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Why are my car dash lights no longer working?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted May 22 2003 - 10:20 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   David Preston

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Posted May 22 2003 - 10:26 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted May 22 2003 - 10:38 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Kevin P

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Posted May 23 2003 - 12:13 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Eric_L

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Posted May 23 2003 - 12:24 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted May 23 2003 - 02:20 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted May 23 2003 - 04:08 AM

Quote:
Oh yeah, the car is a 1999 Grand Prix.

That's your problem right there. Posted Image

I've heard too many horror stories from friends who've owned American automaker cars.

Just be glad your problem is so minor in comparison...whew.
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted May 23 2003 - 04:56 AM

Quote:
I've heard too many horror stories from friends who've owned American automaker cars.


Can...open....


Worms.... everywhere....


Posted Image

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted May 23 2003 - 05:33 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted May 23 2003 - 05:35 AM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted May 23 2003 - 08:33 AM

Quote:
the dash actually caught on fire!


YIKES!!

Quote:
Oh yeah, the car is a 1999 Grand Prix.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



That's your problem right there.


Max, I knew you would be chiming in Posted Image

Thanks all I'll take your advice and see what I can come up with.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   MikeH1

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Posted June 03 2003 - 01:24 PM

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 Posted Image

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Karl_Luph

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Posted June 03 2003 - 03:43 PM

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 of 15 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted June 03 2003 - 04:53 PM

Cool! An easy fix! Posted Image Posted Image
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him...a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Gamesh....

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted June 04 2003 - 09:00 AM

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. Posted Image
 


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