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Possessed headlights on 1995 jeep cherokee

Here’s a puzzler: I have a 1995 Jeep Cherokee. Recently, the headlights failed to come on so I replaced the headlight switch. All was well for a week or so, however now the headlights will flicker on and off. This flickering seems to have nothing to do with the switch (I checked the connections) and only starts happening after the headlights have been on for 15 minutes or so. The flickering is not affected by bumps or anything that makes me think it is just a loose connection.

My mechanic thinks it may be the headlight relay, his thoughts being that as the relay heats up a connection is failing to close, but my repair manual says nothing of such a relay nor can I find it in either the relay box under the hood or the relays near the steering wheel.

Any thoughts?

what repair manual do you have? If it is the mfg. published manual this is odd, as headlamp relays are de-rigure on most cars. If it is an after market such as Chiltons, or Haynes then that is par for the course in recent years with them I am sad to say. I vote that your mechanic is right. by the way, what kind of headlamps do you have? If these are the kind with tiny bulbs Halogen how clean and uncorroded are the sockets?

I show a headlight relay for a 95’ Jeep Cherokee. It’s probably under the hood in the fuse/relay panel. Another area to check is your alternator. When it goes bad it can cause your lights to flicker when it’s under a load like idling or the heater fan on high. Dirty headlight or battery connections can also cause this.

Thanks for the reply!

I have the Chiltons manual. The odd thing is none of the labelling I find (in the owners manual or on the diagrams near the other fuses and relays) shows a headlight relay.

As for headlights, I have fairly generic aftermarket replacements for the stock headlights. The connections all seem good.

Would the relay be named something else? I’ve certainly checked the labels. The alternator is an interesting thought. What other symptoms would that give if it were going bad?

Thanks for the reply!

The headlights are protected by a circuit breaker. The breaker on many cars is built into the headlight switch. An overload (or a weak breaker) will cause the lights to go off and on like you describe. When the breaker heats up, the lights go off. When it cools back down, they come back on. You may have gotten a bum switch, or there may be some kind of overload on the system.

Ahh, cool. Ok, I assume I can track the breaker down with my Chilton manual and a multimetre?


It tells me that your new headlight switch (breaker integrated) is also bad.

Like geeaea said, the switch is possibly bad. Or they may have sold you the wrong part for your vehicle.