Why are my car dash lights no longer working?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by MikeH1, May 23, 2003.

  1. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    It happened a couple weeks ago while driving home at night. Cruising along and they went out...I turned the headlight switch on/off just hoping that would do the trick and back on the dash lights came. Ok no big deal I thought. Well its become worse to the point now they rarely work. Sometimes though, by turning the headlight switch, they come on, but less frequently now than before and for shorter periods.

    So now I'm in the dark as to what could be causing this. My first thought was a fuse but either it works or it doesn't if that was the problem. Perhaps a short somewhere? I'm at a loss and before I take the car in to get fixed for something I'm sure (hoping) is an easy repair I thought I would ask all of you.

    Oh yeah, the car is a 1999 Grand Prix.
     
  2. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    A wire has probably worked itself loose. My frien has the same problem but I think he cut a wire while putting in his stereo. Have you had any car audio installed lately? Maybe thats what happen just thought I would mention that.
     
  3. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Actually thats a great suggestion and is most likely the problem. I did install the deck 2 years ago myself. Now that I think about it, about 2 weeks ago I took out the deck from the dash, attached a rca cord to the jacks in the back for a minidisc player and put it back into place. Ever since about then is when its given me some trouble. I just never tied the two together :b And also, after 2 years, all the electrical tape might not be holding so well.

    I better take a closer look back there ...

    Thanks for the reply!!
     
  4. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    COuld be the dimmer switch is on its way out. Try adjusting the dimmer and see if the lights come back on or flicker.
     
  5. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I second Kevin. 50% chance that your headlight switch is the dimmer and you may be twisting it as you engage it. Twist it. If that does not work read the owners manual and find where the dimmer switch is and try adjusting it.
     
  6. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Or a third option...there is a short somewhere. My dash lights conk out briefly on occasion... I just haven't gotten around to getting it fixed. (Doesn't happen that often, seems like a waste to take the car in JUST for that.) It's a short with my headlight switch. Fuses are all fine, and still running the factory stereo. But it's an older car I don't drive much...so...
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  8. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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  9. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    If you have replaced your guage lights with aftermarket lights such as Indiglo, APC, Eurolite, etc... it's possible your potentiometer(sp) is going out. The guage lights on my Celica don't work right now because of this. They are still under warranty so I have a new set on the way free of charge.
     
  10. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Michael,

    Best advice I can give to anyone installing car audio is - Throw away your electrical tape. Learn how to solder and use the shrink tubing available at Radio Shack. Simply cut the shrink tube to fit, slide it on one end of the wire, twist the wires topgether lengthwise, solder the joint, slide the shrink tubing over the joint and hit it with a lighter. Since I started installing car audio this way (about 4 stereos ago), I've never had a short. I had shorts all the time with electrical tape and one time the dash actually caught on fire!
     
  11. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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  12. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    Just a update...my dashlights are now fine. It was a wire from the car deck that was shorting out or something because the electrical tape had come off. Thanks all for the suggestions [​IMG]
     
  13. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    You might have used a connection coming off of the wiring harness's dash lights circuit that's for aftermarket gauges. This feed going into the back of the deck was the problem.Probably like you mentioned, it had been twisted and wrapped with electrical tape which had come loose enough, allowing the wire to ground on the chassis.Yeah, some brands of electrical tape have better adhesive values that others lol!Heat is usually it's worst enemy,although spilt soda pop isn't too friendly to it either.Also, I've seen some dash light potentiometers go out on older cars too.(British ones I want to say, darn Lucas electronics!)
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Cool! An easy fix! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    don't feel bad michael.

    i once installed a stereo in my friends jeep. for some reason, the wire i tapped into (which i thought was a simple switched hot wire) was actually somehow tied into her ignition.

    you could start the car fine, but when you turned the key to off, the car kept running...thank gawd she had a stickshift. [​IMG]
     

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