CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How do you turn off the headlights?!

Wife has an 02 Chevy Venture with daytime running lights and lights that automatically come on at night? There’s a standard light switch to the left of the steering wheel but it’s no good to turn them off when they’re on already. The owner’s manual is no use. We drove through a light show at Christmastime and I’m sure the people behind were not happy.

For something like a light show, black construction paper and tape would do the trick if you can’t find a way to turn the lights off.

Ferret Man, Why Are You Sure People Weren’t Happy With Your Driving In Light Snow At Christmas Time ?

On cars equipped with DRLs turn the headlight switch to “off”. Only the highbeams (on lower power than normal) will be illuminted unless it is dark enough outside that front and rear lights should be in use and then a sensor turns on all exterior lights.

I have these on my Pontiac and find them to be one of my favorite features. I can not think of a safer set-up for headlights.

Many people don’t turn on any lights when it’s twilight or dark and rainy / snowy during the day even though it’s the law in many (most ?) states. If I forget, my car remembers.

CSA

Lion9Car, Do You Mean To Tape Paper Over The Taillights ?

Covering the sensor turns on all the lights. Illuminating the sensor turns off all lights except highbeams on reduced power.

CSA

Some cars have DRLs that light up the low beams instead of the high beams. My understanding is that these cars must (by law) have automatic headlights at night, and that there is no way for the driver to turn them off at night. They have a manual switch that allows them to turn on full headlights during the day, but no way to turn them off at night.

Tardis, With The Consideration Of Low Beams DRLs Vs. Reduced Powered High Beam DRLs, You’ve Pretty Well Summed Up The Operation Of My DLRs.

They go off when the ignition switch is turned off or I suppose one could stand a small flashlight on the sensor. I’ve not had a reason to turn mine off.

The only light switches I ever touch are the high beam / low beam, turn signal, and fog light switches. By the way, turning on the fog lights illuminates all exterior lights. It’s a see and be seen thing.

State law for me requires lights a half hour after sunrise and a half hour before sunset, in darkness, and in reduded visibility (rain, snow, fog, etcetera). The DRLs have me covered.
CSA

We were driving through a Christmas light SHOW, with big signs at the entrance saying to turn off your headlights and we were the only jerks with our lights on. I’m sure the people in front of us were not happy.

I read somewhere else you can just take out the fuse marked DRL and your headlights revert to the old standard of off/on controlled by the driver. Is this the case?

If you have a dome light override switch, push it four times, a chime will sound and the lights will go off. My 02 pickup has one.

On my 97 Explorer the auto lamps module in the rear view mirror s enses darkness & grounds the voltage from the headlight & running lights relays. The relays close & turn on the lights. Simple as that.

Sounds like your autolamps sensor is hung up in night time mode.

Or if the sensor is on the dash make sure nothing is covering it.

To understand how your auto lamps work a quick look at a GOOD set of wiring diagrams is all you need. The wiring diagrams in a Haynes or Chiltons dont count.

Sorry, Ferret Man. That Makes Sense When I Read It Correctly. Light SHOW, Not Light Snow.

CSA

Is this a DRL problem or are the headlights AND running lights coming on (autolamps problem)

PleaseDodgeVan2, Is the P/U A GM ?

Mr. Obvious question . . . Do you push four times to re-activate DRLs ?

CSA

87 Ranger, I Think Ferret Man’s Lights Are Working As Designed, Not Broken.

He just wants to be able to over-ride the system so he can turn off the headlights while the car is moving (like in the dark at a light show or drive-in movie theater or robbery) . The system is designed to always operate headlights or DRLs when the car is running and not in park.

CSA

Light SHOW, Not Light Snow.

I read it the same way. :slight_smile:

Some US made cars may have a Euro switch available, that will allow you to turn off the head lights. Those switches allow for more driver control. I got one for my car so I could turn off the head lamps when the fog came in when driving to work early in the morning. With the head lights on, the fog lights did little good. Getting the head lights off made a really big difference.

OOPS, guess i was way off base on this one.

Thanks for the heads up CSA.

Yes, pull the fuse…

Pleasedodgevan2 is correct. If you have a dome light override switch, push it four times, a chime will sound and the lights will go off. My 02 pickup has one.
I’m surprised your owners manual doesn’t have this info. Mine does. Post back and let us know if this works. The other way to do it is to turn off the ignition and apply the parking brake one click, or just enough to make the BRAKE light illuminate then restart the car and the day runners will not turn on until the parking break is fully released. I have used both methods at the drive-in movies on cold nights.

you caught me, csa. i’m planning a robbery in my wife’s minivan.

It’s a GMC Sierra. I shut them off whenever it seems like I don’t want them on.