How To Turn On Auto High Beams GMC Yukon?

Are you wondering how to turn on the auto high beam feature of your GMC Yukon? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

You can turn on the IntelliBeam feature of 2016-2022 GMC Yukon models by turning the exterior light control knob until you get to the “Auto” setting. You will see the high beam headlight icon with an “A” in the middle on the instrument panel if this feature is on.

The activation method above has some requirements to work. Learn about these in the succeeding sections. Read on!

GMC SUV cruising in Houston TX - How To Turn On Auto High Beams GMC Yukon

How to activate IntelliBeam?

Turning the ELC or exterior light control knob to turn on the headlamps will also turn on the IntelliBeam feature. You can find the ELC knob to the lower left of the steering wheel.

Keep in mind that the IntelliBeam is not automatically enabled once you turn it on through the ELC knob. To enable it, manually turn on and then turn off the high beam twice within two seconds. This will only work if the turning signals are in a neutral position.

To deactivate it, manually turn the high beam on and then turn off. When you use the “Flash-to-Pass” feature, your Yukon will also disable the IntelliBeam feature. The “Flash-to-Pass” feature can be activated by pulling the light signal lever towards you. This will momentarily turn on the high beam of your vehicle.

This method works for 2016 to 2022 models of GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, and GMC Yukon Denali.

Auto High Beam In Older GMC Yukon Models

GMC Yukon models from 2015 and older do not have IntelliBeam. They have an auto headlamp system that is not the same as IntelliBeam.

The auto headlamp system detects the brightness or darkness of ambient light using a light sensor on the dashboard. It will automatically turn on the headlamps when it determines that the road does not have enough light for safe driving.

How do IntelliBeam headlights work?

Charlotte International Auto Show 2015

IntelliBeam detects the amount of light on the road that you’re driving on and automatically turns on the high beam of your headlamps if the road is dim. It will then automatically switch to low beam once it detects an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane that has its headlights on. An incoming vehicle with no headlights will not trigger IntelliBeam to switch to a low beam.

It will also switch to low beam if it detects a vehicle in front of you within a certain distance or when there are enough streetlights on the road to keep visibility high. The vehicle in front of you must have its taillights on to trigger IntelliBeam to switch to low beam.

What conditions prevent IntelliBeam from activating?

The IntelliBeam system uses a sensor at the top center of the windshield. This sensor can fail to detect road lighting conditions if that windshield area is dirty or covered by debris or snow.

In addition to the windshield sensor that determines the road conditions, the IntelliBeam system also monitors the speed of your Yukon. The IntelliBeam will only activate if you’re driving at 25 mph or faster. If your speed drops to 20 mph or below at any time, the system automatically disables IntelliBeam.

The minimum speed is 12 mph in the 2022 GMC Yukon instead of 20 mph.

What are the conditions that can prevent IntelliBeam from activating high beams?

IntelliBeam relies on the windshield sensor to function correctly. The functionality of IntelliBeam can be affected by the ability of this sensor to detect certain conditions in other vehicles on the road.

The high beam might not turn off automatically if the headlamps are missing, hidden, dim, or off on an oncoming vehicle. This same situation might happen if the headlamps are covered with dirt, snow, or road spray. The same applies to the taillights of a preceding vehicle.

Obstructions like fog, snow, rain, smoke, road spray, or dense exhaust can also prevent the sensor from identifying the headlamp of an oncoming vehicle or the taillight of a preceding vehicle.

A heavy load at the back of your Yukon that lifts the front upward can also diminish the effectiveness of the light sensor. If your Yukon is lifted upward, then it will also direct the sensor upward. It will no longer be able to monitor the road ahead.

Driving on hilly or winding roads can also negatively affect the sensor's performance. Hilly or winding roads will not give the sensor enough time to analyze incoming traffic.

Why are my auto high beams not working?

GMC Yukon SUV truck display at a dealership. GMC is a division of GM and offers the Yukon in SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali models.

The cause of the problem is likely your headlamps. This doesn’t mean that you need to replace your headlamps immediately, though. A blown fuse can prevent the lights from working. You will have the same problem if you have a bad relay.

Check the fuse box under the hood. Look for the fuse that provides continuous electrical energy to your headlamps. Replace the fuses if needed.

Replacing the relay is like replacing a fuse. You just need to locate the right relay for your headlights.

CrocSee 250-piece blade-type car fuses assortment is available on Amazon through this link.

Why won’t my headlights turn on, but my brights will?

GMC SUV cruising in Houston TX

Sometimes your Yukon will have a working high beam, but no matter what you do, you cannot turn on the normal beam.

The IntelliBeam will still work in this case, although you will not get any low beam light when the system shifts to that mode. Always check your low and high beam lights when checking your front lamps before a long drive.

There are five possible causes of this problem.

Corroded Socket

One of the most common causes of malfunctioning headlights is corrosion in the socket where the bulb is inserted. Corrosion causes electrical contacts to stop working. If the contacts for the low beam are corroded, the bulbs will not get any electrical energy when set to a low beam.

Corrosion in the socket can also cause intermittent lights—sometimes a low beam will work, and sometimes it will not.

Clean the socket with an electrical contact cleaner. Scrape heavy corrosion with a flat screwdriver, then let the electrical contact cleaner soak. Repeat this process until you get rid of all corrosion.

Hosa DeoxIT D5 spray contact cleaner is available on Amazon through this link.

Problematic Wiring

Loose wiring to your headlights can cause your headlights to work intermittently. If you don’t use your car often, it could become a playground for rodents, and they can chew on the wires. Loose contacts on the wiring can also cause the same issues. A professional mechanic is your best option to fix a wiring issue correctly.

Broken ELC Knob

A loose or broken contact on your ELC knob can also cause your headlights to work intermittently or not work at all. It can also cause the high beam to work but not the low beam. The ELC knob can get stuck in a single position, preventing it from getting to the low beam position to activate it.

A problem with the ELC knob can prevent your IntelliBeam from working. A bad ELC knob needs a replacement, and a professional mechanic is your best bet at fixing this issue.

Bad Relay

The headlight relay shifts power to the high beam or the low beam. If you have a failing or problematic relay, then your headlight might no longer be able to switch power between the low beam and the high beam settings.

A professional mechanic can replace your headlight relay for you.

If you can locate the headlight relay, you can replace it yourself. You can remove it like a fuse. Spray some electrical contact cleaner into the socket before you install the replacement relay.

Nilight 50003R 5-pin 30/40A 12-volt SPDT is available on Amazon through this link.

Bad Headlights

Used GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 pickup truck. With supply issues, GMC is buying and selling used and pre-owned vehicles to meet demand.

Most newer vehicles use halogen bulbs with dual filament assemblies. One filament is for the normal low beam light, while the other is for the high beam. Some vehicles even use two separate bulbs for the high beam and the low beam.

If the high beam works but the low beam does not, then it is possible that the low beam filament no longer works. If only one of your headlights does not have a working low beam, then this is definitely the problem. Get a replacement bulb that matches the old bulb, and this should solve the problem.

When replacing your headlight bulb, make sure not to touch the bulb with your bare hands. Wear gloves to prevent oils and skin salts on your hands from getting to the bulbs.

The natural oils and salts on human hands can cause halogen bulbs to accumulate a large amount of heat on the spot of contact. This greatly reduces the lifespan of the bulbs.


The GMC Yukon has an ELC knob that makes it easy to access the different functions of your vehicle lights like the IntelliBeam.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

Headlights And Dash Lights Flicker While Driving—What’s Wrong?

How To Tell If You Have Projector Or Reflector Headlights?

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