If you have a 2500 or 3500 pickup truck and are struggling with a Dodge Ram low beam headlight that won’t work on one side, this post will help save you from a costly trip to the dealer to troubleshoot and replace your TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module).
First, let me explain what I’m talking about and allow me to vent for just a moment…
How To Troubleshoot Faulty
2006 Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight Out
After replacing the driver’s side headlight bulb twice on our 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT 4WD Cummins Diesel pickup, the low beam still wasn’t working. I swapped the known good bulb from the other side and the low beam was still out, even though the high beam and fog lights were all functional. I started researching other causes for the issue and discovered that 2006 and later model year Dodge trucks have no fuses nor relays controlling power to the lights. When you turn on the headlights, the wires to the low beams return a signal to the ECM (Engine Control Module) which sends power to the lamps.
Really? What brilliant engineer decided to remove an inexpensive relay from the circuit, requiring replacement of an $800± computer instead of a $20 bulb? Perhaps the goal was to drive more DIY repairs back to the dealership. But I digress…
How does the IPM control power to lights? The smarter question is why!
Technically speaking, the “smart” technology of the TIPM monitors current of the lighting circuits. Should amperage fall outside the preset normal operating range, a fault signal is sent to the module. Apparently, after a certain number of power cycles the circuit will be permanently disabled by the computer until it is reset or replaced. Unfortunately, resetting only works for a short period and that is if the issue is caught in time. But of course, the first step anyone is going to take when a headlight goes out will be to replace the bulb. Other steps might include tracking down loose wires, testing the switch, or replacing a fuse or relay — if there was one!
With so much discussion about the Dodge Ram low beam headlight issue however, chances are the cause is a computer module failure. Don’t just take my word for it though, check out these forums I found filled with reports of failing lights and recommended troubleshooting that explain the issue in much greater detail:
Dodge Forum: 06 2500 with Headlight Issues, TIPM?
Ram Forum: Still No Low Beams, Dodge Truck
Diesel Truck Resource: 2006 Dodge Ram Cummins Low Beams Not Working
Save Yourself from Expensive Dodge Dealer IPM Replacement for Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight Repair
Now, how exactly does one fix this $800± issue for about ten bucks in parts? First, let me state that I am not a certified technician, I cannot guarantee this will work for your truck, nor do I accept any liability for damage resulting from the following procedure. I am happy, however, to share what worked for me and saved me about $775 and only took about an hour to complete.
The credit for this cheap fix actually goes to Rene, for correctly answering the Dodge mechanic at the dealership who asked her if her husband was handy with electronics. Her affirmative answer resulted in him saying, “then he can do this,” handing her a simple sketch illustrating what needed to be done, and telling her there was no need to make a service appointment. The service manager didn’t care much for that.
It’s quite simple really, so I will quickly explain and then provide a couple tips to consider:
Jump the low beam power lead from the opposite side.
That’s it! To make the job harder on yourself, here are the 2006 Dodge Ram Front Lighting Wiring Diagrams. If you are so inclined, have at it. The only challenge I encountered was tracking down the correct wires at the wiring harness. The mechanic’s note read, “Jump the white and tan wire in black box to the white and green wire in blue box.”
By “boxes” I figured he meant the wiring harness plugs in the engine compartment. I easily found and confirmed the white and tan wire from the right headlight leading into the black box. The white and green wire in the blue box, however, did not test positive for continuity from the left headlight. This was either a wire to something else, or it may have indicated a break in the wire somewhere between the wiring harness and the lamp. Either way, the fix I describe below solved the problem. If you can correctly identify the two low beam wires in the gang plugs pictured above, this job will be much easier and take even less time.
Always more comfortable being safe than sorry, I didn’t want to jump the wrong wires and cause a short making matters even worse. So I connected a jump directly between the two lamp sockets and routed the wire safely along the frame under the front grill. First, I tested the mechanic’s theory by splicing into the wire on the “bad” side and just plugging it into the socket on the other. Use a meter to identify which hole powers the low beam, in my case it was on the right with the retaining clip on top.
Once I confirmed that both low beams lit up after splicing into the power from the other side, I routed the jump wire along the frame to the other side, securing it with zip-ties. At each end I tucked the new wire into the plastic wire harness tubing and left enough slack at each end for easy replacement of the bulbs. The only thing that might have made my job easier would have been some snap on splice connectors.
Do Not Trust Your Meter
Prior to reading this or the forum discussions I provided links to above, one might be inclined to just test voltage to the low beams on each side as part of the troubleshooting procedure when trying to fix a Dodge Ram truck with a headlight out on one side. Doing so will likely just have you scratching your head like I did when I discovered both wires were getting the exact same power. 😕
If you’re experiencing headlight problems like I describe, go ahead and troubleshoot your bad low beam all you want. Or, if you have a thousand bucks to burn, take your truck to the dealership and let them do it. If you catch it early enough, they may be able to flash the ROM in the computer and clear the fault most likely causing the trouble, for a while.
Which is safer, high beams or low?
As an interesting aside, this issue did spur a discussion about whether it’s better to drive around with one headlight or both your high-beams all the time. Sure, it’s frustrating to have people keep flashing their brights back at you, but is a cop more likely to pull you over for a headlight out or failure to dim your lights? What do you think?
Dodge Ram Pick-up Trucks (Haynes Repair Manual)
Chilton Dodge Ram Pick-ups Repair Manual
81 thoughts on “How To Fix Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight Problem”
Just want to confirm your wiring jumper. Did you leave the original wire connected to both sides and add the jumper or did you disconnect the wire on the side that wasn’t working?
Good question! I didn’t modify or remove any default wiring, only added the jumper wire.
I know this is a very old article but its worth a shot at trying to get a response. My problem is I have 2011 ram 1500 5.7 hemi. Driverside headlight wont shut off. Stays on all the time. Only way to get it off is to remove negative battery terminal. I disconnected it from the switch inside the truck and it still stays lit. Very frustrating. If anyone out there might be able to help please email me it will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance
Woah, sounds like your truck is haunted! Could be a related issue, but unfortunately I have no idea – other than some serious diagnostics…or TIPM replacement.
Good luck with that!
Jim, Thanks for writing this up. Just so I understand, I find the low beam feed wire for the right and install a jumper wire to connect it to the low beam feed wire for the left headlight?
If that works should I repeat the process for the high beams?
Correct, and you only need to jump the one wire as I illustrate above. At least that’s what worked for us! Good luck.
Thanks for posting this. I was racking my brain why the passenger low beam wasn’t working. Swapping lights and checking the voltage still needed to consult the internet and there you were. Same 2006 2500 diesel and it works like a champ.
Thank you so much
Glad it worked out for you! Thanks for the comment.
Jumped it and it worked for about two years. Now both lowbeams are out. Could I splice them into the fog lights?
Uhh…if ya do, let us know how that works out for you! Sounds like it may be time to replace the TIPM.
I had this problem after trying HIDs, I did not put load cancelers on pass side.I disconnected the batteries for one day and it worked again!!!
Thanks for the feedback! For others reading, I presume you’re referring to High-intensity discharge lamps (HID bulbs). And you say you did not use any “load cancelers” … which i’ll guess you mean something like these Headlight Load Resistor Adapters designed for HID and LED headlamps which are supposed to fix error codes.
Are you saying your low beam off issue was resolved simply by disconnecting both batteries for 24 hours?
I’m thinking you have to get it reprogrammed after replacing tipm
Get what reprogrammed? Any shop will program the new TIPM upon installation.
2006 dodge ram 1500 hemi edition never had to the issue before however this past year after a smart start alcohol device was Install maybe it was a coincidence thats when I started to have issues, at all times I have 1 head light out, if low is on then its 1 side if I turn on my high then it will flip flop turning the 1 light that was off,on and the one that was on,off either way leaving my with 1 head light at all times and have been pulled over so many times it has me so aggravated. I have A mechanic that is able to do the work I just need a diagnosis Or some type of feed to give him. Any suggestions? Thank you
Wow. That’s a tricky one. Certainly sounds like a similar issue, and likely related to a faulty TIPM. Good luck! Please come back and comment once you get it sorted out.
Just did this on a 2006 Cummins Diesel. Worked Beautifully. Took me about 30 minutes. Thank you so much!
Good job. Thanks for the feedback!
Would this be similar to a 96 ram 1500?
I have heard 1500 owners say yes, but I offer no promises.
It could be a wireharness issue as well. I’ve seen breaks in wires due to someone using those stupid wire taps.
2007 Dodge Ram 1500 4.7L – No low beam while engine is running
Click the link below I have fixed my issue with it.
Thanks for sharing!
Ok, my 2010 Dodge Ram, 5.7 Hemi, passenger side headlight and high beam no longer work, but my amber (blinker) is on and operational. Now, I replace the TIPM twice thinking it was a bad part. Still didn’t fix the problem. What in the hell can I do? I have been driving around at night with only 1 headlight. Can I just jump the light?
Good question! If both lo and hi beams are out, then it is a different issue than I describe here. If you are certain it’s not the bulb, and a new TIPM didn’t fix it, then it must be bad wiring somewhere.