Question about 1996 Nissan Altima

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Need help identifing if I have a dimmer switch or a relay problem

I have replaced my tail light fuse and I heard a pop and seen smoke and a bad odor coming from the dimmer switch. I did the light test and one wire is not lighting up. So I'm wondering if its a relay problem or if I just need to replace the dimmer switch.

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You have a short somewhere in the wire harness for the tail lights that needs to be fixed first. Start by tracing the wire for the light that doesn't work and follow it back through the car until you find the short. It will probably show as a scorched section. Cut it out and splice in a new piece using connecters and heat shrink tubing. Then wrap the joints with electrical tape. Once that is repaired then check the fuse and replace if necessary. After that the most obvious part that may need to be replaced would be the dimmer switch. Hope this helps.

Posted on Jul 12, 2010


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2003 Pontiac Vibe no tail lights, brake lights and turn signals work just fine. The dimmer switch does not dim the dash lights but does work the dome just fineand the lights for the Heat/AC are off.

The tail lights work off the headlight switch, and there is a fuse for the tail lights. Make sure the fuse is good, first, a 15 amp (blue) fuse in the instrument panel fuse block. Then, you might have a bad headlight switch.
So you DO have dash lights, they just don't dim from the dimmer switch? In the wiring diagram, there is a green wire from a "tail light relay" (in the "Junction Block-Right Instrument Panel") that carries power to all the exterior lamps, as well as having a splice to the Instrument Panel Cluster (illum. bulbs), and to the lamp dimmer, and to the radio bulb.
To do any further testing, you would need a voltmeter or a test light, so you could chase down this power loss. Good luck.

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fuses, check all fuses. 1st.

this car has diffr. path for park/tail lamps (same path as cab lights)

just a switch (park) turns them on, NO RELAYS.

there is a high beam relay marked, dimmer. and

a HL relay (head light ,low beams)

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all answers USA< not canada or? with DRL. so... do post country. or Honda market code, KA is USA.

i always check the HL relay 1st. (lows)

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i always go to the mid point in the circuit. (saves 1/2 the work)

i go to the HL relay; 1 checks here.

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If you already check the dimmer definetly you will have to remove the dashboard area where the indicator is and replace those light bulbs they are tiny so careful and first check your auto parts store for correct number.luck!

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