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Headlights not working after oil chnage

I recently went to a local chain to have my oil changed and tires rotated. Later that evening when I went to turn on my headlights for the first time since the oil change neither one was working. When I brought back the car the next day to see if they could look at this to see if anything reset accidentally I was told that both lights were burned out and it was a coincidence. It seems unlikely that both headlights would go out at once (high beams were OK) and that it would have happened right after the oil change. I couldn’t say what would have caused this but wanted other opinions on if it was likely related to the oil change.

Thanks in advance for any guidance on this.


Those 1955 Peugeots are notorious for blowing headlight during oil changes. It’s just something you learn to live with.

Seriously though, one low beam had likely been out for quite some time and you didn’t pay any attention until the other went out which was coincidental to getting the oil changed… And that scenario goes for whatever make and model automobile you have. Of course the oil change place could be a real den ot thieves who stole your headlights and hope to charge you to reinstall them.

Highly suspicious. I don’t know how they could do that since the headlights are 12v and there isn’t anything that exceeds the 12v under the hood, UNLESS you have a hybrid.

I suppose that they could have shorted a 120 VAC drop light to your headlight wire, but that would involve several things like dangerous wiring on the drop light and defective wires in your headlight circuit.

Remove the bulbs and check to see if indeed one of the filaments has burned out. If so, buy some new bulbs. I expect this is unrelated to the oil change if it is just both the filaments have burned out. It’s possible as mentioned above only one burned out after the oil change, the other was already burned out and you didn’t notice. If the bulbs are ok and it is the wiring problem, then possibly related to the oil change. If so, post what you find out.

They must have drained the fluid form your headlights first by mistake. SUE!!!

My first thought was that they over oiled the headlight bulbs or used the wrong viscosity for the type of filaments. My second thought is that an earlier response nailed it by suggesting one bulb was already out before the oil change and the other burned out after the oil change.

+1 to Rod’s post.

Actually its surprising how closely the second bulb will burn out to the first. I guess the life span is an engineered thing so its a good practice to replace them both when one goes out. That’s what I do anyway.

If the oil change chain did something to the headlamps to increase their revenue, they would have hit you up for fixing them while you were getting your oil changed.

I’m assuming that only the low beams are burned out. If both the low and high beams are burned out, then bring it to an independent (non-chain) repair shop to see if anything about the bulbs looks suspicious.

What’s the year of the mystery car? After 5 to 6 years, I vote for dual headlight burn-out being coincidental. I once had a car I worked on that had both low-beams burned out. Owner was convinced he had a bad relay or fuse, but we just put in new bulbs and all was fine.

Thanks for the responses.

The mechanic might have been a dim bulb and didn’t use light oil.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

I’ll just throw in the idea that it could be a problem with the light switch. There are a few possibilities so someone who knows what he’s doing needs to check it out.

“someone who knows what he’s doing needs to check it out.”

Considering that the OP took at least 3 months to respond, I am going to go out on a limb and say that this issue probably isn’t a very high priority for him.


As a parody on the song “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” we can have “Oil Gets In Your Lights”.

Agree that this is coincidental.

Bing: I think you are correct regarding engineered failure of some electronics. The original halogen bulbs in my 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse became to dim for my aging eyes. I replaced them in 2009 with Sylvania Silver Star Ultras which performed as advertised. One year later the Sylvanias burned out within 2 days of each other! I replaced them with the original bulbs which are functioning to this day. I bought a new car in 2010 and gave the Eclipse to my Son. His eyes are better than mine so no problem. Another example was an HP printer. I replaced the ink cartridges and about 1 year later they failed with over 60% of ink remaining. I read an article (not sure if true) where HP was busted for engineering a 1 year service life. Modern technology makes planned obsolescence and emissions cheating far to tempting.

“Another example was an HP printer. I replaced the ink cartridges and about 1 year later they failed with over 60% of ink remaining. I read an article (not sure if true) where HP was busted for engineering a 1 year service life.”

It gets even worse than that.
Back in the days before I knew better, I used to buy HP printers–usually about every 3-4 years, after they stopped functioning. When I bought my last HP printer, Costco was having a really good sale on HP printer cartridges, so I bought 2 packages for my new printer.

Well…Who knew that HP printer cartridges are electronically date stamped, and that they will not function at all after a certain date? So, I literally threw my money out when I stocked-up on HP printer cartridges, in an attempt to save money.

And, just to put the icing on the cake, shortly after I bought a new set of HP printer cartridges whose date-stamp hadn’t expired, that HP printer died, just like all of the preceding ones.

Thanks, Carly Fiorina!

Hint: Buy Canon printers instead of HP…

Having spent many hours working with the Osram engineers evaluating the manufacturing process by which these bulbs are made, at Osram Sylvania in Hillsborough, NH, I can testify that the manufacturing processes and the materials (including gasses) are extremely tightly controlled.

Sgt’s Silver Star Ultra are the same bulbs I use. They’re great, but the tradeoff is a shorter lifespan… and MUCH higher cost. Sylivania automotive headlight lamps come in five different grades, from “standard” to “Silverstar ultra”. The rated lifespan of the "Silver Star Ultra bulbs is 1/4 that of the “standard” bulbs, and the cost is four times as much. Thus, 1/4 the life and 4X the cost makes them in reality 16X as expensive. IMHO they’re worth every penny, but it is a tradeoff.

But yeah, if one burns out you can bet a case of beer that the other isn’t far behind.

I’ll agree with that. When one of my headlights burned out, I bought a set of the Ultras for the bright light. I paid over $50 for them at Walmart. Looking at the packaging, I got the impression they were only good for a year of average driving. Still they are very bright and I like them. Fools and their money may be easily parted but I like them anyway. That’s about 30 minutes at the big casino by the lake, but at least I don’t drink.

“Fools and their money may be easily parted”
LOL, man, is that ever true! Especially if the fool’s ex had a better lawyer! :cry:

Canon printers are ink monsters! I bought a xerox 6120 laser color printer probably 5 years ago for $250, it came with full toner cartridges. Now the canon you could watch the ink levels drop as you printed. At $13 or so per ea of 5 cartridges it adds up fast. 2000 pages printed on the phaser and color toners at 40% full.0 It makes nice never fading prints. A new set of toners looks to be $170, but we now do color prints for photos at walgreens, cheaper than ink and paper for pictures of my cars (for Carolyn)