How To Fix Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight Problem

Dodge Truck Front End Alignment, Indio CA Big O TiresIf 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.

Dodge Ram TIPM headlight Wiring DiagramReally? 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.”

Dodge Ram 2500 Low Beam Headlight Fix

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.

Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight

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.

Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight

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. 😕

2002 - 2008 Dodge Ram Truck Service ManualIf 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?

Recommended Reading:

Dodge Ram Pick-up Trucks (Haynes Repair Manual)

Chilton Dodge Ram Pick-ups Repair Manual

Amazon Recommendations:

79 thoughts on “How To Fix Dodge Ram Low Beam Headlight Problem”

  1. I’m having similar issue with a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500. Passenger side no low beam.
    When I check the voltage at the headlight socket, I’m getting around 12v on both high and low beam at same time?
    Is this normal? I’ve swapped bulbs and still no low beam, high beam works.

    • I never checked the voltage, but the symptom you describe is likely due to the TPMS not sending the proper current. The way to test this theory of the same voltage being “normal” or not, would be to test the opposite headlight socket.

  2. Anyone know if this works for all vehicles with TIPM? I have an 08 Dodge Avenger, and have a similar problem: Driver headlight works, passenger’s doesn’t. All other lights on both sides work. Replaced the bulb and still nothing…

  3. I have a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500. I am currently going through the passenger side low beam out and driver on situation. I have access to the bottom of my TIPM but am having trouble identifying the proper connectors. I can’t seem to find any source online for an image of the underside of a 2004 TIPM. I’d much rather splice the wires under there than up near the headlights. Do you have any links or suggestions of where I might be able to find such an image?

    • any links or suggestions of where I might be able to find such an image?

      Nope. I also discovered that many trucks use different color-coded wires than indicated in many manuals and wiring diagrams. That’s why I settle for running the long jump to the specific wires I knew were correct at each light.

  4. I did a very similar fix, but not wanting to overload the already fragile computer(TIPM), I went with a relay configuration. I spliced as you did to get a trigger voltage to my relay. then I ran a separate feed direct from the battery to the relay and on to the headlight with an in line fuse at battery connection. the result is when I turn on the headlights, they both light up with minimal extra load on the lighting circuit of the TIPM. that was 2 years ago. Now I am looking at deleting my TIPM all together for a Pre TIPM fusebox. My heated seats don’t work, my radio is offline 50% of the time and Im getting annoyed at the whole TIPM subject.

    • Fantastic, thanks for the feedback. After nearly five years, and accumulating un-clearable error codes, we finally broke down and replaced the TIPM to avoid any unexpected emergency down the road…glad to hear that’s working for you!

  5. Any suggestion for both of my high beams not working? It indicates highs are on (light on dash on) and turns fog lights off but no high beams. And even stranger is it will work fine if truck is off and key is on acc. Mode.

  6. Great idea, one thing though, recommending vampire taps in an automotive environment, anf particularly for an exterior connection is just nuts. Sure they are fast but the will destroy any waterproofing on the wire, promoting corrosion. Even on an interior connection they are a bad idea, they can cut some of the wires inside and at the least will create a breakage point due to vibration over time. The rest of the article is quite good though.

  7. I did this for my high beams about 6 years ago and they worked just fine until last month. Checked the splice and it is still holding firm. Here’s there weird part – the voltage going to both lights is showing .04 volts and the passenger high beam still works! If I power the wire directly from the battery then they both work. Damn . . .

  8. Hey guys. I thought I had the same problem as described here. Because my passenger side low beam won’t come on . So I did all the checking you guys said to do. Anyway I was doing this then I noticed that the new bulb had a gasket on it and the bulb I took out didn’t have a gasket on it. So I reached in the back of the headlight assembly I put my finger in the hole and the gasket fell on my finger so then I got the new bulb and put in there and this time the bulb went in right. Because before I had a problem installing it in the hole .So this time it rite in and set correctly I think there must be a ground affect when you mount the bulb because it lite up right away.So my dumb ass did check if I had removed the other gasket from the dead bulb. Anyway it works now[ not the pcm like was said in forum I know my fault but I’m a nubie to this stuff here] But thanks for all the great advice guy’s….

  9. Just a thought here for the guys that have no lights now.., If you have 12v at the connector but the computer kills the circuit once any real load is put on it, I would wire in a plain old Relay. it shouldn’t take much current at all and you can directly source your load from the battery and just use the 12v from the computer as a trigger. I understand that dodge wanted to put everything in the computer to save “whatever” but relays have worked for years and years and seeing how you only need a light amount of current to trigger a relay, it might save a few bucks..

  10. I bought a 2001 Dodge 1500 4×4 extended cab, loved the looks….Be careful what you ask for…I’ve considered burning it in the field several times. What a POS it is. First the paint went to hell, next the Tranny went to hell and the dash fell apart. had to replace the computer twice. and from the sound of it it keeps getting worst each year. what ever happened to good old American know how?

    • from the sound of it it keeps getting worst each year.

      I’m not hearing that sound…we love our 2006 2500 Cummins 4WD! And, many diesel fanatics agree it’s one of Dodge’s best. We will baby it forever and replace/upgrade components as necessary before ever considering a new truck.

      But thanks for the comment. Let us know when you plan to have that bonfire and I’ll bring some fireworks.

  11. Worked for my 2007. Thanks Jim. Just as pictured. Wire on right with clip up. Double check with meter but start there. Thank god. No more anxious moments waiting to be pulled over.

  12. Thanks for the fix. I have a 07 1500 and the driver side low beam was out so I just did what you said and it worked. Only issue my colors were different I spliced passenger white and tan to driver blue and white and it came right on

    • Cool! Thanks for the comment.

      If all the wires were color coded correctly, I could have just jumped them at the mail wiring harness. 🙂

    • Sorry to hear that Richard. This worked for our 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 SLT, and as I state in the post, “I am not a certified technician, I cannot guarantee this will work for your truck, nor do I accept any liability for damage resulting…”

      Maybe others will chime in, but it sounds like it may time to visit a shop. Good luck!

  13. How common is this problem in my 2012 Ram 150)? Been pulled over 4 times for no headlight. It only amounted to one ticket, thank God. The dealer estimate says that there is no power coming out of the head lamp harness connector and it’s going to cost almost $300??

  14. I have a 2001 Dodge 1500 my head lights are dim orange where my bride seemed to work pretty well however it seems like they go off quite often and I’m constantly turning my brights back on to have lights at night I’ve read some other forums and it looks like there could be a fuse issue that you could switch the fuses right to left are they talking about the fuses like the accessories fuses or is there something else

    • I had a 1999 model that did that. When tilt wheel was up my lifhts worked, but when i tilted it down they went out. Took steering cover off and found a purple wire with white stripe was pulling loose from terminal. Disconnect your battery and pull that wire off and squeeze it alittle with pliers til it goes back on snug.

    • Use the same gauge as the wire you are splicing into. I do not specifically recall the wires I used, this was a few years ago. Likely 12 or 14, check your service manual to be sure.

  15. Jim!
    Thanks for this article, same problem exactly. I am an electrician so it was extremely frustrating to find voltage at the terminals but light still not work!
    I just spliced into passenger side wire, was a one hour fix. This article sums up the problem and solution perfectly!
    My method with automotive wiring is cut, solder, and heat shrink. I love solder and heat shrink it’s actually pretty fun to work with.
    Thanks for this, saved me a lot of time and money. I would have been so choked to get a 1640 $ repair bill to fix a headlight.

  16. Hey there,,,I have the same problem I have a 2006 1500 Ram Hemi and my light mysteriously went out too. Checked the bulb and it was o.k.,,had the dealership check it and they reported that the TIPM was the source of the problem. I talked to our truck mechanic at the yard and he suggested to install a relay fuse,,power one lead to the battery,,one lead to ground,,one lead to hot lowbeam wire on passenger side light and the other lead to the drivers lowbeam wire. He said the relay will help compensate low voltage and balance the power so you don’t have an overload or burn out wiring…no sure what to do,,been like this for over a year now,,so disapointing that Dodge doesn’t have a recall for this problem,,make me second guess if I would by another Dodge product

    • Interesting, Doc. Thanks for the feedback. The solution I describe above has been working great for us, for nearly two years now. No fuse, no relay, and no problems…so far!

      • Hey Jim..update on the solution I described before,,an independent switch is needed for my solution to work,,meaning you switch on your headlights from the factory dash switch,,and you will also have to switch on the new switch which is connected to the driver’s side headlight to have both working,,,,You have run a jump wire to the live wire on passenger light,,,does this not overload the circuit for passenger side light or short out or cause the Tpim module to sense an overload and shut that ( passenger) light to go out too?

  17. spend the money and get the TIPM fixed,these quick fixes do not will cost you more down the road,if your TIPM goes your truck will be leaving you without lights or even worse,if splicing the wire works you are putting more voltage through the wires,you will end up melting the wires

  18. thanks I spliced into wire and made a circuit to the other one, It works , but the lamp out light is still on guess i need a flash of the computer? good work I cannot afford the computer, mine is an 04

  19. On the dodge I have a 2500 diesel with the same problem. I routed the wire to the other side. My ? is did you cut the wire and put the new wire directly to the bulb or did you make it a circuit by splicing into the wire on the other side? thanks (also I had my alternator tested it is going bad too, but it is an original with 200 thousand}

    • did you cut the wire and put the new wire directly to the bulb

      Thanks for asking! No, as I tried to show in bulb the photo above, I spliced into the wire on the opposite side. A T-tap connector might work best, but I just cut the wire and used a butt connector with the two wires going in the botom and the one out the top to the lamp.

      Hope that helps!


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