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Headlights and Dashlights out in Honda CRV 2000


I have a 2000 Honda CRV, standard transmission. Within the last 2-3 months, I have had my battery, starter, and radiator replaced. Three times in the last month, I have turned my car on and the headlights and dashboard lights won’t come on. However, the break lights, blinkers, and other interior lights come on. The first time, I shut the car off and left it over night and the lights all worked in the morning. The second time this happened, I just turned the car lights on and off a few times, and they came back on. When it happened this evening, I tried turning the car and the lights on and off, but no luck. I took the car to a mechanic after it happened the first time. He said that because it wasn’t happening then, it would be really hard to diagnose. Any thoughts? Thank you in advance for any and all help.


If this helps . . . your brake lights, turn signals, hazards and interior lights are on a different circuit than the headlights.
When you say dashboard lights, I’ll assume you mean the instrument cluster backlighting?
The gauges and warning lights still work, correct?

You may simply have a bad headlight switch. I’d get my hands on a wiring diagram, if I were you.

My guess is that it’s the switch as well, sounds like there is just a short there.

Thank you so much for your input. Yes, by dashboard lights, I mean the backlighting that illuminates the gas gauge, etc. And yes, the gauges still work. I’m not sure about the warning lights (like the check engine light). Can you tell me more about what it means to have a bad headlight switch? If there was a short, wouldn’t they just not turn on at all-instead of sometimes not turning on and sometimes turning on?

alust2013, do you mean a short or open?
I think an intermittent open circuit fits the guy’s symptoms better. A short could blow a fuse.

And that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Where is the headlight switch located?
i’d still get my hands on a wiring diagram if I were you.

The trouble is due to a faulty power or ground connection somewhere, not a short. The warning lights are not part of this problem either. There may be a problem within the light switch itself, or an intermittent connection to the dash. Perhaps just moving the connectors to the dash will fix the trouble. Since you say that the other dash lights are working then I would have to think the light switch is ok and the trouble is most likely at the connector to the dash itself.

The headlight switch will either switch power or possibly make a ground connection to turn on the dash lights and the other lights also. It depends on how the circuit is designed.

Check with Honda and have your VIN # handy. I think there is a recall on some Honda vehicles for a faulty headlight switch.

Switch or dimmer.

Thank you all for the comments and diagrams. Any idea how much a new headlight switch should cost? Parts and labor?

Thanks for the data @knfenimore.

I don’t think your problem is with the switch. Looking at the service data, it shows the lights for the heater controls and other things are in parallel with the dash gauge lighting. You stated that the other lights in the dash are working, correct? If that is so then the switch has to be ok since it provides power to all of those things. The trouble is with the supply branch to the gauges. Check the socket connections to the dash. You might fix the trouble by simply removing the connectors and replacing them back again.

Somehow I missed the part about the headlights also not working. Check to see if power is getting to the 7.5 amp instrument fuse when the trouble is occurring. If there is 12 volts on it then the problem is after the fuse.