How to Bypass Car Ambient Light Sensor (Answered)

Until recently, automobiles depended on incandescent light for illumination. The light is channeled through a bulb, and you can turn it on as you please.

However, with ambient light sensors, the light comes on on its own when the sensors detect a change in external lighting. This isn’t always a pleasant experience. Therefore, you might need to learn how to bypass ambient light sensors.

How can you bypass your car ambient light sensor?

You can bypass the ambient light sensor by replacing it or adding a switch to the ambient light sensor circuit already in the car.

car ambient lighting

The innovation of the ambient light sensor has been of great benefit. However, what exactly do these sensors do, and do all cars come with them? Read on to find out more.


What Does the Ambient Light Sensor Do? 

The ambient light sensor is a prominent feature in many devices and automobiles. It is designed to function like the human eyes in response to light.

It regulates the brightness of the light in any device it is found. This depends on the brightness of the environment.  The ambient light sensor in an automobile regulates the car’s brightness while driving through any environment. 

For instance, the ambient light sensor will dim the screen brightness at night and increase it during the day. High screen brightness at night can be distracting to the driver and might be a potential cause of accidents. 

Thus, it is important to ensure that the ambient light sensor is not faulty.

Ambient light sensors can be installed on different parts of the vehicle. It sometimes reflects different colors and can add beauty to the car’s interior.

As amazing as this feature is, sometimes the ambient light sensor might not function as expected. The automatic increase and decrease of light brightness is not always a welcomed idea. For different reasons known to them, car owners seek out ways to bypass ambient light sensors.  

How to Bypass Ambient Light Sensor

As stated earlier, the ambient light sensor is found in automobiles and other devices such as laptops and smartphones. For these devices, bypassing this feature only requires you to turn it off from the control button. 

Unfortunately, bypassing this feature in a lot of vehicles is not a walk in the park. This could mean going an extra length to uncouple some parts of the machine. 

If your ambient light sensor is faulty or you don’t like the feature, there are a few unconventional ways to bypass it. Before you try out any of the methods mentioned below, note that it can be done better by a car technician. 

Below are a few ways to bypass this feature.

Replace the Ambient Light Sensor

Locate the ambient light sensor and unplug it, then replace it with a 1-ohm resistor. If you are having trouble locating the sensor, carefully dismantle the part where it is located. You do not want to damage the light sensor while trying to fix it. 

The 1-ohm resistor will make the light sensor turn off automatically. In some cases, a 2.2 ohms resistor is what you need. The model and make of your vehicles should help you determine which one to use. 

Add a switch to the Ambient Light Sensor circuit

The electrical upfitter manual of some truck vehicles shows that the ambient light sensor has two circuits. A yellow/violet wire (PIN 4) and a white/blue wire (PIN 5). PIN 5 controls the signal for the ambient light sensor. 

The sensor harness wiring is located behind the radio faceplate on the dash. Pull out the wire sheath to make this process easier. Cut through it and wire in a PIAA switch or any other suitable alternative. 

Once you wire a switch into this circuit, it allows you to override the automatic function of the light sensor. Hence, you can have your car at full brightness and not worry about it diming out frequently.

Couple the circuit back into place, close the switch, and you are good to go.

Do all cars have ambient light sensors? 

Cars manufactured before the era of LED technology do not have ambient light sensors. However, not all modern vehicles possess this feature. Advancement in technology has helped automobile manufacturers to modernize basic features into more advanced ones.

Kia Soul is one of the first automakers to integrate ambient lighting as part of their car features. They have maintained this feature up to date and have gone on to improve its functionality.

Besides lighting, ambient light sensors have become an essential part of interior decoration. Many buyers decide on which car model to opt for based on the car’s ambiance. 

Automakers now integrate this feature into their cars either subtly or more prominently. The ambient light sensor, as well as its functions, depends on the price of the vehicles. 

Modern automobiles which are more affordable come with a subtle form of ambient light sensor decoration. A simple single-colored light located at the dash and car door will do. 

On the other hand, pricier vehicles come with a more prominent feature. This could mean having multiple colors that change gradually based on external light factors.

Also, the ambient light sensor is installed on different strategic parts of the car, such as dash trim, cupholders, speaker surrounds, door, and climate control vent for an aesthetically pleasing view. 

Different brands of automakers are known for their amazing ambient light sensor decoration. Some of the popular brands include Acura, Nissan, Honda, Infiniti, BMW, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes.

The first four brands manufacture vehicles with subtle lighting. In contrast, others do not hold back on their lighting. This feature is one of the many attractive features of modern cars. 

If you are looking to acquire a car with ambient light, you should consider some things. 

  • Can you change the color and brightness, and how easily accessible is this feature? Some older models make changing or accessing this feature difficult.
  • Is the ambient light sensor a standard feature or an option? Not all trims have this feature. Therefore, you should find out if it is a standard feature or not in your car of interest.