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sounds like the headlight switch is defective and needs replacing,but you need to check to make sure the rod that the switch pushes against if make the full travel and not short as this will not allow the switch to change from low beam to high beam.if the rod is travelling the full length then the switch is no good.you should also hear a click when moving the arm to go from low to high if not then the switch is bad.by holding the lever at a certain position to get the high beams to work this also indicates a switch problem.
have you tried another headlight switch?another thing to check are the grounds and the headlight sockets.turn the headlights on and move wires around.you would be surprised at thing you do an old fashion wiggle test.i'm a 25+ year automotive diagnostic and smog tech.
if the high beams function when holding the passing lever, you know the bulbs and fuses are good, the bulbs do operate. the passing lever bypasses the headlight switch on the dash. replace the headlight switch, and be prepared to also replace the connector for this switch, since they had a tendency to melt.
The vehicle should not have to be running for head lights to burn.If high beams work,then the low beam head lights could be burned out,even though they light up with high beams.The dimmer switch,can be the problem if the head lights only work on high beam.
what switch did yoiu replace??? the power goes from the headlight switch then to the hi-lo beam switch and out to the bulbs. did you ck the bulbs?? they could both be burned out. The mechanic should not change anything until tests have been performed and the component that is at fault found. sounds like a parts changer.
Do your high beams work? The problem could be your turn signal/high beam switch. If the lights come on when you use the high beams replace this switch. It is available at most autoparts stores. Not a diffucult repair probably under two hours.