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Dodge Repair/'97 Neon: headlamps/dash lamps


QUESTION: I have a 1997 dodge neon. My problem is my headlights wont stay on and my dash lights wont either . Sometimes my dash lights will come on but my headlights wont or my headlights will come on but my dash lights wont . Do you have any idea what could cause this to happen ?

ANSWER: Hi Ashley,
When you say 'dash lights', do you mean the illumination lights for the instrument cluster only, or do you mean the cluster lights and other lighting on the dash, or do you mean just the lighting on dash but not the instrument cluster lighting? Know exactly what you mean will help me to give you advice. When this happens, do you try using the headlamp switch again (on-off-on) to fix it or does it just stay with the problem situation until the next time you need the headlamps and then it works right, sometimes.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I wanna say it is the instrument cluster . I try pullin my headlamp switch on and off a lot of times and nothing comes on at all . Sometimes i have all my lights inside the car including headlights but as soon as i hit a bump i loose all my lights inside and my headlights . I can wiggle the knob that controls all my lights and everything will come on or flicker at times .

Hi Ashley,
It sounds like the headlamp switch is having problems with its internal switch contacts of possibly a loose ground wire or plug attached to the switch. So you will want to remove the switch to start.
There is a panel under the dash which runs from the underside of the steering column and over to the left edge which your remove by removing the two screws at the lower edge of the panel and the one screw at the left outward face. Then pull back on the panel to release clips that also hold it in place. Then there is a similar shaped panel liner that is attached by 2 screws on the upper edge of the panel and the lower left corner, so remove that. You will then see the switch is held in place by three screws that go through its mounting plate and hold it to the dash panel. Remove those screws and pull the switch and its wiring carefully out of the panel.
Now you have a couple of choices. One would be to buy a spray can of electronic contact cleaner at an electronics store any use the straw attachment to spray contact cleaner inside of the switch through any accessible crack or holes in it. Then try the switch on-off many times to see if internal corrosion material had been cleaned off the contact or not so the switch now operates normally. If not, then then if you had a ohmmeter or continuity tester I can tell you how to test the switch contact to verify that those are the problem. Or you could just buy a replacement switch at a dealer parts counter or get it from a wrecking yard. I can describe how to remove the switch from the mounting plate in a follow-up question and answer.
Thanks for the rating and nomination. If you would be so kind as to do that again I would be most appreciative.

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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