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Brights and right front turning signal not working

I have a 99 Camry and have two issues:

  1. the brights don’t work. After doing some research, I reached the conclusion that it is the dimmer relay (This solved it for someone else), however I noticed that upon unplugging the relay, the regular headlights don’t work until I plug it back in. Does this mean the relay is good, or is it just that the car is set up in such a way that if the relay isn’t there, working or not, the lights won’t come on? I know you can test it with a voltmeter, but I don’t have one and the relay doesn’t have a wiring diagram on it, so I’m not sure which two of the four plugs you’d use to test it. Worst case, I’ll buy one off ebay and just send it back of it doesn’t work, I just wanted to ask before I did that.

  2. The front, right turn signal does not work. I tried a new bulb, that didn’t help. The rear right signal works fine. I was told to try using tweezers to pull out the tabs in the socket in case one was stuck somehow and not making contact, but that didn’t help. Did some research, but this is apparently a fairly rare issue. Someone suggested I get a metal file and file off the tabs to remove corrosion, so I wanted to get a second opinion on that, plus I’m not sure how to go about doing that. There is no easy way to pull the socket out, far as I can tell (unlike the headlights), though I suppose I could try without undoing anything if I really had to. Also any other suggestions on what could be causing this would be appreciated.

Its also worth noting that despite the light hardly working since I put the new one in (there was a time when I had to twist and jiggle the bulb a bit and it would come back on, both with this and the old bulb), there is some corrosion on the bulb and on the tabs. This might be because the cover is gone on the turn signal, but my last camry was also missing it and it was fine for the 2 or 3 years I had it.

A pencil eraser is good for removing small amounts of corrosion from bulb contacts. Large amounts, you need a new socket.

A DVM costs only $10…

If the front right turn signal is missing its’ lens, this is an invitation for corrosion to form between the bulb and socket. This results in a poor connection.

The headlights won’t work if you unplug the headlight relay.

What controls the headlights from switching from low beam to high beam is the combination switch.


Headlight bulbs usually have two filaments, one for dim and one for bright. The bright filament uses more power so it gets hotter and burns out faster. Its quite possible you simply have two headlights with burned out bright filaments. That would explain why the brights don’t work but the dims to continue to work. Suggest to consider that as the most likely explanation, rather than your guess, replacing the relay, or Tester’s guess, replacing the combination switch.

One method is just buy two new headlight bulbs and see if that fixes the problem. The way I’d do it though, to prevent purchasing new bulbs only to find that didn’t fix the problem, is first remove the existing bulbs and measure the resistance of their filaments. Good filaments measure in the 1 to 10 ohm range.

The trouble is most likely somewhere in the wiring to the light or the socket itself. Do yourself a favor and at least purchase a test light probe so you can check where power is getting to. Any parts store will have one and they are not expensive to purchase.

Mine uses separate bulbs for low & high beams. This one uses one bulb.

The directional being broken allows corrosion in not only the socket, but also the plug behind the socket.

This link will take you to a good source for replacement parts.

I already replaced both bulbs, that didn’t fix it. As for the switch, it doesn’t seem to have any problems, in that when I try to turn the brights on, the indicator for it comes up on the dashboard. And everything else works fine in regards to the switch. Is it possible that thats still the issue even if the indicator is coming on?

Check the plugs behind the sockets. Remember that you’re looking for corrosion.

Also whats a DVM? And could I replace the socket myself? I’m looking to avoid a costly repair at all costs, my mechanical knowledge isn’t great but I can do basic stuff. If all I’d need is to cut a wire at the back of the socket and strip them, then attach to a new socket I think I could do that. Beyond that…I’m sure thats why someone on another board recommended filing the corrosion off the contacts.

I just don’t get why its an issue now. I had the exact same car for years and it was also missing the light cover and I never had any issues (I traded it in for the same make and model because it had a slipping transmission and I couldn’t afford anything newer/better)

DVM = Digital Voltmeter. Digital refers to the readout (in numbers rather than a needle, which would be “analog”) and Voltmeter is obvious… you’re looking for the presence of voltage at key places in the circuit. The idea is to start from the bulb socket, where the voltage is missing, and work back toward the power source. The point where you find the missing voltage is where the “open” is in the circuit.

If you’re unfamiliar with electronics, it might make sense to hook up with a friend who is, or even to have a shop that deals in automotive electrical systems fix it. Although this one is a pretty simple problem for any shop with basic electrical knowledge, so if you have a trusted mechanic he should be able to solve it.

Having a missing lens on a lighting module is not a guarantee that it will become corroded, but it tremendously increases the odds that it will. You need to look for corrosion. You could also get a can of “contact cleaner” and wash out the sockets and contacts. Although that’s not technically for corrosion, it usually works well.

I noticed that upon unplugging the relay, the regular headlights don't work until I plug it back in. Does this mean the relay is good, or is it just that the car is set up in such a way that if the relay isn't there, working or not, the lights won't come on?

Do you have daytime running lights that utilize the high beams? If so, the relay setup can get complicated. Your idea to try a new relay is good.

Does this car have Daytime Running lights? Can you turn on the headlight switch and bypass the DRL and see if the lights work. The DRL circuit could be bad. There is a Dim relay that you could swap to see if it fixes it.

I don’t believe a '99 Camry has DRLs.

My 99 does.

OP, have you checked the two headlight fuses? Re: diagram posted by knfenimore above.


The wiring diagram posted does not show the complete headlight circuit.

I have access to factory diagram which shows the entire circuit.

If either of those two fuses blows, you wouldn’t have low or high beam on that side.