: 01 Catera- Headlights cause dash lights, etc to go dark



vekspec
03-13-11, 12:02 AM
hello all!

I'm experiencing an issue where whenever my headlights turn on, either automatically or manually, the dashboard lights, door panel lights, gear stick lights and all the lights for the button on the middle section for Climate Control and Radio will just go dark. The dial for the dash brightness does nothing. If the headlights are off, it will be ok. the gear stick lights will be on for P, R etc.

It happens at night ofc when the headlights come on, so I'm driving essentially in the dark lol.

I check the fuses, they all seem fine. Has anyone experienced this issue?

Thanks!

hgqguy
03-13-11, 12:18 PM
was there any recent work where some wires could have been moved or damaged? sounts like a short that when the headlights pop on it overloads a circit... I have never had this problem.. but the other option is that maybe there is a "mother" relay that will overheat so it shuts down the lesser function infavor of the nessasary function... I would have it tested by an electrition.. it should be easily traced.. esp if its a constant problem... its the intermitten problems that are the challenging ones.

vekspec
03-13-11, 01:53 PM
was there any recent work where some wires could have been moved or damaged? sounts like a short that when the headlights pop on it overloads a circit... I have never had this problem.. but the other option is that maybe there is a "mother" relay that will overheat so it shuts down the lesser function infavor of the nessasary function... I would have it tested by an electrition.. it should be easily traced.. esp if its a constant problem... its the intermitten problems that are the challenging ones.


Yes, about a month ago, I had new headlights installed, after that I would have issues with the headlights not turning on or off at random times, twilight not working, etc. took it back and they said they juggled the fuses, wires etc and found no problems. Headlights work fine so far but I think it probably lead to this problem. Plus, my coolant is slowly leaking so do you think some might have gotten onto the wiring?

thanks for the reply!

hgqguy
03-13-11, 07:01 PM
I am 100% sure they did something wrong! if the problem didnt exist and now does.. they did something wrong. Are the bulbs perhaps the wrong bulbs, drawing to much currant for the cicut?? thats what it sounds like.. did they just switch the bulbs, or change the whole headlight houseing? maybe pinched a wire?? and the fact they got into the fuses.. eeek that would scare me... i would take the car back everyday till they fixed it!! the fact that either one or the other thing works does not make me think there is coolant getting intot he wire, cause that would shut the whole thing down. i think they have used wrong bulbs... or the hooked something up wrong.. but Id check the wattage on the bulb.. maybe xenon/hid?? Im not real sure about all that.

vekspec
03-14-11, 12:03 AM
they just installed new bulbs since one of them burnt out. They installed the Silverlight type which is 3 levels higher than the normal bulbs that I had. I'm thinking the new bulbs might be abit too much for the car to handle and that is why i'm getting this problem, since it started only after getting the new bulbs. I'm going to put in the "normal" bulbs tomorrow and see if that fixes it. I hope it does!

Tyvm!! :)

Edit: If the normal bulbs don't work, I'll definitely take it back!

kaustein
03-22-11, 12:47 AM
Hell, I have my sunroof open and close at will. Really interesting when it rains or snows! The car is an electrical nightmare!

jimsbox
03-22-11, 02:30 AM
If tje interior lights go out completely I doubt if it is just overloading, I would expect them to dim in that event but not switch off completely. You may want to check for DTCs, I can see how a problem in the body computer (or whatever computer controls your panel and lighting). I had a 95 STS that started having the head lights go bright and dim rhythmically, turned out to be a bad alternator. You may want to check your battery and ground connections for cleanliness and security. It sounds like something is turning the lights off inside the car. Perhaos the higher current headlights have burned out the head light switch/twilight circuit.

vekspec
03-27-11, 12:48 PM
I fixed the problem! it wasn't actually the headlights. It was the little box that contains the headlight switch/twilight/dash brightness knobs. i took that out and replaced it with a new one and everything works! :D

hgqguy
03-27-11, 12:55 PM
awesome.. so lose connection/short. makes sence to me!! I always get confused when the light warning light comes on.. the garage is forever hitting the off switch.. and Im like WTF is wrong... the first time I thought it was a tranny light... freaked me out!..

jefferyrw
03-30-11, 09:56 PM
where is the little box that u replaced and what does it look like in color. is at the top of the fuse box? mine is doing the same thing.

vekspec
10-16-12, 05:34 PM
it's not really a box lol but more like a box panel. it's the one with the headlamp switch, twilight control, etc. it's the same color as your dash. it's like right under the driver side air vent. i just carefully chipped it out with a flathead. the rear is just a connector type connector lol. just pop the new one in.

sorry for necro-ing this thread a bit. haven't checked back here in some time lol.