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Electrical mystery: tail lights stay on

My otherwise exemplary 1997 Suburu Impreza has 3 electrical problems, possibly connected. 1. Years ago, the hatchback ceased locking automatically when I locked the drivers door. 2. For months now, sometimes the clock light stays on after the car is turned off, but jiggling the rubber conduit at the top of the hatchback makes it go off. 3. Last night, when I parked and turned the lights then the car off, the tail lights and front clearance lights stayed on. No amount of fiddling with the light switch or ignition switch helped, and I took the fuse out to turn those lights off. I live in the country, maybe not the best place to find a mechanic skilled in electrical issues. I’d appreciate any suggestions on how to track down the offending wire or switch or dodad. Thanks! Jan, Colorado

You have a short to ground in the circuit. Could be internal to the brakelight switch at the brake pedal lever or between that and the lights. The switch provides a ground to the circuit, but if the circuit is grounded before it even gets there…

If my guess is correct it may be easier to string a new wire than to try to find the short.

Open up that conduit that you jiggled and inspect.

The parking light problem is easy. You have touched the virgin switch. Check the switch on top of the steering column and turn it off.

The other problem sounds like broken wires in the flexable area to the hatch. You are going to have to get into the roof liner and repair the wires. I would splice in some wires used for aircraft in the areas that need to flex. They are very high quality and flexable.

I do not know these cars but have found looking for the simplest solution is the best. Do you recall before the trouble if when you lifted the hatch any lights went on as a safety feature? If they did that may account for the clock brightness, as I am with oldschool that looking at the wires that go to the tailgate is the place to start ( what you jiggled). There is probably a mechanical switch or two you can check for proper operation by working manually with the taigate open. I would suspect broken wires, bad connections and maybe a bad switch that you can check manually with the tailgate open.

My relief at learning this easy solution to the parking light problem is exceeded only by my embarrassment at not figuring it out for myself! Thanks so much.

I haven’t tackled the problem at the other end of the car yet, but your suggestions are very clear and logical, and I’m encouraged to dive in. Thanks again!

Will do for the longer standing problems. Thank you!

Thank you for your input. I’ve been reluctant to open up the conduit,- there’s not much that is accessible- but that seems to be the consensus, so I’ll give it a try!

Happily, the tail light problem was easily solved (see Cougar’s suggestion below).
But the general idea of stringing a new wire being easier than finding the short is a good one to keep in mind as I tackle the rest of the problems. Thank you!

Don’t feel bad about missing that switch. You would not believe how many Soob owners that has happened to. It’s a very common mistake. Your not a virgin anymore now though.

OK, I can live with that! Thanks again.