Disable Daytime Running Lights

How to Disable Daytime Running Lights for Drive-Ins

Daytime running lights (DRLs) are a standard feature in many modern vehicles, designed to increase visibility and enhance safety during daylight hours. These lights automatically turn on when the vehicle is started and remain on until the car is turned off. While this feature is beneficial for daily driving, there are situations where you might want to turn off the DRLs, such as when attending a drive-in movie. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to disable your vehicle’s daytime running lights while keeping the engine running, ensuring your car battery remains charged and you stay comfortable.

Disable Daytime Running Lights

Why Disable Daytime Running Lights?

Though there aren’t many reasons to disable DRLs, attending drive-in movies is a notable exception. Here are a few reasons why you might want to turn off your DRLs:

  1. Drive-Ins: The bright lights can be distracting to other movie-goers and diminish the viewing experience. Keeping your DRLs off ensures a better experience for everyone.
  2. Conservation of Battery: During a drive-in movie, you may need to run your car occasionally to prevent the battery from dying, especially if you’re using the radio to listen to the movie’s audio.
  3. Comfort: On hot summer nights, you might want to keep the air conditioning running to stay cool without having to worry about your DRLs being on.

Turning Off Daytime Running Lights

For many cars, especially newer models like those from Honda, disabling the DRLs is not immediately obvious. Fortunately, there is a simple solution that allows you to turn off the DRLs while keeping the car running. Follow these steps:

  1. Turn the Vehicle Off: Start by turning off your car completely. This step is crucial as it resets the system.
  2. Engage the Parking Brake: Before starting the vehicle again, engage the parking brake. This action signals to the car’s system that the DRLs should remain off when the vehicle is restarted.
  3. Turn the Vehicle Back On: With the parking brake still engaged, restart your car. The DRLs should remain off as long as the parking brake is engaged.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Find a Safe Location: Ensure your car is parked safely, preferably on level ground, before attempting these steps.
  2. Turn Off the Ignition: Fully turn off the vehicle by turning the key or pressing the start/stop button.
  3. Engage the Parking Brake: Engage the parking brake firmly. In most cars, this is done by pulling a lever or pressing a button.
  4. Restart the Vehicle: Start the car again. With the parking brake engaged, the daytime running lights should remain off.
  5. Confirm the Lights Are Off: Check your car’s dashboard indicators or step outside to verify that the DRLs are indeed off.

This method works for most modern vehicles equipped with automatic DRLs. However, some cars might have different procedures or additional settings in the vehicle’s menu. Always refer to your vehicle’s manual for specific instructions.

Benefits of Disabling DRLs at Drive-Ins

Enhanced Viewing Experience

Drive-in movies are a nostalgic and enjoyable experience, but bright lights from surrounding vehicles can be distracting. By turning off your DRLs, you help maintain a dark environment, enhancing the overall viewing experience for everyone.

Battery Health

Running your vehicle periodically during a drive-in movie can help prevent the battery from dying, especially if you’re using the car’s audio system to listen to the movie. Keeping the DRLs off while doing so conserves energy and ensures your battery lasts longer.


Drive-ins often occur during warm summer nights. Keeping the car’s air conditioning running while the engine is on can make the experience more comfortable. Disabling the DRLs ensures you can stay cool without disturbing others.

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Additional Tips for Drive-In Movies

Arrive Early

Arrive at the drive-in early to secure a good parking spot. This not only gives you the best view but also allows you to settle in and get comfortable before the movie starts.

Bring Comfortable Seating

If your vehicle isn’t the most comfortable for long periods, consider bringing chairs, blankets, or pillows. Many people prefer to sit outside their car for a more relaxed viewing experience.

Pack Snacks and Drinks

Having your favorite snacks and drinks on hand can enhance your drive-in experience. Many drive-ins have concessions, but bringing your own ensures you have exactly what you want.

Use a Portable Radio

If you’re worried about your car battery, consider using a portable radio to tune into the movie’s audio. This way, you don’t need to keep the car running for the entire movie.

Be Courteous to Others

Remember that drive-ins are a communal experience. Keep noise levels down and be mindful of your lights to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time.

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