Sequential Lights Do Not Work: What to Check?

Sequential headlights and taillights look so stylish and aggressive compared to the regular ones. This function makes the average ride look way more attractive and eye-catching, especially when you are about to turn. No wonder that aftermarket headlights and tail lights are that popular among American car owners.

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Aftermarket Sequential Taillights

What is Sequential Headlight?

This is the dynamic style of the headlight and taillight where the turn signals show the way where you want to turn. The light looks like moving as the LEDs move in sequence in the direction you want to turn. Such lights look sharp, and are available with clear and chrome lenses, with chrome and black background.

Quite often, when people install such lights by themselves, they may skip a very important installation point. As a result, the sequential function does not work, which is quite frustrating. If that is the case you’ve faced, let us explain to you this tricky moment before you give a call to the headlight manufacturer or start a warranty claim.

Technical Basics

Take a look at the switchback lights you have. You will notice that sequential turn signals come equipped with two identical modules. They are designed to sequence several lights (LED or halogen), or several parts of the LED chip-on-board (COB) individually.

  • So, each module controls the 1-2-3 rate of each lamp assembly or part of the LED board.
  • You can speed up or slow down the 1-2-3 pace by opening up the modules and turning two screws.
  • Each screw is a rheostat (variable resistor). It controls the sequential pace of the three lamps or parts of the LED board of your new lights.
  • One of the rheostats controls how long the most inboard lamp is on before the sequencing begins.
  • The other controls how quickly the three lamps sequence.

If it seems that the sequential function of your lights does not work, make sure this module is wired up properly. Many people forget to attach it and have a problem as a result.

How do Sequential Lights work?

Note, that each control module gets power from a source that is live only when the ignition is on. Sure thing, some manufacturers may offer a solution to this in some time. However, if you wish to make your switchback lights work when the ignition is off, you will need to do some extra wiring. If you are dealing with tail lights or third brake lights, here is what you need to do.

You will need to run a separate power lead, protected by a fuse, from the fuse box to the sequential light modules in the trunk area. This power lead has to branch out into two leads to each of the modules to keep power going to the modules. As a result, it allows normal brake-light operation with the ignition switch in the off position.

If you want the emergency flashers to sequence, you’ll have to install two flasher modules. One of them will work for the turn signals and one for the emergency flashers. These flasher modules have to replace the stock flashers. Make sure not to use both. However, if you want emergency flashers that illuminate one bulb on each side, you can keep the stock emergency flasher.

Any questions or comments?

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certified mechanic at Halo HeadlightsSteven is a certified mechanic and technical writer at Halo Headlights. Steven is excited about fast cars, loud music and car mods. On yearly basis he visits SEMA, as well as other car shows. He has installed thousands of HID and LED kits and did hundreds of custom headlight retrofit projects. Now, he is ready to share his experience with HaloHeadlights.com readers. If you have questions to Steven, just ask your question using the form.


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