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Old 12-02-2012, 09:06 PM   #1
91SHOPlus
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Exclamation Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

I have a 2009 2LT V6 Malibu. About a month and a half ago i noticed that my passenger side low beam headlamp was not working. After finding out that my local Chevy dealer wanted $104 to do the job, i decided not to get it fixed.

All of a sudden about two days after i noticed it not working, it came back to life. Then a day after that, it went out again. This pattern continued until about three weeks ago when I found a body shop that replaced the bulb for $67. The light worked perfectly for three weeks and now it just went out again.

What could this be?? I just replaced the bulb three weeks ago and i cant afford to do it again. A fuse maybe? A short in a wire? I want this problem solved because I do not need to get pulled over for having one headlight because I do travel a lot at night. Thanks for any help.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

sounds like it's more of a wiring harness within the headlight itself. My high beam was doing something similar and it ended up being the wiring harness and unfortunately meant i had to replace the entire light itself :\ however i could be wrong so i would take it to a dealer to have it checked, they will probably check it for pretty cheap and if you can find a nice mechanic that works there he may be able to tell you the problem if you ask him off to the side
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Pop the hood, open the fuse box, then swap the Left and Right relays for the Low Beams. If the issue moves to the other side then it's the relay.

If not, swap the fuses Left to Right. If the issue moves it's the fuse.

If not, or if the issue is resolved, the connection at the relay and/or fuse may have been dirty.

If the issue is still at the same bulb, the wiring from the relay to the headlight is suspect. If you're willing to take apart part of your car you can get the headlight housing out without pulling the entire bumper off, but you'll certainly loosen a lot of it. Remove radiator cover then remove the single bolt inside the front wheel well. There's a hole in the fender liner to remove the bolt that holds the edge of the bumper cover securely. With that out remove the 3 "christmas tree" plastic trim fasteners. Next, up top, lift corner of bumper cover where it meets the fender to un-snap it, then do the same to the edge where it meets the wheel opening. Pull forward gently to reveal the 2 bolts holding the headlight housing (one on radiator support, one on side). Next, push down gently but firmly to "unlock" the housing from the car, then pull forward to remove. Make sure the 2 little "wings" on the bumper cover are no longer engaged with the bottom of the housing.

When reinstalling housing, I just put the front bolt in after getting it installed to the car. I also reinstalled the fender liner bolt to keep the bumper cover secured.

With the housing separated from the car there's a main harness plug clipped to the front inside of the housing. Unplugging it will be the final step to remove the housing from the car. Inspect the terminals and wires on the car harness as well as the housing wiring. Also check to be sure the light is fully plugged in.

To test, plug in the main harness and ensure all bulbs are plugged in, then turn on the low beams. Twist and remove the low beam from the housing (CAUTION! Don't touch the glass!!!) While holding it with one hand use the other to flick the base to introduce a "bump" to the bulb. If the light goes out or flickers the bulb is bad.

Reinsert the bulb into the housing. Now do the wiggle test. (No, don't wiggle your butt! ) Wiggle all the wiring, tap or flick the relays and the fuses.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

@91SHOPlus, since this seems to be more than just the bulb itself which is a maintenance item, I would take the Malibu into the dealership for further diagnostic testing. Under normal circumstances, this would be something covered under the Bumper to Bumper limited warranty.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevrolet Customer Svc View Post
@91SHOPlus, since this seems to be more than just the bulb itself which is a maintenance item, I would take the Malibu into the dealership for further diagnostic testing. Under normal circumstances, this would be something covered under the Bumper to Bumper limited warranty.

Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
Thanks for the info, however I no longer have the bumper to bumper warranty

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivenDaily View Post
Pop the hood, open the fuse box, then swap the Left and Right relays for the Low Beams. If the issue moves to the other side then it's the relay.

If not, swap the fuses Left to Right. If the issue moves it's the fuse.

If not, or if the issue is resolved, the connection at the relay and/or fuse may have been dirty.

If the issue is still at the same bulb, the wiring from the relay to the headlight is suspect. If you're willing to take apart part of your car you can get the headlight housing out without pulling the entire bumper off, but you'll certainly loosen a lot of it. Remove radiator cover then remove the single bolt inside the front wheel well. There's a hole in the fender liner to remove the bolt that holds the edge of the bumper cover securely. With that out remove the 3 "christmas tree" plastic trim fasteners. Next, up top, lift corner of bumper cover where it meets the fender to un-snap it, then do the same to the edge where it meets the wheel opening. Pull forward gently to reveal the 2 bolts holding the headlight housing (one on radiator support, one on side). Next, push down gently but firmly to "unlock" the housing from the car, then pull forward to remove. Make sure the 2 little "wings" on the bumper cover are no longer engaged with the bottom of the housing.

When reinstalling housing, I just put the front bolt in after getting it installed to the car. I also reinstalled the fender liner bolt to keep the bumper cover secured.

With the housing separated from the car there's a main harness plug clipped to the front inside of the housing. Unplugging it will be the final step to remove the housing from the car. Inspect the terminals and wires on the car harness as well as the housing wiring. Also check to be sure the light is fully plugged in.

To test, plug in the main harness and ensure all bulbs are plugged in, then turn on the low beams. Twist and remove the low beam from the housing (CAUTION! Don't touch the glass!!!) While holding it with one hand use the other to flick the base to introduce a"bump" to the bulb. If the light goes out or flickers the bulb is bad.

Reinsert the bulb into the housing. Now do the wiggle test. (No, don't wiggle your butt! ) Wiggle all the wiring, tap or flick the relays and the fuses.
Thanks for the info. I just swapped the fuses and it still doesnt work so i guess it may be the wiring. However, I did have to remove two relays in order to reach the fuse for the headlight, and now when i got in the car my engine light is on. I know for sure that I put the relays back in. Any idea why the engine light came on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreachur View Post
sounds like it's more of a wiring harness within the headlight itself. My high beam was doing something similar and it ended up being the wiring harness and unfortunately meant i had to replace the entire light itself :\ however i could be wrong so i would take it to a dealer to have it checked, they will probably check it for pretty cheap and if you can find a nice mechanic that works there he may be able to tell you the problem if you ask him off to the side
How much did it cost for the headlamp? Im sure its covered under bumper to bumper but unfortunately Im out of warranty now.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Whoever you took it to is just posing as a mechanic. The headlamp circuit is very simple to troubleshoot & the most common point of failure by far is at the harness connector & it's due to corrosion of the metal terminals. It doesn't take much corrosion in a high amperage circuit to create a lot of localized heating & melting of the connector which creates an intermittent lamp before it fails open. A decent mechanic does not just throw a new lamp at it without checking the connections. This almost always requires splicing in a new connector.

And ALWAYS use dielectric silicone on all the connections to prevent corrosion from developing.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Well it turns out that its a short in the wiring. It will cost anywhere between 100-200 to fix. Gosh I swear this car has given me so much trouble lately.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 91SHOPlus View Post
Well it turns out that its a short in the wiring.
Any short would have blown the fuse on that side of the circuit.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenman View Post
Any short would have blown the fuse on that side of the circuit.
Yes, a short would provide a path to ground of your headlight power circuit and the excessive current draw would blow the fuse. Corrision in your headlight connection would cause increased resistance to point where it could not conduct at all and would be referred to as an "open" circuit.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Very Annoying Headlight bulb problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenman View Post
Any short would have blown the fuse on that side of the circuit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by budman65 View Post
Yes, a short would provide a path to ground of your headlight power circuit and the excessive current draw would blow the fuse. Corrision in your headlight connection would cause increased resistance to point where it could not conduct at all and would be referred to as an "open" circuit.
So you guys are saying that if there was a short in my headlight then the fuse for that headlight would be blown also?

I switched the passenger and driver low beam fuses but the problem still stayed on the passenger side.

I was wondering how the guy who looked at it came to that conclusion so quickly. since I know that in order to get to the headlight you have to removed the radiator cover and all that.
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