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Flickering Lights

Q. Mr. Ciulla, My car's interior, dash, and headlights are not consistent. They are not flashing on and off, but they are not steady after car is started. I thought it might be a loose connection on the light switch inside the dash that controls the lights as well as the interior lights, but after removing, cleaning and checking the wiring harness on the back of the switch the problem was not resolved.

The vehicle is factory equipped with the automatic headlights. I do not feel that it is a faulty voltage regulator/ alternator, since there are no other problems with the vehicle, and gas mileage is normal. The battery does not seem to be producing any excessive heat. Cold winter starts are also not a problem. I hope that there are other alternatives other than taking the car to a dealer to figure it all out for an insane amount of money per hour.

The problem is elusive and does not quite interfere with normal operation, it is an annoyance, but it might be an indicator that some thing else is going wrong. We have a vacation planned soon and would like to address the problem as soon as possible.

Thanks,
Ted

A. This condition usually occurs when you have a weak battery. If the alternator and voltage regulator checks out okay, then a battery load test should be the next thing to do. If it is borderline bad, then that's the cause of the brightening and dimming. Replacing the battery should correct the condition.

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