Need new headlight switch?

2013 Toyota Camry approx 110k mi.

(?Relevant?) Background:
Lagging/jerking when accelerating from 1st to 2nd gear for a couple weeks

First occurrence:
Car drove fine for majority of the day. Towards end of the day yesterday car turned on fine then turned off when I turned the headlights on. Repeated process and same result. Took keys out and the right fog light was on although my headlights were off. After pumping the gas a bit the third try the car did not turn off when I turned the headlights on and I was able to drive it.

Second occurrence:
30 mins later I was still driving and stopped, but not parked, and my car just completely turned off, started rolling backwards bc it was on a small incline. Brakes were applied and while holding the brakes I tried to turn my car on a few times. Turned car on reversed in a parking area, turned the car off and took keys out. There was a burning smell but no smoke, and my fog lights were now on for both headlight despite the headlights being off. Noticed fluid leaking from bottom when I got out and crouched. I want to say that was from me having the AC on high, but I don’t know.

Mechanic update:
Car started today and was taken to a mechanic. Technician did a diagnostic check on it and said +$500 for new headlight switch. I’m concerned because my main problem is the car turning off randomly.

Is this not an alternator or transmission problem?

There could be other problems lurking, but the symptoms suggest there’s probably some problem with the headlight control circuity, and that could well be a faulty headlight switch. Unless you can get the other drivability behavior to occur consistently enough to make it occur on demand so the shop can see it, your most $$$-friendly approach is probably to follow the shop’s recommendation to replace the headlight switch. If you feel the cost is too high – seems maybe a little on the pricy side, but still within reason — no harm done to check for quotes at other well-recommended shops in your area.

Probably a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher in the car until this is resolved.

The cars BCM may be failing because the fog lights are controlled thru the BCM.

The BCM is located behind the dash.

So you would be able to smell a burning smell if the BCM were failing.


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