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VW New Beetle
1995-2005 Chevy Cavaliers

On a 1999 Cavalier the high beams work but the DRL and the low beams don't what could be wrong?


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Answered 2010-05-17 19:02:24

First before you do any of the things below, check and see if your turn signal and headlight lever are bad. This is on the left side of the steering wheel, opposite of the the intermittent windshield wiper on the right side. VERY COMMON PROBLEM! The connection(s) inside the component go bad. It could be the opposite to where you will have DRL and low beams, but not high beams depending on which connection point has burned out. Its just a connection problem. Take off the cover that encases the steering column and there should be two screws and a wiring harness holding the turn signal lever in place. Get one at a junk yard for $10-15. Cheap fix and then you have lights again! If this doesn't work get a wiring diagram and figure it out. Then move on from here.

It could be a bad dimmer switch.

Probably not though. I have the same problem on my 97 Cavalier. I replaced the headlight/cruise switch assembly, it didn't help matters. I have read that it is the Daytime Running Light module, located in front of the car dead center, but I have not tried that. I ended up cutting the wires to the hi-beams and splicing them into the low beams. So I have no hi-beams now but at least I'm not making other drivers mad with the highs. I've had it that way for 3 years now, because nobody can answer this question accurrately!!!

UPDATE (6/7/08):

Well, believe it or not, there is a pin-out connector/harness under the battery box (located in the front on the driver's side) that may be corroded. It is attached to the underside, and not easy to see without a mirror. If there is corrosion on the battery box, this connector is probably corroded as well.

To me, this is a MAJOR SAFETY ISSUE, because all of your lights come into this harness/connector and could go out at any time while driving down the road.

I have a 2002 Cavalier, and I was experiencing the exact same problem with the flickering (when started), non-functional DRL, and my high-beams being out. This was also accompanied by a 'Service' light on the dash.

I later found that the reason for the DRL going out first, is that the DRL ground wire is the closest to the post-side of the battery, where the acid leaks from. No ground = no lights!!! Different people will experience similar problems, sometimes with the low-beams, sometimes with the highs, because of different corrosion patterns and the DRLs being run from different bulbs.

Now for The Fix:

1. Check the battery box (under the battery) for corrosion. Chances are, it's corroded, batteries leak, it's what they do.

2. Take a small mirror on a stick, and look underneath the battery for the wires running into a black blob. That used to be your front-end light connector/harness (now corroded). If it is intact, stop here.

3. Remove headlight assembly (optional for more workspace).

4. Remove Battery & Air Box.

5. Get the connector/harness from under the battery box.

6. Get enough wire for 13-wires in total. 11- 18 guage wires, and 2- 16 guage wires (for the main positive and ground). Each wire should be similar in length and about 8"-12" long (so you can avoid putting the wires back under the battery box where they could get damaged again). Color coding is optional, but handy if you don't want to get lost.

7. Clip, strip, and connect (I used solderless connectors) each wire individually if you can to avoid getting them mixed-up. (NOTE: You do not need the connector/harness, and I'm REALLY not sure why they even put it in there... but it is the source of the problem as it is easily corroded).

8. Make sure your connections are sealed well and wrap them up/bind them together with electrical tape for extra protection. Snake tubing, although optional, will also help avoid any future problems. Plus, it looks cool.

9. Put everything back where it should be.

...and before you know it, it's as good as new!

As an after-thought (to everyone else who reads this):

If it's just your high-beams, low-beams, or DRL that are out (just one), start with the DRL relay (in the fuse box). If that's not it, and it's not the DRL, try the multi-function switch (the thing attached to the left of your steering wheel, the headlight switch/cruise control switch). If that's not it, it's probably the problem I've just gone over.

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