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BMW 528i Headlamps

Common Symptoms of BMW 528i Headlamps and How to Diagnose Them

The component that lets you see the road ahead of you while driving at night or under low-visibility conditions is the pair of BMW 528i headlamps at the front of your car. Without these, you are more likely to get into an accident at night. Because the headlamps are important to your safety, it's crucial to always be on alert for the times they show signs of problems. Here are some of their symptoms.

One headlamp does not work

If one of your car's headlamps is not working while the other is just fine, then this usually means that the bulb in that problem component has burned out. Just like the other light sources, headlamp bulbs have a limited lifespan, depending on the number of hours you used it. So the more often you drive at night and under low-visibility conditions, the sooner either or both headlamps will fail. A typical incandescent bulb-halogen or regular-has a lifespan ranging from 600 to 2,000 hours of use.

Both headlamps do not work

If both headlamps suddenly stopped working at the same time, there are few possible reasons:

  • The fuse might be blown. Check the one belonging to the headlamps and replace if needed.

  • There might be a problem with the headlamp relay or module. If your car's system uses a relay, pull it out and shake it. If anything inside rattles, replace the relay. If your car has a module, check if it's getting power when the headlamp switch is on. If it does but the lamps are still not working, then the module is faulty.

  • The high-beam/low-beam switch might be bad. Check if your headlamp relay or module still receives voltage when the switch is turned on. If it's not getting electricity, then the switch is your problem.

Symptom #3: Dim headlamps

If you notice your headlamps are dimmer than before, or if you think that the headlamps' brightness changes when you rev up your engine, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Test each headlamp assembly function to see which ones have this problem. Treat the whole assembly as just one component since one problem with just one function could affect the others.

  • Inspect the headlamp for condensation that may be building up inside its housing.

  • Check the charging voltage while the engine is idling. If the voltage is at 13.5 to 14.5 volts, then the system is okay. If it is lower than 13 volts, then there is something wrong with the system.

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  • Tips to Keeping Your BMW 528i Headlamps in Top Shape

    Because your BMW 528i headlamps are your second set of eyes that let you see under low-visibility conditions, it is important for you to keep them clean and bright. If you notice them looking hazed and the lights looking dim, then you might have to clean the component. If you don't know where to start with this regular maintenance, here are some tips:

    Cleaning the headlamps with a toothpaste

    Use regular white toothpaste. Do not clean the headlamps with those that have special formula such as whitening and mint as these extra compounds could damage the component.

    Apply the toothpaste on a soft, dry cloth then wipe the headlamps in circular motion. Concentrate on small areas until the grime comes off there before moving on.

    With the toothpaste wiped on the headlamps, rinse the components with water then wipe them with a wet cloth.

    For an even shinier look, apply a polish to make your headlamps look as good as if it were new.

    Polishing the headlamps with an aluminum compound

    Make sure that you have washed the headlamps with soap and water first. The best cleaning schedule for the headlamps is at the same time as when you clean the rest of your car.

    Put small drops of compound on a soft, dry cloth before wiping it on the headlamps in small circular motions. Do not apply the polishing compound directly on the component as this might damage their appearance.

    When you wipe the headlamps with the compound, you will notice that the component will look hazed. Let it dry like this before buffing the haze off with a clean towel or cloth.

    Feel free to repeat the application until you are satisfied. Depending on how oxidized your headlamps are, sometimes you might have to coat them with three layers of polish.

    Other maintenance tips

    Before performing any of the cleaning methods above, it's better to wash your car to remove any surface dirt on the headlamps as well as the components surrounding it.

    Wax the surrounding components, at least those within a foot or two of the headlamps, to keep droplets of the polishing compound from adhering to them. The formula in headlight lens polish can be abrasive, causing damage to the paint of the hood or bumper.

    Mask the area around the headlamps with layers of low-tack painter's masking tape. You might also want to mask other parts of the lens that don't need further cleaning or polishing.