignition key and unscrew the headlight assembly. Disconnect the wiring harness, remove the old bulb from the headlight, and insert the new one.
Place everything in its place and reinstall the headlight assembly. Tighten all the screws properly, turn on the ignition key, and start the engine to check whether the headlight works.
3. Short/Broken Electric Wiring
Modern motorcycles have plenty of electronics and a lighting system that takes power from the battery. All these devices are connected through wires; if you open the front head assembly, you’ll see multiple wires.
Your headlight will not turn on if any wire is short, burnt, broken, or frayed. You can visually inspect the wires and fix if there is any short circuit.
You can inspect your motorcycle headlight wiring if you have a digital multimeter. First, unscrew the headlight assembly, remove the bulb, and check the voltage across the positive terminal and grounding.
Now, do a continuity test of negative (black wire) from any non-painted metal part of your motorcycle.
If you don’t get a 12V current on the headlight wires, it means your headlight wiring is frayed or broken, and you need to inspect it thoroughly.
4. Corroded Battery Terminals
A motorcycle has a 12V AGM battery that powers all electrical and electronic devices. The battery terminals catch rust or corrosion because of moisture in the air or when the watch splashes during washing.
A corroded battery terminal won’t pass current, which causes headlights not to work. If your motorcycle is having problems starting or the headlight is glowing slowly, clean both terminals with sandpaper and microfibre cloth.
5. Bad Grounding
All motorcycle manufacturers connect the battery’s negative terminal to the motorcycle’s metal part. Connecting the negative wire of all accessories became easy because all metal parts have a common grounding.
But, your motorcycle headlight won’t turn on due to corrosion or loose connection on the grounding. So, clean the grounding connection and tighten the screw to avoid any interruption in the current flow.
6. Bad Battery
A motorcycle battery’s average life is between 2 to 3 years with proper maintenance. If your motorcycle battery is older than this, the power holding capacity is insufficient to turn on the headlight.
If your motorcycle requires kickstarting, it means your battery is dead and should be replaced immediately. Go to an authorized battery dealer and get your motorcycle battery replaced. This will fix all major electrical problems on your motorcycle.
Why Is My Motorcycle High Beam Not Working?
Your high beam is not working because the high beam filament of your headlight bulb is faulty, the wiring is frayed, or the battery doesn’t have sufficient charge to power up the high bulb of your motorcycle.
If your motorcycle isn’t creating any problems starting the engine, it means your battery isn’t faulty. So, change the headlight bulb and inspect the wiring to fix the high beam not working problem.
Why Is My Motorcycle Low Beam Not Working?
A motorcycle has a low-beam bulb in the headlight that illuminates and focuses on nearby distances. Your motorcycle’s low beam is not working because the low beam bulb of your headlight is faulty. You can buy a new headlight bulb for your motorcycle and replace it yourself.
It’s easy to diagnose headlight problems in a motorcycle. Most commonly, a motorcycle headlight doesn’t work because the main fuse is blown or the filament of your headlight bulb has burnt.
Start inspecting the fuse box and replace it if the headlight fuse is blown. If the fuse is not blown, move to the headlight bulb replacement. In 90% of cases, these two solutions will fix the problem.