Reasons Why High Beams Work but Low Beams Don't from the service professionals at Capitol Subaru in Salem, OR

May 20, 2019

It's obvious that driving without functioning headlights is not advisable. If the low beams in your Subaru aren't working, it might seem like a good idea to use the high beams--but that can be dangerous, as well. If the high beams work, but the low beams don't, there are a number of possible causes. Below, we list four of the most common ones.

A halogen headlight bulb.

4. Burned-Out Bulbs

Modern headlight bulbs can be much brighter than they were in the past. If one burns out, you may not realize it, and you could be driving around with just one illuminated headlight. If the second one burns out, though, you'll notice it right away!

The fuse box in a vehicle.

3. A Blown Fuse

If everything is fine with the bulbs themselves, your Subaru may have blown a fuse. If you replace the fuse for the headlights and don't experience any further problems, that's great! But if the fuse blows again, it's probably a sign that your car has deeper electrical issues that need to be addressed.

A head-on view of a car with its high beams on, demonstrating the blinding effect.

2. Problematic Wiring

Bad wiring can cause a fuse to blow, but it can also manifest itself in many other ways. Even if the fuse is still intact, a problem with the wiring in your Subaru could cause the headlights not to turn on. Because the wiring is so complex, it's best to leave these repairs to the people who really know what they're doing.

1. Broken Headlight Relay

The headlight relay plays an important role in turning the lights on. The switch you flip to turn on the headlights isn't directly connected to them; instead, it activates a relay. This relay then sends the necessary electricity to the lights. The high beams and low beams often use different relays, so it's possible the low beam relay may be bad while the high beam relay is fine. If the low beam relay is damaged, it may be best to replace it.

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Capitol Subaru of Salem

920 Auto Group Ave NE
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-587-5500
  • Service: 503-587-5500
  • Parts: 503-587-5500