Jeep Cherokee Headlights Turn Off While Driving: Solutions & Tips

A few days ago, I was reading some discussions regarding Jeep Cherokee online. And I found people talking about a technical issue: Jeep Cherokee headlights turn off while driving. It sounds strange, doesn’t it? Of course, long-drive lovers prefer to drive Cherokee. But imagine you drive at night and suddenly, the headlights go off. Scary, right?

Now, you may tear your hair to know why this happens. Well, it is usually for some issues with the vehicle’s electrical system. Consider this system as the brain of the SUV. It controls everything, including the headlights. So, when the system goes wrong, the headlights may turn off.

Don’t worry, though. This problem can be fixed. And the first step to fixing a problem is understanding it. So, I welcome you to explore why Jeep Cherokee headlights might turn off when you drive it. Though it is slightly a mystery, we can prevent or solve it together!

A Brief Overview of the Jeep Cherokee Headlights

These lights are like your ride’s trusty sidekicks! They help see the road ahead and avoid any bumps at night. Also, your SUV becomes visible to other drivers.

You can find the Cherokee headlights in different flavors like:

  • Halogen headlights are the most known versions available in vehicle models. They feature a filament encased in a halogen gas-filled bulb.
  • LED (Light Emitting Diode) headlights are modern things with multiple benefits. You may love them for their increased energy efficiency, longer lifespan, and brighter and more focused beam of light.
  • HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights are the latest edition of Cherokee headlights. They use electric current to ignite xenon gas. That’s why they provide a highly intense and powerful beam.

Let me recall the electrical system that I mentioned earlier. Likewise, the main elements of the system are:

  • Headlight bulbs: These things are the actual light-emitting components. Different headlights may have filaments, LEDs, or xenon gas in their bulbs.
  • Wiring harness: A network of electrical cables connects the headlight bulbs to the power source and other components.
  • Headlight switch: You can activate the headlights manually or automatically with the on-off switch.
  • Fuse box: A fuse box may have multiple fuses to protect the electrical system from overloads.
  • Relays: These are like electric switches. They allow a small electrical signal to control a larger current flow. Indeed, this flow is required to turn on the headlights.

Now, the important thing is any issues with the above components; Jeep Cheroke will turn off its headlights when you drive.

Common Causes of Headlight Issues in Jeep Cherokee

Lights out, my friend! When the headlights decide to play hide-and-seek, it can be quite a mystery. Let me uncover some common reasons why the blackout happens while you drive:

Electrical problemsWiring issues, blown fuses, or faulty relays can all cause headlight malfunctions.
Defective bulbsHeadlight bulbs can burn out or fail prematurely due to vibration or poor manufacturing quality.
Moisture buildupWater, condensation, or other forms of moisture can accumulate in the headlight housing and damage the bulbs or wiring.
Bad connectionsLoose or corroded electrical connections between the bulbs and the wiring can cause intermittent headlight problems.
Defective switchA faulty headlight switch can prevent the lights from turning on or off properly.
Faulty headlight relayA bad headlight relay can cause the headlights to flicker or fail.
OverheatingKeeping the headlights on for a long time makes the bulb and wiring hot, and eventually, it will cause the lights to turn off.

Electrical Problems

While operating my vehicle…. I’m driving down the road, at random my headlights shut off.” (2carpros) So, you can see headlights blackout is a common issue in Jeep Cherokee. Unfortunately, it happens mostly when the electrical system (discussed already) has problems.

May be there are problems like dashboard gauge failures, power outages, and lights flickering. You may fail to start the Jeep sometimes. However, electrical system failures may happen for a faulty ignition, headlight relay, or wiring issues.


Take a multimeter to check for electrical continuity and voltage in the headlight circuit. Inspect the fuse and circuit related to the headlights. Sometimes you may need to replace the entire circuit. Otherwise, contact a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair the system thoroughly.

Defective Bulbs

As I said, bulbs are the main light-emitting components. But sadly, these bulbs do not last long as you may expect. They may not function after a particular time as they are prone to burn out or fail prematurely. And when they cannot work, you will surely get turned-off headlights during your drive. (offroadfacts)


First, check the bulbs to see any signs of blackening or damage. Then, replace the faulty bulb with a new one. You may replace the bulb yourself but with a bit of attention and care. Thus, I suggest you read this tutorial on replacing the bulbs of Jeep Cherokee headlights.

Moisture Buildup

In what weather did you drive the Jeep Cherokee? Well, the weather has a connection with the headlights. Water, condensation, or other forms of moisture may accumulate in the headlight housing over time. Especially moisture will build up inside when the back cover of the headlights goes missing. Hence, the moisture buildup can damage the bulbs or wiring.


If your headlights go off while driving, then there might be moisture buildup. So, look at the headlights and ensure no sign of moisture. Replace the bulbs if they are damaged internally due to humidity.

Bad Connections

Earlier, I said that a wiring harness is a network of electrical cables. So, when this network has defective settings like loose or corroded connections of lines, the headlights may not get ample power to emit lights. Again, moisture buildups may cause a bad link and eventually cause headlights to turn off (carsneedcare).


Fix all the loose connections manually. Then, test if the lights get sufficient flow of electricity after tightening them. Alternatively, call the mechanic to solve the issue with expert hands.

Defective Headlight Switch

Our headlight switches… acts as a circuit breaker…this bi-metal strip weakens over time and “pops” when using the headlights” (wranglerforum). The weakened strip of the switch makes us suffer as it can turn off the headlights unexpectedly. It can even lead to a complete loss of headlight functionality.


Replace the headlight switch if it is why Cherokee headlights go black while driving. After all, “about 90% of the time, this is due to the old headlight switch with its internal circuit-breaker… (classicbroncos).” For a replacement tutorial, you can watch this YouTube video: “How to Replace Headlight Switch

Faulty Headlight Relay

Halogen or classic headlights draw less current. But the LEDs or HIDs “draw more current than the originals” (classicbroncos). It can overload the circuit breaker of the headlight. But installing a headlight relay can solve the issue. If the relay is defective, it will not draw a full volt to turn on the headlights. Then, it will cause the headlights to flicker or fail.


Add a relay if there is none in your Cherokee Jeep headlights. If there is already one, check through it if it has defects. Then, you can replace the old relay with a new one.


Headlights, just like any other electrical component, can get hot under the collar. It may become hot if you keep the headlights on for a prolonged period. Also, inadequate ventilation or faulty bulbs can cause overheating. A built-in safety mechanism may kick in when these things become excessively hot. Then, you will get the headlights turned off until they cool down.


Avoid keeping the headlights turned on unnecessarily if they are older and you have been using them for persistent periods. You may give them time to cool down. Otherwise, you may need to repair or replace them frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my headlights keep turning off while driving?

Answer: It may happen due to faulty headlight switches, electrical issues, overheating, moisture buildup, and defective bulbs.

How do you turn off automatic lights in a Jeep?

Answer: You can follow a few steps: first, locate the headlight control knob. Then, turn it to the “Off” or another position with no “Auto” label.

How can I adjust the Jeep Cherokee headlights?

Answer: Turn the headlights on to know if they are working. Then, open the vehicle hood and locate the headlight adjustment screws. Identify the vertical and horizontal adjustment screws and cover one headlight with a cloth or cardboard. Next, adjust the alignment vertically and horizontally. After adjusting both headlights, turn them off and close the hood. Now, you can test the headlights.

Final Words

I hope you know why Jeep Cherokee headlights turn off while driving now. I have tried to explain why the headlights stop working on the road. However, you should maintain them regularly to avoid unnecessary problems.

Inspect the headlights frequently to identify any signs of damage. Also, keep the lights appropriately enclosed to protect them from dirt, debris, and road grime. Tighten and secure all the connections of the wiring harness. Besides, ensure that the Cherokee headlights are correctly aligned for optimal performance.

Typically, it is good to replace headlights before they burn out. You may find many video tutorials to replace the headlights and their components.

Thank you for your precious reading time.

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