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Hello all! This will be my first post as a TI member, although I've been on the forum for a couple years already and met some of you at the 2010 Dragon Trip.

In any case, as the thread name implies I am having some headlight trouble. I went to go out for a drive this evening and after starting up the car I immediately turned on the lights. The lights turned on normally, but after driving the 20 feet out of my garage both headlights simultaneously went out.

These headlights are not that old, and because they both went out simultaneously I do not suspect that the bulbs are burnt out. All other lights including the turn signals, interior lights, and high beams are functioning normally. All other interior electronics are functioning normally. I have already examined both left and right headlight fuses, and both are intact. I am currently stymied by this issue, but I do not have any service manuals (and therefore no wiring diagrams) to be able to track down any fuses or relays I may have missed. My current fear is that I have a short somewhere in the wiring which will be difficult to track down. I don't suspect the head light switch because it works for the interior lights and parking lights. I don't suspect a relay because I've heard that would cause the high beams to stop working as well. I know it's not the individual light fuses because I checked them.

If anyone can shed some light on this issue (pun intended), I would be most grateful.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Looking at the headlight circuit schematic, there is no single component that could fail which would prevent both left and right low-beam headlights from turning on with the exception of the headlight switch. However, if the switch had failed, the high beams would also not work.

I think that somehow both headlight bulbs failed.
 

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It's not uncommon for both bulbs to fail within the same week. Same day is tough to believe but not unheard of.

Examine the bulbs to make sure they aren't blown. Even if they are new it doesn't mean they were manufactured without flaws.

Also, did you touch the bulb when you installed it?

I would check to make sure the clips are connected securely as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
knavekid
johnnymass

Thank you both for your helpful replies. With your help I was able to solve the problem over the weekend. After looking at the wiring diagram knavekid posted I concur that there was not place where the two bulbs could fail together except the switch, and that was eliminated as a problem by virtue of the corner lights coming on. The only possible conclusion is that both bulbs did fail at the exact same time (or imperceptibly close to the same time). I took out my passenger side lamp for a visual inspection and could not determine if there was a break or not. However, when I took out the driver side lamp there was a large break in it. Further inspection of the passenger side lamp revealed that there was a hairline break in the filament. I was extremely skeptical that both lamps would fail in such a close time line, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Johnnymass, in response to your inquiries, I was careful not to touch the bulbs last time I installed them. I also made sure that the clips were secure. However, looking back at my records, it turns out that the bulbs were replaced almost 3 years ago. I incorrectly recalled that they were recently replaced (my how time flies!) so as unlikely as it is that both bulbs would fail so close together, it is more believable now that I know how old they were.

Thanks again to both of you for the assistance. I feel a little silly that I had ruled out the bulbs right away since I thought they were newer and found it unlikely that they both failed at the same time, but it appears that the unlikely has occurred. Once again, the simplest answer prevails. I do have a follow up question though. Is it possible that the failure of one bulb could cause the failure of the other? From the wiring diagram I can see that they are wired in parallel; therefore, the same voltage is applied to both branches and current is split evenly between the two. If one bulb fails, is it conceivable that the other bulb would draw double the normal amount of current in the instant that the other bulb failed without blowing the fuse? It's been a long time since I have taken any physics courses, but as I recall voltage=current*resistance. If one bulb fails then the resistance in the circuit is halved and the current doubled to maintain a constant voltage. Naturally, the fuse in the circuit is designed to prevent such an instantaneous current overload, but given that they failed simultaneously (as far as I can tell) do you think there could have been a current overload that blew the other bulb without breaking a 20 amp fuse?
 

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It is unlikely that one bulb failing caused an otherwise good bulb to fail. Each side has a separate ground path and the only place the headlamp current has a common path is from the battery to the relays. This current path is also common to all exterior lighting on the car.

If both bulbs were ready to fail, I suppose the slight voltage transient from one failing could push the other over the edge to fail. However, just turning the headlights on causes more stress to the bulbs due to the thermal change of a cold start.
 

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Resurrecting an old thread I know......

But very relevant to my current situation with my '04 RSX.....

About a week ago or so, I noticed that the driver side headlight went out.....

Then a few days ago, I noticed that the other headlight went out.....

Thought that very odd coincidence in having two headlights go out so close to one another timewise.....until reading this thread..... ;)

Haven't checked my bulbs yet, but will do that today....but did check the fuses yesterday and they all looked good....

About 2 years ago or so, I went through a period of going through what seemed like too frequent headlight bulbs burning out...but each time it was only one side, not both. So, replaced one side and then maybe 6 - 9 months later the other side went out, etc....

At first I was using bulbs from a local auto parts store. But after going through what seemed like too frequent bulb changes, I started buying the bulbs from the Acura dealer at about twice the price. However, it has seemed like the Acura bulbs have lasted much longer.

Only other thought I have about this is whether the fact that about 1.5 months ago I had the front and rear struts replaced could have had some impact on the bulbs or wiring?

Also, if I check the bulbs and they're burned out, should I just go ahead and replace them and see how it goes or do I need to have car checked out at the shop or ?

Thanks for any and all input!

Mark
 

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A common cause of headlight bulb failure, especially if they aren't that old, is contamination on the new bulb when installed. Any oils from your skin (fingerprints) that get on the bulb during handling and installation can cause uneven heating of the glass resulting in stress fractures.

You should always clean the bulb with alcohol before installing it, and then be careful not to touch the glass when you put it into the headlight housing. If the bulb must be installed in a socket, hold it with a clean paper towel to install it and then hold it by the socket when cleaning it.
 

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Thanks for your reply and input....

I always do what you suggest since they are halogen bulbs.....

Meanwhile, I bought new bulbs today and just tried installing them....

The good news is that the passenger side headlight now works.....

The bad news is that the driver side does not work after installing new bulb....

Turned on lights and then checked voltage at connector plug and there's no voltage there....so something is not right.......dang.......
 
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