Each year, auto manufacturers create new ways and safety systems to keep cars and their drivers out of harm's way. One of these new additions is automatic headlight range control. Typically found on high end cars such as BMW’s or Audi’s, the sensors at the front of the car monitor the angle of the vehicle and help your car to adjust the headlights accordingly.
For example, let’s say you’re pulling away from a stop light. As you accelerate, the front of your car raises slightly. If your headlights are on, it is likely that they have now been aimed slightly higher and are most likely glaring in someone’s eyes at this point. This does no favors for the other driver as they may have trouble seeing in the dark afterwards. With headlight range control, the headlights are pointed slightly lower while accelerating and are adjusted back up once you have gotten up to speed. This happens automatically as you drive and there is a corresponding light on the dashboard to alert you of any issues detected with this system.
What the headlight range control warning light means
This warning light will only illuminate if there is an issue detected with the headlight range control system. The range control will be disabled temporarily until the problem has been solved and the code cleared using a scan tool.
The sensors that measure the tilt of the vehicle are very sensitive and hitting rocks or small bumps at high speeds can confuse them temporarily. This warning light may come on while you are driving, but usually it is unlikely that no damage has occurred in this instance and you can continue normally. Once you have restarted the engine, the light should go off. If there is an actual issue present, the light should come on as soon as the engine is started.
Certain repairs such as replacing the bumper or headlight can cause the tilt sensors to display the warning light. Again, nothing is usually damaged in these situations and everything should return to normal once the codes are cleared.
Is it safe to drive with the headlight range control warning light on?
Cars have had stationary headlights for years without too much trouble so you can rest assured that you can still use the car normally even if this warning light comes on while you are driving. Systems like this aren’t completely essential, but they always assist in keeping you on the road so you should not ignore this warning light.
It’s important to have all headlight problems diagnosed properly, otherwise you may end up wasting money. If your headlight range control isn’t working as intended, our certified technicians are always available to help you diagnose any issues.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Does the Headlight Range Control Warning Light Mean? and was authored by Spencer Cates.