My neighbor claims my headlights switch on and off in the middle of the night by themselves. Possible?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1982 B210 Datsun which runs very well except for one problem.
Occasionally, at night, my headlights turn on and off by themselves, running
down my battery. I have never seen it happen, but my neighbor insists it is
true. The strange thing is that only the headlights come on, and not the tail
lights. Got any suggestions as to where to look? -- Mike

RAY: Yeah. I'd look at the headlights, Mike.

TOM: More specifically, the headlight relay. The only two things that could
cause this (if we exclude hallucinations on your neighbor's behalf) are the
headlight switch and the headlight relay. And if it were the switch, it would
make the tail lights come on, too. And besides, switches don't usually misbehave
like this.

RAY: But relays do. Replace the headlight relay and your problems should be
solved, Mike. Well, you'll still have an '82 B210, but at least your headlight
problems will be solved!

* * *

RAY: Hey, did you hear that our new pamphlet, "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your
Car Without Even Knowing It," is a million seller!

TOM: That's not what I said, you knucklehead. I said I had a MILLION of them in

RAY:Oh. Well, it still has lots of good information on how to make your car last

TOM: Order your copy of "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even
Knowing It" by sending $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No.10
envelope to Ruin No.1, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ 08077-6420.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One