I am a high school student We recently got an...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am a high school student. We recently got an 84 Caprice Classic in our school shop with a "dome light" problem. This has one of those "delay" lights; when you close the door, this light will stay on until you start the ignition, or until it "times-out." That's the way it SHOULD work. This one has gotten to the point where it will not go completely out. It gets dim, but stays on. My classmates and I are unable to find a wiring diagram or any such guides to help us, and we thought maybe you could steer us in the right direction. Thanks.

RAY: Sure we can. Somewhere, there's a relay timer in this car that controls how long that light stays on and how quickly it decays, Jason. That relay needs to be replaced. Your job, should you choose to accept it; find the relay.

TOM: If I were you, I'd go to your local gas station, and ask to use their "Mitchell's Electric Parts Locator Guide." As the title implies, this book tells you where all those hard-to-find, itty-bitty, teensy-weensy electronic parts are stashed. And it's one of the best books I've ever bought. In fact, I keep an extra copy of it on the night table, right next to my Boat Payment Amortization Guide.

RAY: If you can't get a copy of Mitchell's Locator, then you'll have to find the relay the old fashioned way. You'll have to go out and buy a replacement relay, and then spend the rest of the semester taking the car apart trying to find something that looks just like it.

TOM: And you'd better hope the new relay fixes it. Because if not, you're going to have to look for a bad ground somewhere. That will take you through about your sophomore year in college. Good luck, Jason.

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