The number of High-Intensity Discharge lights as known as HID lights is increasing on the road. As it now comes as a standard to many high-end vehicles giving a premium stylish look that some halogens can’t achieve. Xenon bulbs work differently than halogens and produce a brighter, whiter light than a halogen car. Unless you decide to buy and own a vehicle with cheaper headlamps such as Halogens, mostly all vehicles including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and many others now come with xenon HID headlights.

A xenon HID bulb tends to have longer lifespan but like every electronic component it may fail and requires a replacement when your vehicle warns you through a message saying “Left / Right Dipped Headlight”

Left Right Dipped headlight warning message

What are dipped headlights?

Dipped headlights are located at the front of the vehicle next to your main beam headlights and sidelights and these are designed for increased visibility when driving at night time. Depending on your vehicle, dipped beam bulbs can be Halogen, LED or Xenon pointed down towards the road to prevent other road users from being dazzled from its brighter white light. Dipped beam is also commonly known as low beam.

What does this error mean?

Dipped headlight warning message appears to be a super common issue on many Audis and can point out to many different problems with your headlights. But to simply put, Dipped Headlight in, Audi –for say, means that there is something wrong with your low beam headlight. This error is signified on your dashboard with a yellow bulb pointing down with an “X” over the picture and known as “Dipped Headlight”

Why does this error occur?

There could be several reasons for your vehicle may show this warning message such as:

  1. Xenon light bulb has completed its life and needs a new one
  2. Xenon Control Unit also known as HID ballast has failed

Trouble shooting & fixing the error

However, there could be other reasons, but the most common issue for this warning message is that D1S D2S or D3S 35W HID OEM bulb has failed, ofcourse in additiona it could be caused by malfunction xenon headlamp ballast module.

In very rare cases both parts fail at the same time.

Usually you receive the message for only one side i.e: left side or right side and most often for the left side, so that become a big clue for troubleshooting.

If you are getting this issue on the one side (left side), then to detect and isolate; if it is headlight bulb, ballasts or something internal in the headlight itself, simply swap both the bulbs and ballasts from left to right headlight and check if the dipped headlight error on your dash board changes from “Dipped Headlight Left” to “Dipped headlight right” or vice versa.  If it does, then you know that the issue lies either in the bulb or the ballasts (xenon control module under headlight housing).

In addition it could show this message:

Vehicle lights: malfunction!
Please contact service

You can also check for the color of the HID gas discharge bulb. If the gas inside the bulb has gone dark black in the middle, or in working condition it has started emitting purple light then definitely it has completed its life and creating light issue.

In this case, buying a new xenon bulb and replacing it with a bad one would do the good for your vehicle.

If the problem is not isolated to one side and the error on dashboard doesn’t change, it means we need to troubleshoot reasons other than faulty bulb. 

Check if your headlights “flicker” on/off occasionally and goes completely off after that or notice that if your dipped headlight error comes only in cold weather or at first start up, it’s likely your xenon ballasts may be out on their way and replacing them with new ballast might be the cheapest and easiest solution to this.

The failed ballasts on your Audi have burned through the bulbs, so if you’ve had bad ballast for a while then you’ll need new bulbs too. So, it is strongly recommended that you change both bulbs and ballasts for even if the ballasts were faulty, the bulbs likely had suffered the damage from the bad ballasts and will need to be replaced soon so it is better that you do it all at once. And since resolving a dipped headlight error can be tricky so it’s better to be aggressive on the treatment of this issue leaving no possible source of causing error.

Installing new ballasts on your car would require you to do the same coding which you can either do yourself with the help of a VAG-COM or can take your car to the dealer such as xenons4u where you can find the xenon HID bulbs, ballasts and can get the faulty bulb or ballast replaced with the coding it required.