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Scion tC 1G ICE & Interior In-car entertainment and electronics...

Help! my headlights turn themselves on

Old 12-09-2009, 04:36 PM
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Default Help! my headlights turn themselves on

I have a 2007 Scion. i noticed now that its starting to get cold overnight, i wake up and my headlights are on. the headlight switch is clearly off so its not a user error. i took it to a couple dealerships and one place says its the headlight on/off switch. another says its the relay.... well, which one is it? electrical parts are not returnable so i dont want to waste money on buying both parts. please help!
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:37 PM
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Its a ghost.

I'd recommend you calling these guys.

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Old 12-09-2009, 04:39 PM
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:50 PM
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well when ever u go inside for the night take out the relay
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:57 PM
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go to a junk yard and find a tc and get the relay and on/off switch for half of what youll pay for one at the dealer
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:49 PM
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It's not surprising that 2 dealerships would cite different causes, as this is truly a strange issue. I don't think there's anything in the service manual's trobleshooting section for the condition "headlights off, engine off, then headlights magically come on by themselves some hours later". Fixes for things like this are often difficult, as you usually can't track down what might be an intermittent short (which can take forever at $$$/hr.), so most places just remove & replace the most likely parts one at a time until the solution is found.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:32 PM
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Set up a video camera on the inside of the car and have it record all night. In the morning, go turn off your head lights and retrieve the camera and watch through the video, paying close attention around 3:00am. Repeat this process nightly so you can catch the activity on tape to show to the techs at the dealership. If the camera alone doesn't seem to be working, try spreading some talcum powder all over the inside of your car.

Once you have caught the problem on tape, you are going to lose the use of your glovebox and possibly the center console as well. Don't go into the glovebox. I repeat, DO NOT GO INTO THE GLOVEBOX. You really won't like what you find in there. Ok? It will probably be something that seems innocuous at first, like an old paid off ticket, but will quickly become extremely horrifying and problematic.

After that, windows may start rolling up and down or breaking. Radio presets will change and you car may even drive itself over to another car and idle for hours. It's headlights blankly gazing at the peacefully slumbering Mustang at the other end of the parking lot. These bizarre occurances will increase in regularity and violence until the car eventually kills you and sniff your corpse.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by captainlaziness View Post
Set up a video camera on the inside of the car and have it record all night. In the morning, go turn off your head lights and retrieve the camera and watch through the video, paying close attention around 3:00am. Repeat this process nightly so you can catch the activity on tape to show to the techs at the dealership. If the camera alone doesn't seem to be working, try spreading some talcum powder all over the inside of your car.

Once you have caught the problem on tape, you are going to lose the use of your glovebox and possibly the center console as well. Don't go into the glovebox. I repeat, DO NOT GO INTO THE GLOVEBOX. You really won't like what you find in there. Ok? It will probably be something that seems innocuous at first, like an old paid off ticket, but will quickly become extremely horrifying and problematic.

After that, windows may start rolling up and down or breaking. Radio presets will change and you car may even drive itself over to another car and idle for hours. It's headlights blankly gazing at the peacefully slumbering Mustang at the other end of the parking lot. These bizarre occurances will increase in regularity and violence until the car eventually kills you and sniff your corpse.

RUN _____ RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nodsetse View Post
It's not surprising that 2 dealerships would cite different causes, as this is truly a strange issue. I don't think there's anything in the service manual's trobleshooting section for the condition "headlights off, engine off, then headlights magically come on by themselves some hours later". Fixes for things like this are often difficult, as you usually can't track down what might be an intermittent short (which can take forever at $$$/hr.), so most places just remove & replace the most likely parts one at a time until the solution is found.

Except that a good, experienced mechanic knows how to troublehsoot past a service manual ;) A lot of dealer techs unfortunately know how to read a service manual and replace parts, not how to properly troubleshoot. Not all are like that of course.. but lots are. And their labor rates are so butt raping high that it tends to pay off to replace the parts first

As I answered on your thread on ystc, go to a private mechanic with a lot of experience. Usually lower labor rates as well.

If it were mine... I would do the following, especially if it happens on its own fairly regularly.

1) Disconnect power to the multi-function (Aka headlight) switch.
2) See if problem occurs again overnight.

If it does, the relay, or at least something down the line from the switch, is at fault.

Doesnt necessarily mean it is the relay either if there is an intermittent short.. but it keeps you from buying a headlight switch you dont need. Next step would be to inspect the wiring to the coil on the relay to look for any sort of chance of a short (although that would probably happen over bumps and such as well) before blaming the relay.

I have seen things happen like this in the cold before.. tended to be the relay before the switch.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by captainlaziness View Post
Set up a video camera on the inside of the car and have it record all night.


Why not a warranty issue?
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by engifineer View Post
Except that a good, experienced mechanic knows how to troublehsoot past a service manual ;) A lot of dealer techs unfortunately know how to read a service manual and replace parts, not how to properly troubleshoot. Not all are like that of course.. but lots are. And their labor rates are so butt raping high that it tends to pay off to replace the parts first

As I answered on your thread on ystc, go to a private mechanic with a lot of experience. Usually lower labor rates as well.

If it were mine... I would do the following, especially if it happens on its own fairly regularly.

1) Disconnect power to the multi-function (Aka headlight) switch.
2) See if problem occurs again overnight.

If it does, the relay, or at least something down the line from the switch, is at fault.

Doesnt necessarily mean it is the relay either if there is an intermittent short.. but it keeps you from buying a headlight switch you dont need. Next step would be to inspect the wiring to the coil on the relay to look for any sort of chance of a short (although that would probably happen over bumps and such as well) before blaming the relay.

I have seen things happen like this in the cold before.. tended to be the relay before the switch.
Thank you, got it fixed.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Just_Thu View Post
Thank you, got it fixed.
so what was it? the relay and if so, which one?
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sciontc_mich View Post
so what was it? the relay and if so, which one?
It was the relay for my HID. Water got to it.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:23 AM
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^^ hey thanks.. glad you got it fixed!

Last edited by sciontc_mich; 12-12-2009 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:12 PM
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For future reference, you should mention modifications to the system when you are looking for help on an issue. Had you mentioned it had aftermarket HID's, then that would have been one of the first things we would have said to look at.

Glad you got it fixed.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:12 PM
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yea, did that.
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Old 02-27-2019, 04:22 AM
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Default Ghost Headlights

Originally Posted by Just_Thu View Post
I have a 2007 Scion. i noticed now that its starting to get cold overnight, i wake up and my headlights are on. the headlight switch is clearly off so its not a user error. i took it to a couple dealerships and one place says its the headlight on/off switch. another says its the relay.... well, which one is it? electrical parts are not returnable so i dont want to waste money on buying both parts. please help!
Hi, just came across this. I'm having the same issue on an 06 xB. Did u fix the issue? This is bizarre. I was trippin when I just got out of my car at the store. I thought I had amnesia and forgot how to turn my lights off.
Then discovered I kinda had to mess and push them past the dots to turn off and on. Get home turn off come outside and they are on with the switch clearly off inside. I hope you can see and respond.

______

Last edited by MR_LUV; 02-27-2019 at 08:17 AM.
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