Daytime Running Lights Not Working? How to Diagnose and Fix Them

You may not know your daytime running lights (DRL) are out unless someone tells you, and they are not always easy to check. This article and video explains what to do if your daytime running lights are not working and what you can do to fix it.

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How to Fix Daytime Running Lights Not Working

If your headlights, fog lights, or tail lights are out, it’s easy to check them. You can turn the switch on and see if they are working. But there’s not always a switch for daytime running lights. It’s easiest to check the DRL if it’s not sunny outside.

These steps explain how to see if the daytime running lights are working

  1. Check the Ambient Light Sensor

    The ambient light sensor is on the dash. It works with automatic lighting functions, will read the outdoor light, and sense if the daytime running lights need to be turned on or, if it’s darker out, the headlights.

    The sensor could be on the outside or the middle of the dash, and it probably looks like a half-dome.

    Check the ambient light sensor and make sure no objects are covering it. If there are objects covering it, the sensor won’t be reading the light, the DRL wont work, and this will burn out headlights faster.

    To check it, unless it’s sunny out, place a very bright light on the sensor. Bright lights in a building or area like a garage may not be bright enough and a flashlight may still be needed.

    With the key on and the flashlight over the sensor, see if the headlights are off. The headlights should not turn on with the light over the ambient sensor, and this shows the sensor is working.

  2. With an Assistant, See If the DRL Turn on

    The DRL will turn on with the transmission in Drive, Reverse, or Neutral. It helps to have an assistant watch the headlights while you are doing this. If you do not have an assistant, chock the wheels so the car doesn’t roll away.

    Some vehicles may need to be running for the DRL to turn on, and some may need the e-brake off.

    With the vehicle in conditions where the DRL will turn on, see if the DRL are working.

  3. If One DRL Is Working, Check the Bulb, Socket, and Switch

    If only one daytime running light is not working, it most likely has a burnt out bulb or a bad switch. Remove the socket from the light and see if the bulb is dark or if the filament is burned out, which means it needs to be replaced.

    Since DRL can run for a long time, see if the socket burned or melted, and replace it if so. Check the contact point of the bulb for melting.

    Read more about how to replace a bulb socket

  4. If Both DRL Are Not Working, Check the Fuse

    Check the fuse if both daytime running lights are not working. If the fuse is blown, there is likely another condition with the electrical circuit, like bad sockets or a wiring issue. The ambient sensor could also be disconnected or faulty.

    Read more about how to identify a blown fuse and test a fuse with a multimeter

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Daytime Running Lights Not Working? How to Diagnose and Fix Them - 1A Auto
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Daytime Running Lights Not Working? How to Diagnose and Fix Them - 1A Auto
If your daytime running lights are not working or you want to find out if they, our mechanics in this guide and video explain how to diagnose and fix them
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8 thoughts to “Daytime Running Lights Not Working? How to Diagnose and Fix Them”

  1. 2012 Lincoln MKZ, the DRL flicker on and off and stay off when the automatic switch is in the ON position. They stay on when turned on manually. I replaced the dash sensor and switch.

  2. Hi I have a 2013 ram 1500 tradesman,and my driver side Drl amber light doesn’t work I’ve already replaced the bulb and the socke connector. And still nothing my passenger side works fine. What other problems could I have with the driver side.

  3. I have a 2004 Acura TL my daytime running lights aren’t receiving power my fuses aren’t blown and don’t get power either how do I fix the fuse box?

  4. I replaced my bulbs with led bulbs. They will not light up. If I switch back to a standard bulb it works. Any suggestions.

  5. Why have my daytime lights stopped working unless I’ve got side or headlights are on
    Renault Grand Scenic Tom Tom

  6. I have a 2003 Toyota Tacoma 2.7 L 4 cylinder pickup truck the running lights on the front on the bumper are not working where is the fuses for that?

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