How to Fix Dipped Headlight Error on an Audi
It's super common, and incredibly frustrating to fix
Do you have an error light on your dashboard that looks like above with a yellow bulb pointing down?
That is known as a “dipped headlight” and this post is written to help you troubleshoot and fix it.
The truth is that even Audi dealerships are notoriously bad at fixing this problem.
Their remedy is typically to suggest replacing the bulbs and ballasts at full retail price, costing you several thousand dollars for a job that is something you could fix yourself for a tenth of the price.
After reading all of my favorite Audi forums, I found a host of information, some of it helpful, some of it conflicting, and some if it misguided. But piecing together the consistent recommendations as well as a little educated guessing and fact checking, I’ve figured out a good approach for anyone who gets this problem in their 2002-2008 Audi A4, S4 or RS4 and wants to try to fix it themselves. The steps listed here will probably also work for other Audis as well, although may differ somewhat.
Since originally posting this I’ve gotten hundreds of comments (literally) with others experiencing this issue on a variety of Audis.
Unfortunately, the dipped headlight warning appears to be a super common issue, and can also point to any number of issues with your headlights.
I’ve also updated this post with revised ideas to help you fix the problem easier, after years of helping others I’ve refined my approach.
First of all, what does “Dipped Headlight” even mean?
Simply put, “Dipped Headlight” is Audi-speak for “there is something wrong with your low beam headlight” and can mean a number of things.
This is part of why it is so difficult to troubleshoot and fix on your own, as the error doesn’t give you much information about what the problem is.
If you have a VAG-COM cable, or know someone who does, the cable can read your car’s computer and tell you the exact error code which will help tremendously. For some people this error message only comes on intermittently, such as when they’re driving slow, when the car first starts up, or in cold weather – for others, it comes on every time.
You can also pickup a cheaper OBD2 scanner on Amazon which can read codes and at least give you a specific error code and message to troubleshoot, like this one for $23.
Regardless this error light is a catch-all warning and therefore not very helpful – which is why this issue is so frustrating to have.
Typically there are several major culprits:
- Bad headlight bulbs – the bulb has gone bad, but isn’t completely out.
- Bad xenon ballasts – the ballast has started to malfunction, causing the error and likely harming your bulbs too
- Bad wiring in the headlight or xenon motor – the wiring and modules within the headlight is somehow damaged
- Bad ride height sensor or calibration – if the car can’t sense the right height level of the car, this will trigger an error
What to Check First
There are several things that most commonly cause this error after reading dozens of owners messages on Audizine, Fourtitude, Audiforums and other message boards. I’ve listed them below in the order of how’d I’d recommend checking and testing the problem.
It seems the most common issue is that a ballast has gone bad…the bad ballast then causes damage to the headlight bulb, requiring you to change the bulb too. If you only change one or the other, you do run the risk that you’ll have to replace it again due to damage that occurred.
If you are getting this issue only on one side, i.e. Dipped Headlight Left or Dipped Headlight Right, then this is a big clue for troubleshooting.
To isolate if it is the headlight bulbs, ballasts, or something internal in the headlight itself, simply swap both the bulbs and ballasts from left to right headlight. If the dipped headlight error on your dash changes from “Dipped Headlight Left” to “Dipped Headlight Right” (or vice versa) then you know that the issue lies in either the bulb or ballasts.
If this is the case, you should order one new bulb and one new ballast (using the links in this post) and replace the bad side and you should be good.
I strongly recommend changing both bulbs and ballasts – even if only the ballasts were faulty, the bulbs likely suffered damage from the bad ballasts and will need replaced soon, and replacing bulbs requires the bumper to come off so its best to do this all at once. It also eliminates all possible sources of the dipped headlight error, as this can be a tricky problem to resolve and it’s better to be aggressive on the treatment of it.
If the problem isn’t isolated to one side or another, and the above trick didn’t work, then you’ll need to troubleshoot the problem one by one in the order listed below:
Typically the best place to start is new headlight bulbs, as they are often the culprit and one of the cheapest and easiest things to fix – even if new headlight bulbs don’t fix the problem, you’ll eventually need to replace them anyway, so consider it preventative maintenance.
If you get the “headlight bulb out” message, see your headlights “flicker” on/off occasionally, or notice that your dipped headlight error only comes on in cold weather or at first start up, it’s likely your headlight bulbs may be on their way out.
Follow this DIY for tips on picking the right bulbs and how to install them: https://www.nickscarblog.com/diy/replacement-d1s-headlight-bulbs-for-b7-audi-a4s4rs4
The ballasts are also known to fail, which can cause this issue – even worse, the failed ballast burns through bulbs, so if you’ve had a bad ballast for a while then you’ll need new bulbs too. Rumor has it some ballasts have been recalled by Audi, in which case you can check with your dealer to see if your car qualifies for the recall, in which case the service and replacement should be free – problem solved! However, if you’re not covered by recall and your ballasts are indeed bad, then you have a few options:
- Have your Ballasts Rebuilt – Contact Phil at tbm850 @ gmail.com – he can rebuild your factory ballasts to fix whatever is wrong, and actually strengthen them so it doesn’t happen again. He only charges $170 per pair for this and can turn it around in about a day then overnight ship it back, so you’re downtime is minimal. I’ve worked with Phil before and he knows the B7 Audi headlights better than pretty much anyone out there, and he’s an airplane mechanic so it’s a professional job.
- Buy New OEM ballasts – the ballasts are shared by a lot of manufacturers, so don’t order through Audi. You can pick up the ballasts on Amazon for about $110 a piece:
B6 Ballasts (2002-2005)
B7 Ballasts (2005.5-2008) WITHOUT AFS:
B7 Ballasts (2005.5-2008) WITH AFS: https://www.ecstuning.com/b-magneti-marelli-parts/xenon-bulb-ballast-priced-each/8p0907391~mm/
Either way, I strongly recommend new bulbs if you had a bad ballast, as that bad ballast likely caused premature wear on the bulbs and they’re likely to burn out soon – best to replace both while you already have the headlights off the car!
This is also a great time to do the clear corner mod, LED DRLs, and/or LED City Lights since you’ll have the headlights off the car anyway…
Auto Leveling Sensor
If you recently lowered your car, or hit a really hard bump to your drivers side front or rear wheel, this could be the problem. For cars equipped with auto-levelling sensors, the sensors themselves are located in the wheel wheels near the lower control arms so they can adjust the headlight aiming based on the suspension load. For some people when they lower their car, the sensor is out of range as the suspension has been altered. For others, a hard bump to the front wheel could potentially break the sensor or cause it to become unplugged. To access the sensor, take off your drivers side front wheel and look near the bottom of the suspension. The sensor bridges the lower control arm to the body and looks like this:
If it is damaged or the wires have frayed, you can order a new one here: http://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-B6_S4–V8/Lighting/Headlights/Leveling/ES440960/. If you are lowered, you may just need to bend the upper part of the bracket so the top of the sensor is higher again. Once you have inspected and either repaired or replaced the sensor, you will need to recalibrate it using vag-com. Follow this DIY for instructions on how to do that: http://www.a4mods.com/index.php?page=webcontent/pages/autolevel.html&category=6
Headlight Swivel Module
This is the issue I had after replacing the bulbs and ruling out that issue. It turns out that while I was replacing my DRL bulbs, I must have knocked the main headlight swivel out of place, preventing the headlights from being able to aim correctly. The swivel is VERY sensitive, so if you’ve been in accident, or were tinkering inside of your headlights too aggressively, it’s possible you broke a swivel arm or knocked it out of alignment. Looking closely at the headlight I could see the projector lens on my driver side was pushed forward and not aligned the same way my passenger side was, so I reached inside the headlight housing (much the same way I did when replacing the bulbs) and pulled the projector lens “back” away from the front of the housing until it clicked back into place. I then recalibrated the headlight adjustment using the DIY on A4mods and cleared the codes and the problem went away: http://www.a4mods.com/index.php?page=webcontent/pages/autolevel.html&category=6
If you run the vag-com on your Xenons and find error code 02769 or 02770, it is likely your projector lenses are out of alignment and you may be able to manually push or pull them back into place. It is also possible the motor inside the headlight has malfunctioned or stopped working altogether, in which case you’ll need to buy an entire new headlight housing – like mentioned earlier, eBay is your best bet for that, and expect to pay about $200-300. But hopefully you may just be like me and have to massage the projector lens back into place and reset the headlight adjustment via VAG-com and the problem will go away 🙂
VAG-com adjustments (reset to factory spec)
If you change anything other than the bulb, you may also need to recalibrate your headlights and reset the adjustments to factory. To do this, follow the A4mods.com DIY mentioned earlier. For me, I fixed the projector lens being knocked out of place then recalibrated the headlight adjustments using VAG-com to fix my errors.
The last resort is to pull Fuse #10 if you have adaptive or auto-leveling headlights – this disables the feature entirely, which should also disable the warning light. This isn’t the best way to fix it as your headlights might be out of alignment still, and you lose the adaptive features, but hey – at least it gets rid of that pesky warning light and beeping 🙂
The Last Resort – Replace the Whole Darn Thing
At a certain point, you may be better off replacing the entire headlight assembly as you can usually find complete headlights (including ballasts and bulbs) used on eBay for a reasonable price.
This also covers you in case the problem lies elsewhere in the headlight housing, and since you’re going through the trouble of removing your headlights this is probably worth the extra $100 over the cost of a ballast to not have to remove all of these parts more than once.
If your car is older, chances are it’s pretty easy to find used headlight assemblies on eBay from wrecked cars that work just fine, and they’re usually pretty cheap, or you can pick up a new set on Amazon here:
Make sure you have the right part number prior to ordering – the part number can be found on a white sticker on top of your headlights which you can see simply by opening the hood – compare this to the eBay listing to confirm you’re swapping “apples to apples” with the replacement housing. The biggest thing to watch out for is AFS vs non-AFS, as you can’t mix these up. AFS is Audi’s “curve lighting” system which has its own wiring to power this motor, and switching between them is not easy to do.
To swap out the headlight housings, follow this DIY: http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php/234131-B7-A4-S4-Clear-Corner-Mod-Removal-of-Bumper
Still stumped? Leave a comment, I’ll do my best to help…
As a fellow B7 owner, love these car specific articles. Have you or do you plan to ever write about the dreaded CVT (what to do or warranty info) or replacing the trunk latch (seems like many other have this issue)? As you noted, the forums are a great place to find info. Thanks
My A4 that I owned before the S4 was a CVT – not sure what all you can do other than trade it in before it blows up. That’s what I ended up doing anyway…that being said, my CVT didn’t have any problems over the 3 years and 10+ track days I enjoyed with the car…
Trunk latch I haven’t ran into yet – a lot of my DIYs on this blog are from when the issue goes wrong on my car and I have to fix it myself. I’ve heard of the glove box breaking before. If my trunk breaks I’ll be sure to let you know 🙂
Hey nick congrats on your blog. Big fan here. Just a quick question here. I have 2010 Audi a4 and just did service for 45k. That’s was the last one from audi care program. Is audi care plus worth it? If you heard of it and know anything about it?? Thanks
Zak – it can definitely be worth it, it kind of depends on how much they’re asking for it and how long you plan on keeping the car. I’ve written about the CPO program which is much like the Audi Plus program, so check out my thoughts there: https://www.nickscarblog.com/cars/audi-cpo-warranty-is-not-transferable-not-worth-it
Hey Nick, great information and covers all bases. I found aftermarket replacement headlight units for $456/pair with LEDs too for a 2006 A4 Quattro 2.0T. Would entirely new headlamps fix most issues? And can someone easily install at home?
Should fix the problem yes, “easy to install at home” is debatable and depends on your definition of easy. It’s not technically difficult, but fairly intensive as you have to remove the bumper before you can remove the headlights. Instructions would be the same as done in the clear corner mod here: https://www.nickscarblog.com/diy/b7-audi-clear-corner-mod
I was seeing if Like Miller wanted to share where he found the pair for $456???
Sounds like they were aftermarket ones, you can find those just about anywhere but eBay tends to have the most selection…
Really enjoy your blogs and the detailed, clear instructions.
I have an issue with my xenons on my 06 3.0TDI – which, if you click the link to my thread on audizine you will see I have other issues too unfortunately.
Nonetheless, will replacing the ballasts solve an intermittent headlight failure or do you recommend aftermarket headlights?
Check my ride out along with my super rare RS2 which you’ll love.
I’d try the ballasts first, that should help. I really have never been a fan of aftermarket headlights, the OEM is truly of a superior quality even though they are more prone to dipped headlight problems. Can you email me some pics of your RS2? Would love to feature it on my blog as a future/upcoming Featured Ride! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I definitely will send you pics of the RS2 tomorrow. That would be awesome!
I’m a bit unclear- I figured the ballasts to be the housing that comes with the bulb. Am I incorrect? Then there are other threads referring to the xenon controllers. I swopped out the right side bulb with an osram and it hasn’t gone out yet. Left one still does it badly
The ballast is separate from the bulb – it is located on the underside of the headlight housing and is rectangular in shape, about the size of a piece of toast.
Could you please help me with the steps in removing a driver side headlight assembly on a 2006 A6? how many bolts hold in the assembly? Does the entire front bumper have to come off to get the HL assembly out? Someone had posted instructions on how they were able to actually able to fix the AFS motor.
Hi Jay – not sure on the A6 platform, never worked on one before. Would be interested to read the instructions to fix the AFS motor though, can you tell me where those are?
Love your blog! So helpful and a great read.
I have a 2007 A4 with adaptive HID headlights, and recently noticed a slight flickering on my driver’s side lamp. In addition, when I flip my high beams on, the pax side lamp flips up right away but the driver’s side either takes a while or doesn’t move at all. Sounds a bit like your motor or sensor problem described above, but no warning light yet. Any advice?
You might want to try just replacing the bulbs as a first step, easy (and cheap) thing to rule out and the flickering could just be an indication the bulbs are about to go out…
Got the driver side HL assembly out on my A6/C6. unfortunately I didn’t bookmark the instructions I referred to in my last post. These assemblies have the allen head fittings so you can manually adjust the AFS and curve function. So far, I cant see where the motor is that controls the curve function. The good news is that I don’t have any broken gears or track parts in either the AFS or curve systems.
Hello I have a 2009 audi a4 and need to replace the drivers side light (entire mechanism including the lense ) as well as the pass side bulb and led strip. Any ideas as to how I can do this? Audi is asking for almost 4k to fix this and I cannot afford that. I’m thinking I can purchase the parts and have someone else install?
Thanks so much.
You can pickup a new housing with bulbs and ballasts on eBay for MUCH cheaper than that. Labor on installing isn’t bad, should be 1-2 hours tops. All said and done, you should be able to do this for ~$1,000…
I have a 2006 A6(c6) with the same head light error, however the fuse is different on this car. From the legend I did not find any adaptive headlight fuse but just a generic light electronics(1 left 1 right). I tried removing them, lights still on but the message too. Is there any other fuse I should pull?
I’m not familiar with the fuses of an 06 A6, sorry William.
Ive got an Audi A5 2010, ive just changed the head light but the adaptive warning light is still flashing, can i buy a vag com reader or do i have to download the software?
If you buy a vag com cable the software is free.
There definitely is some confusion on this around many of the forums and you seem to be the one who could clear it up. Does an A3/A4 with the self leveling Xenons also have the curve swiveling/sensor feature? It seems perfectly reasonable but from all my reading there’s no definitive answer. Even better, is it something that can be enabled through a vag com? Personally, I bought my car used so sont know for sure that it doesn’t have the left/right swivel feature. I’ve even read that this kind of thing can go out and not prompt an error message within the car. If you know if this capability and/or mod is possible I know at least one or two others who would benefit as well…thanks in advance!
Hi Robert – great question! At least for the B7 A4/S4 platform, all xenons have auto-leveling, which is the up/down range. Not all xenons have AFS, which is the left/right range that synchronizes with the steering wheel. So they are certainly two different things/features. And yes, the AFS is certainly prone to failure and is something I had to disable on my car accordingly 🙁
Hi Nick! This is my first time posting on your blog and wanted to add to the discussion about the dipped headlight error. It came up on my warning display last week and having remembered your DIY posting I was prepared to remove my bumper to diagnose as you detailed here. I decided against it and made an appointment with Pure to have it checked out. They called several hours later and pointed out something I had noticed but it didn’t register with me as I had bulbs and ballasts running through my mind: The error only occurred with the headlight selector dial in the “auto” position. When the dial goes to the next headlight mode or the “full on” position, the error message disappears. After they splashed some water on the windshield to test the rain sensor mode for the wipers, they determined that the sensor pack which detects daylight for the headlights and water for the auto wipers was defective. I took it in this morning and they replaced it for $343. Far better than the $500+ the dealer would have charged. Everything is working normally now and when I pulled into my darkened garage a few minutes ago, the headlights fired right up. Just wanted to present your readers with another possible source when this error message appears. Thanks for taking time to provide these DIYs Nick
Interesting, nice find! I’m sure others have this issue, something easy to fix anyway. Thanks for sharing.
Hi nick, i have an 2009 a5. With adaptive lights. I was following an advice from a mechanic to take off the minus cable on the battery. For 10 min so the car could completely reset to factory. But after i had connected it again and started the vehicle, i got a message and yellow light saying adaptive lights defective. They dont work now. But they worked that day. This is not surposed to happen right? And i cannot find the fuse.
Raymond – I would take it to an Audi mechanic or someone with a VAG-com cable and have them clear the warning code and see if that helps. I’d also check with the dealership and see if your lights were recalled, as I know some of the newer Audi models had a recall for this.
Hey Nick – I ordered the Sylvania bulbs you linked to and installed them but they’re pretty yellow – a lot more yellow than the stock bulb on the other side. Do these burn into their true color or ? All bulbs, the one I replaced, the bulb I replaced it with, and the still good bulb are 4300K.
They do change colors both once they’ve been “broken in” as well as once they heat up. 4300k can be slightly different depending on manufacturer, but I wouldn’t think it would make that much of a difference – give it a few uses and see if they don’t even out…
I started my car without the driver side headlight in. I read in a forum that this will cause the headlight range control error. I was working on replacing my thermostat, and did not have the headlight in when I was testing and bleeding my cooling system. Even after disconnecting the battery, the error does not go away. Is the only way to get rid of this error with a VAG COM? Or is there another option? Really don’t want to spend $200 or whatever for a VAG COM just to get rid of an errow when nothing is wrong with the headlight.
I have a 2003 audi a4 that the headlight dipped light is on an the code says it a ground problem also the oil level sensor says the same is there a ground wire for these
Hi Nick, Like others my 2007 A6 Quattro 3.2 has the dreaded dipped headlight error light on the dash. Repair shop says it needs a whole new headlamp assy, base cost of $1070 w/o labor. Didn’t check sensors, bulbs or alignment. Typical shop deal. Any way to narrow it down before spending big bucks, and if in fact motor is bad, can you replace the assy with one that doesn’t have self leveling lamps? Thanks,
You can ask them to provide you the specific error code/warning that the car returned and see if it gives you any guidance, but otherwise it is a little bit of guess & check. The bulbs are pretty cheap & easy to try first, so I’d start there. If you do end up needing to replace the headlight all together, check out eBay and/or Craigslist and you can probably find one much, much cheaper. Worst case scenario just pull the fuse for the adaptive fuse and the warning will go away 😉
I have a 2007 Q7 4.2 and the “dipped headlights or rear lights’ warning just came on. Read through your comments above – same recommendations for Q7 and how do I confirm if I have adaptive lights? Thank you
Same recommendations, and you can confirm if you have them or not as when the car starts up the lights should “dance” meaning the beam goes up down, left/right to calibrate. If the beam moves around that is the adaptive function warming up.
Hi Nick, glad to see you are still answering posts on this. My headlights on my A4 3.2L are out of control and I am going to have the dealer look at them next Saturday. My car has xenons already, but I’m having trouble finding replacement headlights that work with xenon models. If it turns out the be the ballast does that mean my only options are to replace them or are there just considerably less xenon compatible after market headlights?
It seems like a lot of people are having issues with this recently, and it’s a total pain of an issue to deal with. Switching to aftermarket headlights doesn’t work well, as those are designed for cars that originally had halogen headlights, so the wiring harnesses are totally different. Your best bet is to buy a new (or used) ballast if you think that is the culprit, or just buy an entire new headlight housing otherwise. Probably not the news you wanted to hear :/
I have the warning light on the LCD screen in my c5 Allroad. Previous owner did a coilover conversion and removed the 2 front leveling sensors. Now I have a warning lamp on the LCD screen. I just checked and fuse 10 has not only been pulled but there is nothing there to plug a fuse into. (Terminals removed). How the hell can I get this light off my dash. please advise. Thanks
It probably isn’t the same fuse on your car as mine since you have an entirely different platform. Look for a fuse diagram and see if any of the fuses are related to the auto leveling or headlight leveling system and you might be able to figure out which fuse it is that way…
There aren’t any other fuses designated to the headlight leveling system. Only other thing I can think of, is to replace the leveling sensor but they’re expensive. I would much rather code it out if possible. VAG-COM says that there is no signal from the front left leveling sensor (I assume this is throwing the warning light for a malfunction in the leveling system) But I just want to get rid of it entirely…Any ideas?
The ballast is the same as used in the Chrysler 300 which is $100 from mo par.
Just FYI for those with a bad ballast.
Holy shit, good to know!
I have a 2005.5 Audi A4 and my ballasts went bad, as a result lights flickering before totally going out. I replaced the ballasts and after intalling i got a adaptive light warning light. What does this mean?
It’s possible you dislodged something or knocked the adaptive motors out of place causing the light to come on…do the headlights “dance” up and down, left right when you first turn them on (the adaptive feature calibrating).
No they do not any more.
Great blog. It is one of the most common fault on Audi C6 ( last reports feom dekra .de). I think when the lights are 8-10 years old, and frequently fault after fix one part, I have get 3 different fault last year. Is on A6. 3.2 Xeon. Now I decided to buy 2.new complete headlight lamps( would be cheaper in the long term ????. But how can I know the right types, was not any stickers numbers from the lamp I have, and link to lamps on eBay? Amazon? Have never shop there but is better than originally Audi dealer. Thanks for this good tread
If you want brand new ones, going through your Audi dealer is your best bet unfortunately (also most expensive). You can look up the part number on a site like ECSTuning.com or GenuineAudiParts.com as well.
I have a 2006 Audi A4 the left side dipped headlamp a couple years back and I begrudgingly replaced it at the dealer, $350 later it was fixed but now the right side is doing the same thing. My headlights flicker but now both sides flicker where a couple months back it was only the right side, can I replace the Xenon lights myself? I looked into it initially but the Chilton’s manual and Audi Owner’s Manual suggest against it because it can retain a high voltage within the headlight and you could get shocked and possibly injured. Has anyone out there replaced it?
Audi did have a class action lawsuit for these issues with their lights but I missed out on the timeframe to get mine fixed and am kicking myself for it.
I’ve changed my bulbs before, really not that hard. Disconnect your battery and let the car sit if you’re really worried about it, although I didn’t…
Hey Nick – your post is really helpful and I keep coming back to it. Unfortunately my pass side headlight swivel module appears to have failed. My VAGCOM indicates an intermittent mechanical failure. The headlights auto-level and aim at start up “dance” most of the time, but sometimes the right side you can tell is just having a tougher time! For the first few weeks I needed to only start/restart the car and I would be good for the remainder of the trip. Now, it still tries to dance but can’t get to the correct position. Then you can tell it has completely failed because it just kind of droops down to the right. Now, the worst part is that my cluster screams at constantly in the most random cadence. One question – do you know what kind of role the ballast plays in the AFS function? I have heard some conflicting information on that. I believe it would be easier to replace the ballast first rather than open up the headlight. But given the VAGCOM fault, right now I think my best bet is to buy a headlight from car-part.com and replace the swivel module. But of course if there is an easier way I’d like to try that first. I think tomorrow morning I’m just going to find/pull the fuse…then aim mechanically if I need to.
Anyways thanks for the good post. I’ll try to post up my solution. And if I end up with a bad swivel module, I’ll see if I can tear it down and find the failure.
I’m not sure if the ballast plays a direct role in the AFS functioning, or if it’s just a common trigger of a “dipped headlight” warning – if it does, I would assume only in transferring power to the swivel module, but it sounds like your AFS is getting plenty of power, so my guess is the swivel module itself is bad on your lights. You’re probably best off buying a new (used) headlight off eBay or the like with AFS and going that route.
Hi, my UK spec 2009 TT roadster has Xenon Plus adaptive headlights, which are very good. The inner headlamps have what appear to be halogen bulbs, but in no circumstances do they illuminate. Main beam, dipped beam and headlamp flasher all operate from the outer lamps only. The car has normal sidelights and under bumper foglights which also work OK. What function do the inner lamps perform? Neither the driver’s handbook or the local dealership are able to explain this.
My S4 has something similiar, my guess is that bulb is intended for different (non UK) markets, hence why it doesn’t light up for you. In the US we have City Lights and Daytime Running Lights, and the City Light (what I think you’re referring to) only comes on when the headlight does. I’m guessing if you changed your headlight settings in Vag-com you could get it to turn on, although not sure what the benefit would be.
Hi Nick, thanks for the reply. It nudged me to look at the front of the car in daylight with the engine running and the light switch set to “Auto”. In these conditions they do illuminate and are daytime running lights, and as the ambient light reduces they are switched off as the xenon headlights come on. DLRs are now very popular in the UK, with most new cars here since around 2011 having LED DRLs.
So problem solved. Thanks, Graham.
when you say you reached into the headlight and pulled it back out to realign it could you be more specific how you did it because i have the same error and my projector looks the same way as if its pushed out of its socket.
Hi John – it’s hard to say, it will either pop back into place, or the mounting bracket is cracked/broken in which case it won’t line up. Just be gentle and see if it naturally goes back into place and stays there – if not, it’s possible the bracket is broken – it’s a pretty flimsy piece of plastic that holds the projector in place.
I have a 2005.5 audi a4 that I just recently purchased used from a private seller. I have noticed it flickering and it seems that when I hit a slight bump just the left side goes out and it says left dipped light. I had it checked out at the local mechanic and they weren’t sure what to do. I took the car home and then when I went to start it the battery was dead. Took it back to them and they had to completely replace it, they thought that my problem was fixed but then the same thing happen but if I turn the lights off and back on again they work… any suggestions on what to do next or what the problem could be?
If it’s flickering, it’s either the bulb or the ballast most likely. I’d start with replacing the bulb, it’s possible that your 2005.5 is still on original bulbs and they’re just on their way out…
It flickers for a bit and then goes out. If I turn the lights off and back on it will work again for a few minutes. Could it still be the bulb?? I thought that once the bulb goes out its out for good.
hi i have an audi allroad 2001 and have change the headlights to xenon dipped beam no have the error light and also effecting the air suspension any ideas on what to do.
How is it affecting the air ride? Are the headlights adaptive? If so, there is a sensor that goes in the wheel well that adjusts the light based on ride height, so if you’re missing that it could explain why the headlights are out of wack?
i changed the two air springs last week on the rear and everything was fine then installed new headlights which are xenon on the dipped beam and original lights where halogen so error came on as i think the car is not detecting them. the old lights where the kind that move up and down when you first switch them on the new ones do not have this feature.
the suspension keeps putting the rise and lower lights on when driving for example today the down light was flashing on level 2 but the level 3 light was blinking so one going up and one down never had this before.
Hi Adam – did you change your settings in Vag-Com to the new headlights? You’ll want to update  Headlight Aim Control – it sounds like you went from Adaptive to Xenon Plus, so if your car’s settings haven’t been updated that will probably cause the issue: http://wiki.ross-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Audi_A6/S6/RS6/allroad_%284F%29
thanks i thought something like that i will need to take to garage is it a quick thing to do and not expensive
Nick, Do you know how to tell if the adaptive headlights are working. I notice that they go “from down to up” when I turn on the car because the light shines on my garage door. I am not so sure about the “left to right” while steering.
hi if i get a vag-com cable can this be done by myself?
@adam – yes, you can buy a vag-com and do yourself, although they cost about $200. Or you can find a shop that specializes in VW/Audi to do it for you, it should only take a few minutes…
They should “dance” up/down/left/right all at warmup, so it’s possible the left/right is broken. You should also be able to test just by turning the wheel in neutral, or driving at a really low speed and turning sharply. Face up against a wall or garage door so you can see the beam pattern clearly.
does the vag-com cable just give you the error codes
No, it can change the settings/codes themselves as well. Unless you buy a knock-off cable, then it sometimes can’t change the codes.
does the cheap cable off amazon not do the job
The cheap cables on Amazon, eBay, etc. have only limited functionality – basically they can clear errors and maybe edit some codes, but can’t edit nearly as much as the Ross-tech cables can – so it’s hit or miss as to whether the cheap cable will be able to edit the code you actually want to change. I recommend investing in the official Ross-Tech cables, it’s well worth the money and pays for itself by allowing you to skip a lot of time/money at the dealership getting yoru car diagnosed or fixed.
Helena, same problem on my 2005.5 A4 2.0t, did bulbs on my own, pain in the A$$. Still had the same problem so moved onto the ballast, same problem. The problem suddenly went away a couple months later only to have it come back again. I am now into another 3 months without the issue with no explanation from mechanic or Audi..
I should also mention that my headlights were dipping and shutting off…
I had error for dynamic cornering light motor Vcds showing below error.
02627 – Dynamic Cornering Light Motor; Left (V318)
010 – Open or Short to Plus – MIL ON
I got it fixed by removing headlight, measuring connectivity to motor and finding out that one coil was broken. Then I had to drill hole to headlamp case to be able to remove the cornering motor. After that the motor was easiest ever to maintain ie taking it apart was dead simple. In the end it turned out that coil wire was disconnected from connector, since it is just pressed. I reconnected + tinned it. Then reassembly and sealing the drilled hole + clearing the codes. All can be done in 3 hours
I have a 2006 Audi A4 2.0T and the driver side parking light, left rear blinker light, reverse lights, and the left rear brake light won’t work. I tried changing the bulbs and they still would not work. What can the problem be?
To have that many bulbs out it sounds like more of an electrical issue – I’d start by checking your fuses, and if that isn’t the culprit running a Vag-Com scan and see what errors it returns…
Hey Nick, I have a 2007 Audi a4 and hids w/afs. I had a dipped headlight error. I recently replaced my headlights bulbs with the one from your link and also DRL and city lights mod. The small bulbs flicker a little. Which I used a 25w10omh. The dipped error cleared but I get a left high beam error light, which seems to be brighter than the left and I can only tell in the reflection of another vehicle (riding their bumper). Any ideas?
Hi. I have UK 2008 audi A4 Avant. Upon start up with main beam on the driver side light goes off after a few minutes. Get a dipped driver light warning. Turn car off and let it cool and it’s all good again for a few minutes. Lights are xenon. Any ideas?
That sounds like a pretty common case, I’d read through this article and follow those steps in order! Doesn’t sound like an issue with AFS, either bulbs or ballasts. Cheers.
You can adjust the level of the beams, its possible when installing the DRL you knocked the projector out of alignment or angled it upward by mistake. Try adjusting the beam to point lower and visually inspect the projector itself to make sure it’s not off the track or misaligned.
I have a 2007 Q7 with HID lights. For about 2 weeks or so the right side headlight hasn’t been coming on everytime I turn the switch. Sometimes it comes on and other times it doesn’t. I thought there was a lose wire problem so last saturday I took the whole headlight housing off and cleaned all the contacts – still doing the same thing. Do you think it could be the bulb? When it comes on it stays on until I turn it off. Any ideas?
Hey Nick, having similar problems with my headlights on my 2006 a4. The adaptive headlight warning symbol started flashing on me last week for no apparent reason…figures. I had both my bulbs replaced about 6 months ago so it makes me think it’s not the bulbs.On start up they do the standard adjustment test so I know the motors are working. The sensors on the suspension are intact and plugged in. Everything opperates accordingly however that warning light remains on. What are your thoughts on the adaptive range module going out or being bad?
It sounds like the motors are fine if the lights still “dance” at startup. Perhaps the ballast? That sounds strange though. Can you do a VAG-COM scan to see what error codes come back? That might help pinpoint.
I ordered a scanner earlier this week so I’ll be able to do a scan soon and get back to you. thanks for the response.
Hey Nick i have a 2004 Audi A4 that I bought at auction. It’s passenger side low beam headlight wasn’t working so I replaced it with a new bulb. It worked great for a few minutes and I cut the car off. Curious I turned the car back on and the light isn’t working again. What should I do?
Did you check to make sure it was screwed in all of the way, and perhaps has a bad connection?
Nick – I’ve come across your blog a handful of times and appreciate all your posts. As a long time VW/AUDI enthusiast it’s cool to see this type of contribution from someone outside of the main forums.
Anyway, I have an 05.5 B7 S4 avant that I lowered slightly just after purchase and since my dipped/low beam lights are pointing higher than they should – getting folks flashing me all the time. I’ve experienced similar results with VW auto leveling Xenon lights due to one of the sensor arms getting put to the wrong direction during the suspension install by accident. I’ve been trying to find something to show which is the proper direction so I can sort it out but reading this post I’m wondering if it needs to be bent as mentioned above. Curious on your thoughts before I get under the car.
BTW – any inner headlight bulbs on cars with bi-xenon have a purpose even if they aren’t a DRL. It’s called “flash to pass” lights in case you need to flash your lights when the Xenon lights are not on – the Xenon wouldn’t light up quick enough. All MKV GTI/GLI operate this way with the Xenon lights defaulting (stupidly) as the DRL’s.
I meant to include for the MKV GTI/GLI there was confusion on those bulbs since with DRL’s active you would never be able to get those inner lights to operate. When the DRL’s are disabled and the lights are off they work when pulling on the high beam lever. One of the fun bits with VCDS is you can update the settings to have these come on with the high beams and have the fogs stay on giving you a 6-light high beam. I haven’t been able to figure out a way to do this with the B7,though.
I didn’t have to adjust my sensors when I lowered my car, but some folks have. There is a manual adjusters on top of the headlight you can adjust with a flathead that I would start with, you can get some decent adjustment out of that and it might be enough…unless you have a warning light, then perhaps you do need to bend the sensor in the drivers side front wheel well. Start with the easy stuff though 😉
Fair point on the flash to pass – I revise my statement of them being worthless to “mostly worthless” lol.
Thanks for the kind words!
I was successful adjusting the headlight beam height via VCDS as my lights don’t have a manual adjustment control. In case it helps others in the same situation I updated the Workshop code in the Xenon Range module (55) to a higher number as mentioned in this thread: http://www.audizine.com/forum/showthread.php/310536-Any-way-to-aim-headlights-higher?s=41b8f092a9ed5766e1e151ce3eb05e78&p=7427711&viewfull=1#post7427711
While the thread is in reference to the B8 I had success using the logic. My default code was 06325 and I updated to 08325 which lowered the beam height. I did it at home blindly and just waited to see what it was like when I drove at night. It worked but I think I went too low so I’ll be finding a spot tonight to play with it where I can see the changes happen as I do it.
Hi Nick, I have a golf mk5 gti (2007) with a aftermarket hid kit fitted and every now and then the passenger side doesn’t always fire up I have to turn them on and off. Any ideas how I could fix this.
Most likely a problem with the ballast, or the wiring connectors are loose. Check your connections first where the adapter of the aftermarket ballast plugs in, otherwise you may want to order a new ballast…
Hey Nick, I have b7 s4 and my lights tend to go out random or right after start up. when this started first happening my left bulb went out and replacing it seemed to help for a while. Now my right bulb is acting up sometimes the left one too. Today I noticed both my bulbs went out and flickering the light switch did not help until I turned on my fog lights, all lights light up, then they started flashing individually. My fog lights have hids that the PO installed, no errors for them. I have changed bulbs but it does not seem to be any better?
Sounds like the ballasts could be frying the bulbs, hence the issue. I’d pick up some new ballasts (they are the same as Chrysler 300) and give that a go, you’ll need new bulbs too since the current ones are getting excessive wear from the ballasts if that is indeed causing your problems.
Hello Nick, I have a 2006 audi a4 avant, left front xenon headlight flickers out and then dipped headlight displays… I just have to turn my headlights off and then on again and it comes back on, sometimes I have to do this a few times and then it stays on… this problem does not happen every time I drive the car in the dark but seems to happen more in the winter. getting tired of flashing the people in front of me… what can i do before letting the dealership empty my pocketbook
Hi Oliver – I’m afraid I can’t help much more than trying what is already listed in this post – sounds like it could be ballasts, but hard to say. You could try switching the bulbs (put current right bulb in left housing and vice versa) and see if the problem stays on the drivers side or moves with the bulbs – if it moves, replace the bulbs, if it stays, replace the ballast on the faulty side.
Thanks for the reply, now the last couple of days the left light flickers couple times on start up then is all good.
Hi, I have a 2011 A6 advant, s-line with zenon lights. The inner bulbs only seem to work when pulling back on the main beam lever as mentioned by Jer on the 3rd of January. My mate just got a skoda superb 2012 with xenon lights. On main beam with the switch in auto. The inner bulbs are lit as well as the zenon lights raising to main beam position. These give a far superior light than the audi. Jer mentioned that these inner lights can be switched on to be used with the main beam. Does anyone know how this is done. My pervious car was a 2011 skoda superb with standard lights and they were brighter than the A6.. Thanks in advance
Hi I have a 2003 audi a4 1.8t and my driver side headlight went out. I replaced the bulb that didn’t work, I took the ballast from the passengers side and put it in the drivers side then it worked so I ordered one up and two days later when I went to put the new one in the drivers side was out again. what is the next thing I should try?
Sounds like there must be something bad going on with the wiring to keep frying the ballast or triggering an error – I’d suggest replacing the entire headlight housing, including bulbs and ballasts. You can pick them up on eBay for fairly cheap, and while it’s overkill, it’s probably the only surefire way to eliminate from here.
Hey there, like the blog. I have a 2003 Audi A4 and I just bought and installed aftermarket headlight housings that have the newer style LED look. I got everything swapped over and working good (the housing uses your D1S xenon bulb instead of some that use the cheaper aftermarket HIDs). I wasn’t able to get the actual leveler out of the stock housing cause I was afraid I would break it, so the leveling light comes on in the car. Do you by any chance how to take that out of the housing? And also if you can make it work with these aftermarket housings? Thanks!!
You’re probably better off to just pull the fuse for the auto-leveling feature, or re-code your headlights via Vag-Com to disable it. I dont think you can remove the components and retrofit them easily.
Hey Nick great blog, really appreciate you taking the time to respond to us who need a little help, quick question. Im in a similar situation as Andrew, I installed aftermarket headlights on my 2004 Audi A4 (D1s xenons) but when I turn my lights on at night only the middle D1S light up and the ones on the sides will not but they will work when you use the turn signal. Also the dashboard will flash and tell me the left parking light and left turning lights are bad as well as the right. Any feedback would be awesome. Thank you!
Sounds like it could be a problem with the aftermarket headlights. Was your car equipped with halogens before? The other thing to check would be the coding of the headlights in VAG-com, perhaps they need changed?
Just to let you know one of your pages for replacing headlights is not working:
It seems to be working now, is it still not working for you? If so, mind sending a screenshot to email@example.com so I can investigate? Thanks for the heads up!
Can someone please give me more advice about an error for my headlights..
I drive an Audi A4 B7 2007 with Bi xenon adaptive cornering headlights..
I have had an accident recently and I have replaced the headlights with regular BI xenons without the adaptive cornering..
Now everytime I start my car, I get the error on my dashboard that is also mentioned above..
What do I have to change (VAGCOM) so that I would not have the error anymore?
(sorry for my english)
Hi Barry – you could either pull the fuse for the adaptive headlights (I believe it’s Fuse #10) to disable it, or in Vag-Com you can change the programming for your headlights that way too. Good luck!
Hi Nick – Thanks for the great site, it helped me out before with changing the bulbs in my 2008 A5 but unfortunately I have another light related issue.
When the main lights are switched on by either the light switch in Auto or “on” mode I get a message telling both my left and right main / dipped lights are not working. It would seem very coincidental that both the bulbs would fail at the same time (they don’t come on). Looking on page 273 of the manual here
I cant see a fuse that is just for the lights. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks for your reply
Can you maybe explain to me how to do it on vagcom because ive been searchin for it but cant find it!!
Hi barry – check Ross-Tech here: http://wiki.ross-tech.com/wiki/index.php/Audi_A4/S4/RS4/Cabriolet_%288E/8H%29 I think you need to change from adaptive coding to Xenon Plus coding.
Are other lights in your headlight housing working (e.g. turn signal bulb, etc.)? If so, I doubt it is a fuse. If you are confident the bulbs are installed correctly and plugged into the ballasts, it seems you have a bigger issue going on.
Hey Nick, I have a 2004 A4 Quattro. Have left and right dipped headlight error message. High beams work perfect. When I switch to low beams they do not work. Have replaced the bulbs on both sides and still the same.
Either the wiring is loose, or the ballasts are bad. Did both go out at the same time?
It has the H7 halogen bulbs so I don’t think it has ballasts. No they didn’t go out at the same time, it was 2 days apart. I have checked the connections for corrosion and/or non contact and both appeared good to go. I was a F/A-18 Hornet mechanic for 18 years and this dang headlight problem has me stumped. It’s driving me absolutely nuts !
I took my A5 to the official Audi dealer in Chelmsford UK and was told both bulbs had gone. They replaced them at a discounted rate of £480. I’m don’t believe them, I think it was something else simple but they replaced the bulbs anyway. This is because a) they kept referring to the OEM bulbs that were in there being expensive, when I had replaced them myself 3 years ago with non-OEM. b) He kept telling me they had to “charge the bulbs with gas”?
tom here again,
i’m having the opposite issue everyone else seems to have and can’t find a fix anywhere. my passenger side headlight works great, no flickering, no dipped light error, but it won’t switch from low to high beam. the driver side works perfectly with no hesitation, but there is no response or sound from the passenger side. they both auto level and turn / move up or down like they should, it’s just the high beam on that side. my audi dealer told me to replace the entire unit, but i’d prefer not to spend several hundred on a headlight. thanks in advance!
@Tom, you’ll need to take apart the headlight and try to figure out why the motor that flips from high beam to low beam isn’t working, or the dealership could be right and a full-on replacement is in order. No experience there, good luck.
Hello Nick. Thanks for this blog. I have a 2009 Audi A5 Quattro Sline…It’s a beautiful car… and I just got a 300.00 headlight change. The next day it was out again, so this page has helped me focus on the ballast and not concentrate on wasting more money on bulbs….Keep up the good work…
Happy to help, but sorry about your predicament!
I have a 2007 Q7 can I buy led head lights that will be a direct fit
Do you have the LED headlights currently, or are you trying to retrofit? A lot of times the best place to find OEM parts for retrofits are eBay, there are sellers in Europe that can get the parts a lot cheaper than we can in the US and will ship it pretty cheap too.
I have a Audi Q7 and recently the passenger side head light started to flicker and then then the “bulb out” signal comes on. Replaced the bulb but the problem did not go so put the old bulb again. I tehn replaced the ballast unit but the problem is still there. Can you help? Riza
Hi Riza – do you have the auto-leveling/adaptive feature to your headlights? If so, can you tell if that is working or not? If the bulbs and ballasts are fine, it is likely an issue with the headlight beams not adjusting/aiming properly, which is often a broken motor or mount inside the headlight which positions the beam – most common with adaptive headlights.
I’ve got a 2002 Allroad. Just got a “bulb out” idiot light on my dash. Sure enough , the left headlight is out. I plugged in my VAG-COM and got not codes relating to the lights. Is this just a bulb then? Forgot to mention, HID bulbs. New leveling sensor 3 years ago, removed air suspension shortly thereafter, never have had any other lighting issues.
Sounds like it’s probably just the bulb being out in this case. “Dipped headlight” just means the headlight isn’t working, it’s a really broad message that can cover a lot of issues, which is why it’s so frusterating to remedy. If you had aftermarket HID bulbs, sometimes they go faulty quicker and aren’t built as well, I bought some really cheap ones made in China and had them go bad in less than a week…
Hi nick, I’ve got a question about my 04 a4 1.8t, so it still has the factory bulbs(self leveling) and recently when I take a turn my passenger side light will go off. Once I’m through the turn it will come back on, sometimes it’ll stay on and other times it will go off and stay off. If I turn my lights off and immediately back on, my driver side light will be off and the passenger side will be back on until the next turn I take.. I have to turn my car off completely and let it sit for a minute or two, to get them both to come back on again. Any idea what could be the issue, bulbs, ballast, or something more? My Audi is also lowered quite a bit, and still has the factory bulbs.
Oh man, that is a strange one. It almost sounds like an electrical/wiring issue, but I’m not sure. I kind of doubt it is the bulbs, unless the connector to the bulbs is really loose or something. If it gets worse and no connections are loose, you might just want to replace the headlight housing itself to rule out any potential issue. Is the car throwing any codes or warning lights that give you an additional info when you scan via Vag-com?
I’ve yet to have access to a vag-com. I have an appointment at my local dealer Monday for a full electronic diagnosis. They weren’t sure what it could be when I called. I’ve also had my factory alarm go off while I was driving, one morning. I’m stumped myself.
Hi Nick, great information.. Thanks..
I have a 2009 A4 cvt with 60k miles. I am getting the dipped headlight main beam error. Lights are on auto all the time. When the car starts the adaptive leveling happens. Never noticed left right. After reading the comments here I came to know about the left right adjustment.. After driving for a couple of minutes, the driver side light goes off and it shows the error. If u turn the lights off ND on again, the error is still there. Only after a engine shut off and start, the lights come back again. Could it be the bulb? I also read a comment about cvt issue.. What is that? Thanks a lot.
Hi Kiran – either the bulbs or ballasts are on their way out, something is shorting when the system gets heated up is my best guess. I think the DIY above still applies.
The CVT issue is unrelated to the headlights, it’s just a transmission I don’t really like on performance cars (although it gets good gas mileage if you simply want a commuter).
Hi nick, since I purchased my a4 b7 it has had after market Hid/drl headlights installed and when I use my high beam I get the dipped headlight alarm both sides which is constant until I dip the lights and it goes away. Would this be due to the one bulb doing both high and low beam (not sure if factory lights have seperate bulb or not) or something else. 90% of the time I am on dipped but when I need more light it is a hell of an annoyance. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Edit: For halogen equipped cars, there are separate bulbs for High Beam and Low Beam (although both are H7 size); however, for Bi-xenon cars there is only one bulb that does both high and low beam, just like your aftermarket headlamps. If your car had halogen before, you probably need to update your ECU settings using a Vag-Com to tell the car you have xenons know, which should hopefully resolve the problem as then it will only expect one bulb for both high & low functions. My guess is when you switch to high beam the car expects it to be a different bulb and not the same one, which causes the error.
Hi Nick thanks for the blog. You have given me confidence to try things on my car that I would have avoided due to high cost from a mechanic.
I need to replace my xenon headlights on my 2006 A4 B7 and was hoping you might advise me of any new choices on Amazon since your DIY post? I am really nervous about picking the wrong ones. If nothing else, I will order the $119.99 per bulb you suggest from Phillips. I really want the 600K. Thanks
Hi Taybin – thanks for the comment, didn’t realize the products I linked to are no longer carried by Amazon. I actually just recently bought one of these, I think that is a safe bet in terms of OEM quality yet 6000k color: http://amzn.to/1SCuvbc
Got to say thank you for all your answers provided, most interesting reading. Could I ask if you have any thoughts on the following:-
I have just bought a used Audi A6 2006. The auto range fault light is up on the dash display. I noticed that one of the headlights looks clearer than the other- would this bring up the fault? Also when the headlamps are set to auto they are on permanently, not sure if this is related as I live in the Middle East and it is common practice to put a tint strip across the top of the windscreen- just where I believe the light sensor is positioned behind the rear view mirror- or could it be related??
People have mentioned pulling fuse 10 but this does not correspond to headlights on my a6- does anybody know what fuse to pull??
Any help really appreciated
Hi Paul – it is unlikely that it is caused by the headlight being hazed over, but I would fix that anyway both for aesthetic purposes as well as safety reasons (it will greatly decrease light output). There are tons of headlight restoration kits that are super easy to use and work magic in just 15 minutes or so, like this one: http://amzn.to/23a8HrX
The tint strip could definitely be causing your headlights to be on all of the time – for my car (S4, not A6) the headlight sensor is on the back of the rear view mirror. If you want to keep the tint you might just want to not use the “Auto” setting of your headlights, or find exactly where the sensor is on your car and remove a tiny bit of tint there.
In terms of your specific problem, check out this thread for some ideas: http://www.audi-sport.net/xf/threads/yellow-warning-light-dynamic-headlight-range-control-faulty.172973/
Will look into those points and check out the load sensor on the suspension arm.
Thanks again Paul
Hi Nick, I have a UK 2009 Audi A4 avant. I have no error message on my dash but my headlights are ‘vigerously’ adjusting themselves. My main beam still works – its just the auto leveling is ‘flickering’ up and down (which i imagine will be frustratiing for drivers in front of me… I was hoping you could advise what it may be before Audi bend me over.
At risk of sounding like Captain Obvious over here, there is definitely some kind of fault in your auto-leveling system. It is very hard to repair and both the motor and the swivel mounts are very fragile, so I’m not surprised. Net-net you might be better off either disabling the AFS system by pulling the fuse for it (will keep headlights static, as if you didn’t have AFS installed) OR getting a new headlight all together. You could take your current headlight out, crack it open, and try to see if anything looks off (i.e. one of the plastic arms that swivel/move is broken) but it’s going to be a lot of work and might not bear any fruit – I guess it depends on how comfortable you are with bumper removal and whatnot. Sorry, probably not the news you wanted to hear…
I came across this bulb on ebay for 2009 A4 for – http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-GENUINE-OEM-Philips-XenStart-D3S-Xenon-Headlight-BULB-HID-HEAD-LIGHT-LAMP/321812239845
Says new, genuine OEM Phillips.
But, from what I saw on Amazon it is $76 each. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Xenon-Headlight-Bulb-Pack/dp/B008BRJ712. The only difference I see is XenStart mentioned in the ebay one. Are they different bulbs and won’t work on 2009 A4?
Sometimes eBay has really good deals…sometimes the buyers misrepresent the products (i.e. sometimes they’re counterfeit or refurbished but represented as new/genuine with some really believable packaging), other times they’re legit and the seller just bought a bunch on markdown and is selling wholesale. Definitely read up on the seller’s reviews, but it’s possible it just is a really good deal.
hmm.. couple of BMW users wrote reviews saying its counterfeit.. Well, I will stay away.
I found this comment on the Amazon link, saying the bulb replacement fixed his issue “dipped headlight error”.
“Perfect OEM match for the 2009 Audi A4 Prem+.
The car indicated a ‘dipped head light’ where the head light would power up with the car (fully working) but would quickly power down and throw the error within a minute. This was likely the bulb failing after it heats up fully. Ordered this bulb as a replacement, and replaced only the bad light. After a few hours of burn time, the new bulb on the passenger side and the old one on the drivers side are identical in brightness, or at least as far as my eyes can tell.”
That is good to hear. Hopefully it is the case with my A4. Same exact symptoms.
Update: changing the bulbs resolved my issue. Thanks a lot. Followed this DIY – http://www.audiworld.com/forums/s4-b8-platform-discussion-134/diy-hid-bulb-replacements-2772160/
There is a Torx #30 long drive bit in the spare tire kit (have to remove the spare tire in the trunk to access it). RIght most tool in this image – http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/l9YAAOSwlV9WRs3J/s-l300.jpg. Hooked that up to a drill and used to loosen the 2 back screws. Took me 10 min each light.
I bought these pair of bulbs for $60 (HID Xenon Low Beam Headlight Replacement Bulbs by Kensun – (Pack of two bulbs) – D3S – 6000K) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NRVF1YE
(2008 A4 Quattro) So I ripped my front bumper down via a snowbank. Got a new one installed at an auto body shop near me. Seem like great guys, etc. When I get my car back, one of my headlights is out and I have the “dipped headlight error”… So I bring it back in – and they’ve said my Bulb is dead. Major coincidence? Chance they broke it while they were installing the new bumper? Chances it’s something completely else that they screwed up?
Hi Adam – the headlights are finicky, so it’s possible it’s a coincidence or that they were on the way out and after the bumper getting ripped off and then the new one getting installed the headlights might have gotten jostled and damaged the bulbs somewhat. I’d try new bulbs and see if that works, then go back to them. Do you have AFS in your headlights? If so it’s possible they could have damaged that if the headlights got knocked too hard, but seems a little unlikely. It could also be that the headlights just need adjusted again, sometimes a dipped headlight could just be that the headlights need re-adjusted via Vag-Com?
(From the mechanic) It turns out the Autobody shop used a 4″ drywall screw to fasten the bumper/headlight onto the car. Needless to say, it went straight thru the headlight housing, breaking the seal, lightbulb, etc. A big mess!
I’m bringing it back to the Autobody place to buy all new stuff. He said he’d take care of it. Hoping it goes smoothly from here!
Oh man, what a mess…that is definitely not good!
I recently just purchased a 2007 Audi A4 Avant with the bi-xenon auto-leveling headlights off a friend, the car has been sitting for a few months but I was told when it was parked it didn’t have any of the lighting issues it has now. The issues are as follows:
1. When the car is first started the low beams are shaking like crazy, this then turns to the left dipped beam to start flickering and then going out completely. If I turn the lights off and then back on it lights again and after doing this enough times it usually will stay lit.
2. Usually around the same time my left low beam starts flickering the fog lights start going in and out as well, and then after a while they stop working completely. But when I turn the car off and turn the headlight switch to the off position the fog lights then turn on until I get out and lock the car.
3. The high beams usually will work fine when the car is first started, but then when the rest of the lights start having issues the high beams stop working too. However if I pull on the stalk like if I was flashing them they work fine, only when I push the stalk forward does nothing happen and the blue indicator light on the dash does not turn on either.
4. And the last problem I have not encountered myself but my girlfriend said that the last time she drove it the taillights were not working as well.
Also with the car running and the headlights in the off position, when I turn them to the Auto position the interior lights all flash a few times before staying on.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated since I am a little clueless as to where to start right now.
OH man, sounds like a handful. The worst case scenario is that while the car was sitting you had rats (or even just a lot of condensation) get in there and chew up wires and start to cause electrical problems, but let’s hope it’s maybe just things getting old. It’s encouraging things get better when they warm up some…
1) Could be the bulbs or ballasts going bad, although the beams “shaking like crazy” is an odd symptom, I’ve never heard of that. Typically they “dance” at start-up but it’s a very normal movement – up-down, left-right. You could try swapping left and right bulbs and/or ballasts to see if the problem transfers sides, which would help confirm if it is a bulb/ballast issue or if you’ve got something bigger going on.
2) this and #4 has me most worried, sounds like you’re having an electrical issue that is larger than just one of the components. Have you checked all of the fuses just to rule this out? The last part about the fog lights staying on until you get out and lock the car is a feature, called the “Coming Home” feature, which is meant to illuminate the ground if you’re parking somewhere dark as a convenience thing until you’ve walked away from your car and don’t need the extra light anymore, FWIW.
3 & 4) this seems far bigger than just a dipped headlight issue. It might be time to see a mechanic/dealership to at least get them to diagnose the issue for you. Could be a short in the system, battery/alternator not transferring power, or something else I’m overlooking?
After 2 hours scan reading numerous Audi forums and such like on the net, all in an effort to gain enlightenment as to how the hell I fix my ‘randomly-turning-off-and-back-on-again-every-45secs-or-so’ passenger side low beam headlight, I found your blog! I can honestly say it was the most useful and easy to understand of everything I have come across.
I have a 2010 Audi A3 2.0TDI with the ‘Adaptive Xenon Headlights’ (I’m not very technically minded, but they’re the type that do ‘a little dance when they turn on’ if you follow!? I’m writing this as I would like to ask your help & advise. I’m English and I live/work/drive here in Mallorca, Spain which makes my car the same deal/left-hand drive as the american cars you’re talking about on here right, so it should make things easy to explain!
Back in October of last year (2015) I began noticing an intermittent problem with my headlights. It was only ever noticeable at night, but the low beam on the passenger side appeared to ‘turn-off’ and then turn back on again after ‘2-3 seconds’. This continued for about 2-3 weeks, in the meantime I booked the car in to a local garage (not Audi as the car was out of Warranty and I didn’t want to pay their premium). When the day arrived that I had booked to take the car in to be fixed – the passenger side low beam had stopped working altogether, and for my sins I now had a warning light on my dash advising me of this (although I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly what it said).
To cut a long story short, the garage first told me I needed a new bulb. The bulb came, they then informed me by phone a few hours later that infact the bulb hadn’t made a difference and that I needed a new 400€ ($450) ‘Ballast’! or ‘Control Unit’ as they put it (I understand this is the same thing right?). I then collected the car a day or so later when the Ballast had arrived and been fitted. On the way home (in the dark) whilst the low beam was atleast now illuminating again, I noticed straight away that it was also turning off/on again every minute or so (again!) NIGHTMARE!!!
The following morning I returned the car to the garage and explained the problem had not gone away, this was made easier to communicate as I had been wise enough to record a video on my iphone taken in the dark of an underground parking lot which clearly demonstrated the passenger light doing its thing – turning-off-then-back-on every 45secs/minute or so. I left the car with them. Later that day I received a further phone call explaining I DO infact now need a new lightbulb!! (in conjunction with the $500 Ballast they had already charged me for and installed!). They had fitted the lightbulb and tested it, and all was now fine so they said. I collected the car that evening, reluctantly paid an additional 215€ ($240) for a ‘premium’ xenon bulb, and drove home, relieved that finally the bl@@dy light was fixed, but annoyed that it had cost me the equivalent of $700 for the privilege.
All was fine
All was fine for the following 5 months.
Then, now into April 2016, the other evening I noticed the same passenger low beam light is doing EXACTLY the same thing!!! and I’M ABSOLUTELY GUTTED (& mostly tired at the thought that this whole scenario is to start all over again).
I have subsequently been back to said garage (armed with a ‘new’ video! made the other evening in the same parking lot, showing the same problem!) very angrily I pretty much demanded they put my old/so called ‘faulty’ ‘Ballast’/control unit and ‘bulb’ back in my car seeing as the new ones have done NOTHING it would seem. The car is now EXACTLY as it was before they fitted the new parts, and more importantly EXACTLY as it was before I paid them 615€. I said they need to refit the old parts, which in reality I knew was never going to be possible – i.e they’re not likely to archive old car parts! – Either that I said or give me my money back (for the parts which have not made a difference albeit beyond 5 months).
Predictably they said ‘no’, and somewhat surprisingly the spanish owner said he ‘didn’t have to do anything!!!’. Which I found quite unbeliveable, although he really did say this! I am now left having to make a claim through the spanish ‘small claims’ court procedure here in Mallorca (on the basis I have been sold parts that haven’t done anything and therefore that I did not need. They may as well have fitted me a new exhaust for all the good it would have done to the headlight-problem i.e ‘ZERO’).
And so here I am! Writing on your blog in the wild hope that you may have something you could add that may help me get to the bottom of this. I am, for the record, even considering taking the car directly to Audi, mentioning what has already been done to the lights re: New Ballast and Light Bulb, and that there is an Audi ‘TSB’ in existence for this exact issue (which you’re most likely aware of).
I should also perhaps mention that approx 1 year before I noticed the original problem I had a front end low-speed collision with a spanish driver with damage to the front/driver’s side of the vehicle. The whole front end (bumper) and driver side front wing were replaced. Do you think it’s at all possible that this could have had an effect on the ‘Auto Leveling Sensor’? Maybe garage technicians have simply missed it over all this time?? Although this wouldn’t explain the 1 year delay before I noticed any resulting problems with the headlights, so I’m guessing this is possibly just wishful thinking :0(
Anyway Nick, I’d already written far too much half an hour ago, I basically just wanted to ask your input on all of this. Anything you could add would be much appreciated. Maybe, if it helps, you could give me an email address and I can send you the two (before/after) light-fault videos I made? Although not that it would help, as it’s clearly something you’re already well aware of!
Many thanks & all the best
Hi Richard – first of all, so sorry to hear about all of your issues! That is indeed quite frusterating.
I can understand the shop’s point of view that if it was fixed for 5 months, they are “off the hook” and for all of they know in those 5 months you could have done any number of things outside of their control (i.e. leaving the headlights on for several hours every day, or even getting in an accident, etc.). I think a good shop should make it right and offer some kind of “make good” to help you out here, it’s rather unfortunate this shop isn’t standing by their work at all. Needless to say they’ve lost you as a customer as well as anyone else you would have otherwise referred. It also sounds like they didn’t really understand how to fix the lights, and the prices they were charging for parts are VERY high compared to what you’d spend here in the US.
My guess is what happened is when you got in the accident before this all started, something got messed up inside the headlight bulb. The Auto leveling mechanism is VERY sensitive. It wasn’t enough to completely ruin the headlights hence why they weren’t replaced, but something must be out of alignment or short circuited that is causing you to burn through ballasts and/or bulbs very quickly. It’s not uncommon for a bad ballast to burn out bulbs quickly, hence why you had to replace your bulbs twice – the bad ballast just keep burning them out. You can keep replacing ballasts & bulbs but I worry you’ll be in the same situation again in 5-6 months.
My recommendation would be to find an entirely new headlight housing – not just the bulbs & ballasts, but the entire unit. Whatever internal issue that is causing you to burn through bulbs & ballasts will also be fixed, so you’ll be treating the cause of the issue not just the symptoms. This can be pretty expensive from Audi directly, but generally you can find ones on eBay or the like for cheaper.
Again, sorry to hear about all of your troubles. The dipped headlight warnings on Audis are by FAR the most frustrating thing to troubleshoot. This post is one of my most highly trafficked posts of all time and I get several comments a week of people in a similar position. Personally I think it is a design flaw by Audi – the auto leveling headlights are just very prone to break, and the “dipped headlight” error is just not specific enough to be helpful to anyone – even the mechanics don’t really know how to fix it, the best the can do is “guess and check” like this post explains to do.
Hi again Nick,
Thanks for taking the time to reply. Everything you have said sounds spot-on to me and I definitely agree, it would seem the best way to go would be to pick up a pair of new xenon headlight units from ebay or similar. In a last ditch attempt to solve this, I have booked the car in at a second workshop (not the original/previous) this wednesday. I went to see the owner this morning and ran through all the scenarios (including your blog) with him. I have made it clear I would like his technicians to focus on the Auto levelling sensor (drivers side/front) aswell as the vag.com (any errors of note appearing here etc) and a possible required ‘reset’. I will let you know how I get on.
I just have a few remaining quick q’s if that’s okay:
– The accident I had to the front drivers side was in November 2014. The headlight problem began in late September 2015, that’s almost 10 months later. Is there any simple way you can think of to explain this time-lapse if the accident IS to blame for the problems I began experiencing 10months on?
– Is it possible that of the 2x Ballasts, 2x Xenon low beam lamps/bulbs it could just be that the fault I am experiencing now/5 months on, is due to the OTHER 6 year old Ballast and the OTHER 6 year old lamp/bulb that WEREN’T REPLACED? (i.e The car is a 2010 model – so now 6 years old. The previous work shop only changed 1 Ballast & 1 lamp/bulb last October 2015).
My thinking here being that, although this 2nd time that the problem has occured it appears to be on the SAME passenger side, it could be that the previous workshop SWAPPED sides the new Ballast and remaining old Ballast and the new lamp and remaining old lamp as part of a ‘test’ to figure the original cause/problem (I rememember them saying at the time back in October 2015 that they had been doing this). Unfortunately I’m no longer in a position to get this info from them given the circumstances!
– Just to confirm, and at the risk of sounding dumb(!), we’re talking about the possibility of replacing ONE entire unit, not two? And this would be the passenger side (where the problems are literally occuring), as opposed to the driver’s side? (where the accident happened)
Thanks in advance for your help Nick. You’ve already been a massive help. For the record I intend printing a spanish translation of your previous reply and taking it with me on wednesday :0) Thumbup
All the best mate
***Correction to my previous message, first paragraph***
“it would seem the best way to go would be to pick up a new xenon headlight unit from ebay or similar” (Only one needed I’m guessing/hoping – not two haha!! Ufffff imagine)
– for the time lapse between accident and issues, it’s possible it just knocked something loose and partially damaged it, but it took a 10 months of driving for the damage to get bad enough taht something broke – i.e. the arm that levels the projector got weak, but didn’t snap/break, then after 10 months of driving (and im sure some potholes, speed bumps, etc.) it finally gave way. Just a theory though, they could be totally unrelated.
– If they swapped sides, then yeah, it could just be the bulbs/ballasts dying of a natural cause. 6 years old is a long time for bulbs. I thought the accident and the bulb issues where on the same side.
– Yeah, only one headlight would need to be bought, not both.
Once again thanks for this Nick. No, I perhaps didn’t make this all too clear. The accident that occured back in November 2014 was to my front/drivers side. The recurring low beam headlight problem has always been on the opposite/passenger side.
Irrespective, the info on here has been very helpful. I still have a hope the Auto Levelling sensor (drivers side front) may still be the culprit, having read your info on this and also having just found this forum page:
This guy had the exact same symptoms as me (light/s not just flickering, but turning off then back on).
In the end he states: “Rear leveling sensor plastic arm was broken so must of been causing some fault in the system. Fixed the plastic arm eith epoxy and now no errors, flickering. Nothing to do with ballasts or bulbs. So if anyone has these faults that I’d check this first.
Anyway, here’s hoping! I’ll let you know how things go this week :0)
Yeah, I think that’s the culprit too. Glad the site was helpful, hope you get it worked out!
I have a 2009 A4 3.2L and have the headlight range control defective error. I took it to an Audi dealer and they diagnosed my problem (165$) as the sensor, which they quoted at 475$ to replace. How difficult is it to replace the sensor? Do you know of any step by step instructions available, perhaps on youtube? Also, once I replace the sensor, would I need an Audi dealer to clear the codes? Or will they clear once the sensor is replaced? Any and all help is appreciated!
The sensor doesn’t look difficult at all to replace, but it sounds like if they want $475 in labor it must not be as easy as it looks, that is probably 2.5-3 hours. You will need either a dealership or independent shop to use a VAG-com cable and calibrate the new sensor – the codes won’t clear until the sensor has been recalibrated (unless you get really lucky, and the calibration from factory is spot on, but that’s very dubious). I’m guessing you can find an independent shop that would be able to tackle this project for less.
I got fault code 02770. How do you manually adjust the projector lense?
there are two plastic screws on the top of the headlight that you can turn with a flat head screwdriver, pictured here: http://i27.tinypic.com/2506noi.jpg
Just pop the hood and adjust 🙂
Thank you. This is how you pulled back the projector lense? I thought you were saying you reached into the headlight housing and moved it with your hands
Sorry, I misunderstood your originally question – those screws are to manually adjust the beam positioning…but your fault code is an error with the headlight swivel module. You’ll need to recalibrate via Vag-Com, this is not something you want to reach in and do manually yourself. Follow this DIY on how to do that: http://www.a4mods.com/index.php?page=webcontent/pages/autolevel.html&category=6
Nick Hi, Great Blog dude. I wanted to ask you if you know that Koito ballast could work well on Audi’s A4 B6 and B7 the only thing Im concern is the AC Volts which reads 85? I gonna go ahead in order if you haven’t come across this particular and will get back to you. (Genuine OEM Toyota Lexus D2S D2R Xenon HID Ballast Igniter Koito 85967-30050) They have the
Hi Rudy – I’m not sure on those particular ballasts. If you want to save money on new ballasts you can order them from a Chrysler/MOPAR dealer, or send them to Phil and have him rebuild your current ones to a stronger than OEM spec.
Hi Nick I have a question I get the dipped headlight error on my Dash and my headlight goes out after about 5 minutes from driving so I can turn it off and turn it back on El behind and it’ll go off again after about 5 minutes do you think that’s the headlight or something else
Also it will flicker when I first turn the car on
Sounds like either ballasts or bulbs – if I had to guess, the ballast is going bad and overheats, which causes them to shut off after 5 minutes. I’d replace both ballasts and bulbs on whichever side is malfunctioning and that should take care of it.
Ok thanks bulb also a different color from the opposite side headlight
Can I switch the driver side and passenger loves and see if it still does the same thing
Yeah, you definitely can do that Charles. Good idea.
Well I took the light bulb out and looks like the ballast and light bulbs are connected together have you ever seen that was it don’t look like it’s possible to take the light bulb out of ballast
Hi Charles – I think you are just looking at the bulb – it has a base to it that kind of looks like a ballast, but its all one piece. The ballasts are mounted on the underside of the headlight housing and are completely seperate from the bulbs, they’re not even directly connected to the headlight bulbs but just plug in to the underside of the plastic headlight housings.
Ok ty cause i see pics online not many have that square base that has a plugin
Hey Nick, I recently tinted my headlights and after plugging everything back in the error light came on. Could this be because of the tint?
Thought I had commented but probably forgot to press send. Well basically my issue is the same error light. But how mines came about is a little different. I recently painted my car and have the shop also tint my headlights. They pretty much just sanded the film off of the headlight then with a clear coat of regular paint they added black paint to it to for a shadow type affect. After plugging everything back in the error light came on. My questions to you are: do you think the dipped headlight error came on because of the tint? Can the error be cleared without any tough work? If not what do you think it could be?
The dealer told me that it can be a number of things and pretty much just gave me a checklist from checking sensors to checking the connection, to the tracks so on and so on. Please let me know what you think.
I kind of doubt it, I wonder if a bulb came loose or something. Do you have access to a vag-com to understand what bulb in particular is causing the error? Do you know if they removed the headlights to paint hte car and tint the headlights? My guess is they must have knocked something loose, or possibly broke the swivel module if you have AFS.
Did have a bulb out but already changed it. all lights seem to be working fine. Parked in front of a wall to see how the lights moved when I start the car. Used to be that they moved out then in them up and down but now they still move but not in sync and not in that order anymore. This weekend I’ll get a comp hooked up to it and check it out. Guess I’ll let you know once I do.
Thanks you for your time, I am having the same issues as “CHARLES joseph etherton”, on my 2010 A4 QUATTRO, (LEFT DIPPED HEADLIGHT/MAIN BEAM HEADLIGHT error) both headlamps would only run for approximately 5 minutes lapse after switching to OFF-ON. Could this also be that ballast on both headlamps overheat at the same time??
Hi Joe – could be. All of my advice is in this post and comments, your best course of action is to replace both bulbs and ballasts at the same time. If that is too expensive you could try only replacing the bulbs, but if the ballasts are bad then the bulbs will burn out again pretty quickly and you’ll be back at square one.
Would be nice if “CHARLES joseph etherton” could provide an update on his car…
Hey Nick thanks for all the info here was my problem I had a dip head light with the traction control on the car would run like if it was slippery this is been on for a year I had a diagnose the problem for audi and they told me it was the sensor under the steering wheel well today i changed the spark plugs and will you know it it cleared the codes the plugs where pretty bad even thought i had change the at around 20000 i had 61000 now. As of now it clear but Ill keep you guys posted on the progress thanks again Joel.
Sounds good, thanks Joel!
i am having the same problem with my 2009 A4 right headlight. i changed the bulb but that didnt fix the problem. i havent been able to find the ballast for D4s bub that looks like the on i have on. Does anyone know what website i can find it? not on Amazon or Ebay.
That car shouldn’t have a D4 bulb, it should be a D3S. Are you sure about that? Anyway, this should work: http://www.ebay.com/itm/AUDI-B8-A4-A3-A5-A6-D3S-HID-XENON-BALLAST-MITSUBISHI-/230453846622
Thanks Nick. But that what was in. Do you think i need to change it to D3 before i get new ballast?
I would recommend changing both at the same time – usually what happens is that a bad ballast burns out the bulbs prematurely, so whatever bulb you have in there now is going to have a signficantly shortened lifespan and could already be damaged too.
i will do that. thanks a bunch
This helped me find the broken linkage in my A3. Thank you.
I had this issue on my right, replaced the headlight assembly and it fixed the issue for about 2 years. Drove the car for another 6 months then the left side started doing it and let that go on for about a year or so. I would turn the lights off then back on and that would last for about 30 seconds to a minute or other times it would be fine. It was an inconsistent nightmare but then both went out at the same time. My car has only been in one wreck and it has not driven the same since because it was front end damage. That was back in 2009 when that happened but what I noticed is if I was driving on the highway and have to slow down fast by braking it would start to shake hard and that caused both to go out.
I took the car in not to an Audi dealership because they wanted to charge $1000 to replace the Assembly and Ballasts but I took it in to a local shop and the mechanic replaced or repaired the headlight housing. There are some springs that secure the Xenon bulb and allows it to align well if this gets damaged then this would cause the issue with the Dipped Headlight. So before you take your car in and spend a lot, try asking a mechanic you trust that knows about Audi’s to look at the headlight housing and see if it needs to be repaired. I brought the headlight bulbs with me and the mechanic only charged me $150 for the work he did.
Hello nick, wondering if you can help me out here. I have a 2005 Audi A4 my head lights flicker on and off while driving as well as while the car is just on period. I have to turn them off and back on a couple times for them to go back on, but after a couple minutes the problem resumes. What do you think the main problem is?
I’m guessing it is a ballast going out, that works best once it’s warmed up some. Check wiring first, then replace the ballast.
Great Blog. Here’s something that’s stumping me and the local VAG specialist. My AFS warning came in and disabling adaptive light stopped it till I could get an expert. They found a cornering light out upgraded the control module and camera module but now the Audi adaptive light system only moves the headlights with cornering in high beam but not low beam. It’s driving me but as not warnings or errors. Soon as you engage high beams it sweeps left and right massively with cornering and low beam dead centre nothing else. It’s an Audi A8 D4H 2011 with the Hella Apdaptive Xenon Lights. Wondered if you might put me on the right track. Anyway great blog… Brett
Hmm, that is really strange. At that point, my best suggestion would be to go on eBay and buy a brand new housing. Expensive fix, but should do the trick. I’ve never heard of that, and kind of doubt its a coding thing. If you haven’t tried it, trying running the adaptation in vag-com just in case, and maybe make sure the toggle for high/low beams is in low while running it…but I’m grasping at straws here, no personal experience of this issue.
I have an error warning light in my A3T 2006 Audi that says right dipped headlight error. Every time error warnings like this come on the dash I panic because of the pending cost to repair it. I am a woman, retired and over 70. Can replacing this bulb or doing whatever needs to be done be done somewhere else than at the Audi dealer. I just can’t afford those prices. No complaints about the people working there. This is the best car I have ever had bar none, but even little repairs like this are almost unaffordable for me. I will stop whining now. Can you give me some direction. Thank you.
Yes, you can absolutely get this done somewhere other than the Audi dealership – anywhere that specializes in European cars (and preferably Audi/VW) would be a good choice.
I know someone who own a repair shop for Mercedes. Would that qualify?
Give them a call, but yeah I would think they should be up for it.
Thank you! At last I have found someone who will help with clear, concise answers that I can understand. You Rock!
I have a right dipped headlight on a 2013 Q7. Audi diagnostic result was bad ballast/bulb. I replaced both bulbs. Right still wouldn’t work. Put back both original bulbs, on opposite sides though, both sides wouldn’t work. Swapped them back to original sides, only right off again. Do I have to reset or program the headlight/car after putting the new bulb/ballast in?
Hi Chris – I’ve never heard of anyone needing to reset the bulbs, or the bulbs being side specific. You’ve got some weird gremlins going on there…
Yes, and Audi wants to charge me an arm and two legs for a bulb, to then not have the problem resolved anyway. The Audi technician did mention something about resetting the warning light but I don’t recall his exact words.
On every Audi I’ve driven, the warning light will go away as soon as the issue is fixed. But find someone with a vag-com cable and just have them clear all codes, it’s worth a shot. My reco would be to find an independent shop to look at it.
So I just left Audi. He claims they need to be recoded after putting a new bulb. Before even looking at the car he asked another claim that an aftermarket bulb might burnout the control module. I call BS to both claims because I put a new bulb in both sides and no issues with the side that was fine to begin with. So he checks the car and tells me the control module is bad. While it seems to be true, I believe that was the issue to begin with. He swapped modules and the issue moved from right side to left side. What upsets me is, they claim the diagnostic read ballast issue and that I needed a bulb. They want $550 for a freaking bulb, meanwhile the issue is the control module. Would have spent that money for nothing. Now I need to order a control module. Easy to install and supposedly is plug and play. Any suggestion on where to purchase it? And also the Vag-com?
To buy the parts, check out this post: https://www.nickscarblog.com/cars/audi-part-dismantlers-cheap-audi-parts – you can probably find the control modules (ballasts?) on eBay too. If you have a B7, the ballasts are the same as a Chrysler 300 but a lot cheaper if you buy the Chrysler ones.
For Vag-com, check out Europaparts.com
Good luck, your situation is exactly why I created this post. Unfortunately it’s not super easy or straightforward to diagnose and repair, but the dealership will (1) go through the same process of guess & check and (2) charge you an arm and leg for every guess/check before they’re eventually able to find the culprit. If you have time on your hands, you can do it yourself a ton cheaper it just takes a long time.
Have a mechanic look at the springs that keep the self adjusting lights in place. If those come loose then that could cause issues with the dipped headlight error. It cost me a little over $150 plus I had them change the bulbs. I bought some Phillips zenon bulbs online. Be careful though because there are knock-offs to the xenon Phillips bulbs. They will have an authentication sticker on the real one’s so you know you are buying quality bulbs.
I have a 06 Audi A4 with the dipped headlight problem, took it to the dealership and they replaced the bulbs. Before i took it to them the lights where auto adjusting and turned with the steering wheel. Now the lights do not do anything at all and the dipped headlight light is still on. Any ideas on what i could do to fix the problem? I know they replaced the bulbs and one of the ballasts. Should i just get a vag-com reader and see what code it is actually throwing out?
Hi Adam – if you took to the dealership to fix the problem, and they didn’t fix it, I would take it back to them and make them stand by their work. If the lights aren’t “dancing” at start-up they either need to update the vag-com settings to enable AFS, or maybe the fuse blew on the auto-leveling/adaptive feature. You could certainly scan the codes yourself, but I’m sure you paid a small fortune to have dealership replace two bulbs and a ballast, so if they gave it back to you with the issue prevailing (if not worse) then I would raise hell there.
Hey Nick, my passenger low beam headlight bulb goes out after approximately 1 minute of being turned on. Dipped headlight warning come on but if I switch the lights off and back on the come back on. So I’m assuming g the bulb is working. What would you suggest?
That’s classic symptoms of this issue unfortunately. I think it’s probably the ballast, which overheats or short circuits after running for a bit. Your best bet is to replace both the ballast and bulb on that side, as a bad ballast will damage the bulb and cause them both to die. If you wanted to check, you could try swapping the bulbs on Left and Right side and see if that also moves the problem – in which case it’s the bulbs. But if I had to guess based after reading comment on the internet, I’d say ballasts are probably the culprit.
Could be the retaining springs within the bulb assembly. Take it to a mechanic that knows Audi’s well and knows about this issue. Do not go to an Audi dealership they will rob you.
I have very similar headlights (Bi Xenon) in my A6 C6. I’m having some issues and just got the car. Can you answer a question for me?
In your image you can see the xenon ‘lens’ on the right, and on the left the second ‘lens’ which has two bulbs. A larger one in the middle (LED in your car), and a smaller one towards the top.
Can you please advise what the role of these two bulbs should be.
The LED is the Daytime Running light and is only on when main beam headlights are off, the top smaller one is called a “City Light” and only comes on when the main beam headlight is on – I don’t really understand why it’s necessary, but alas that’s how it is used.
Hi Nick, I own a Audi A7 2011 with full led headlights. I was aware that the car had an accident on the front left and it was repaired except the headlight alignment on the left side. when i switch on the low beam the left headlight point upwards where as the right headlight is perfectly aligned to road level. I took it to Audi dealer, they said they tried with their system it just wont be fixed with computer and have to replace the same. I tried manually turning the screw to lower the same. but it just wont lower and a click noise pops when i keep turning the screw to lower. All the lights are bright and working. Need your advice on this please.
Hey Rohan – that’s a tough one. My guess is there was damage to the headlight during the accident and they didn’t replace it, or maybe even broke it installing it. You could try taking the headlight apart and seeing if you can manually adjust or find what is broken, but it’s a long shot. To take apart the headlights, check out this DIY: https://www.nickscarblog.com/diy/b7-audi-clear-corner-mod
Hi Nick. I really enjoy your blog. You’ve helped me learn a lot about my car (’08 A4 S Line) and what I can do to it. As I do all my own work, the online community has been invaluable – next weekend it gets a new intake cam (plus timing chain, tensioner & coolant flange). I bought the car with a jacked up cam follower and fuel pump and have been changing out the follower every 5k miles because it wears so quickly.
I had the dipped headlight error happen shortly after I read this article for the first time a few weeks ago. I was about to order a new front sensor based on the code in VAG-COM. The error was intermittent, like a bad connection. I didn’t like how tightly the wires were kinked coming out of the loom at the sensor.
Out of curiosity, I unplugged it and peeled back the loom and found a wire had broken. The insulation must have been punctured or cracked at one point and the wire was corroded inside and the 90 degree kink didn’t help. I cut back and soldered a bridge of new wire in and sleeved with heatshrink after injecting some silicone sealant into the sleeve. And it’s been good since.
Interesting…thanks for sharing. Truth be told these systems are very delicate and finicky…I seem to get a lot of people who write in with unique situations. I’m glad people report back so that if none of the tips in the article work, people can read the comments instead.
Does the leveling sensor stop the high-beams from working? After have the car sit for a year and some wiring done because of a hot wire going to my license plates lights. My high-beams won’t go up. The lights still turn at corners, but when I switch to high beams just the running lights click on and the projectors stay on low-beam.
Hey Nick – My 2004 A4 Avant Quattro 1.8t has the “dipped right headlight” indicator on. The fuse slots for both low beams are blank, changed halogen bulbs, no ballasts on this model. All other lights functioning properly. Do not think there is leveling sensor on this vehicle. What do I do next?
That is odd, I haven’t heard of many people having this problem with halogen lights. I’m stumped at this point, do the lights function properly otherwise?
My A4 B7 lights work fine (no dipped light warning) when they are switched ‘on’, I get the dipped light warning when I switch to ‘auto’, the automatic function which uses the light sensor to switch the lights on or off depending on ambient light. I was told by someone that it may be be the gel pack and/or the sensor…any experience with this?
No experience with it, but that advice makes sense given it only comes on with Auto. Good luck! Post back if that does the trick.
Hello Nick my 2010 Audi a six with the accent bulbs driver side does not work at all either low beam or highbeam and wondering if it’s power going to the headlamp or the ball assembly or if it’s in the headlight assembly and want to know where to go from there thanks
Hello Nick !
Nice blog congrats ! My A4 b7 2006 is equipped with halogen bulbs . Is there the ballast as well ?
Isn’t it only for led light?
I don’t wanna get crazy looking for something that maybe is not there !
No ballasts in halogen cars, so you’ll need to add them if you go HID or LED.
Hi , thanks to answer ! What do you suggest to do for first to identify the problem ? I already check and current is not arriving to the bulb
Hey nick, is there any way I can delete the xenon afs for a more simple led or halogen set?
You could, but it would be pretty complicated including wiring harnesses, coding updates, etc. Probably easier to just buy a new AFS housing on eBay, they’ve gotten so cheap and a wiring harness adapter can run $600-800…
Hi Nick, I have a question about the Headlight Swivel Module. I recently changed out my D1s bulb and the ballast due to a flickering light/main beam error message. I now get the Adaptive light defective message in my cluster and think I must’ve knocked the motor out of sync. Do you know of any pictures that might show my what would need to be moved to realign?
I don’t, but I believe you can realign through Vag-com, so maybe start there?
Hi Nick. Wondering if I can your thoughts on the issue I have. I’ve got the dipped light error. When starting the car the headlights go through their motion range. dipping down then up, then each side curves out, then recenter forward and appear to be leveled correctly. It seems the lights have full range of motion.
Removing fuse 10 eliminates the dash indicator, and lowers the angle of the beams quite low, and also stops the headlight dance at startup.
The big issue I have is the headlights no longer turn into a corner as I turn the wheel. In VCDS I get the following error on Address 17: Instruments and Address 25: Immobilizer.
1 Fault Found:
01771 – Control Module for Headlight Range (J431)
004 – No Signal/Communication
My question – Is it possible the headlight control module (Part number 5DF 008 886-27) located under the glove-box is needing replacement?
Thanks so much for your awesome write up.
That’s a tough one, but it seems like that’s a good place to start. Check out a dismantler and see if you can buy a used module cheap as a good testing point (or eBay) and if that doesn’t do the trick, buy a new AFS headlight housing…also be sure to check your connections in the wiring harnesses in case something is loose.
Quick question, I have a 2013 Q7 with a dipped headlight warning. I took it in to our Audi dealer and they said there is a power issue that is supplying the ballast with power, which is causing the fuse to immediately pop. He recommended replacing both the headlight ballast and the “power control module”. They wanted $1750 to replace both of them. So I decided to decline and bring it back home and do some research first.
The ballast seems easy to buy online and replace. However, I’m not 100% sure what the “power control module” he is referring to is? He did say it was inside the car rather than being in the engine bay.
Could he be referring to the Range Control Module? I though they stopped using those in 2013? Is there another module that powers the head lights that you know of?
Hmm, I’m not entirely sure on the part, but I’d take to an inde shop, or maybe just try the ballast first and see if that fixes it. The dealership loves to take the approach of “throw money at it and see if it goes away” and replace anything remotely questionable.
I get 2 messgaes…
“Left main beam headlight” and
“Audi adaptive light: System fault!”.
I get both after flashing my hi beams a few times when driving at night. I notice that the right side hi beam still functions.
Does this give you a specific clue at what to look for?
I get the right/left dipped headbeam warning a lot. I happens on both sides mostly when im driving on the highway. Do you think it is the sensor thing?
Always hard to tell, but I think your hunch sounds reasonable…
Hello Nick, great article. My mothers 2005 A4 B7 has halogen lights, and dipped light warning. Furthermore, when in automatic light mode on the switch, the dash (climate) and speedometer do not light up. They do turn on when switching to lights on mode. I’m about to get a scanner, but wanted to see your thoughts based on your experience with this type of halogen headlights. Thanks
I haven’t heard of that on the dash lights – check fuses as a good place to start.