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Headlights won't shut off even when switch and ignition are off.

- Ford-ExplorerPage 1Page 2

This forum post has messages dated from 01/17/09 through 07/06/12, please be sure to read all the messages. If you feel it is old or outdated, please follow up with a question or comment and someone may be able to update it, or reply with newer information if you have it.

Forum Post
01/17/09 11:34
Fred Ferrell

Headlights won't shut off even when switch and ignition are off.

My headlights on my 2001 Ford Explorer are now continuously on while the switch is off and the ignition is off with the keys out. The only way I can shut them off is by pulling the "Parklamps Relay and Main Light Switch" fuse. I unplugged both the main light switch and the automatic light sensor, but it didn't work when I put the fuse back in.

Any recommendations?


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I had the same problem. I solved it by moving the button that is on your rearview mirror to off and it doesn't stay on at all. I had accidently hit mine one day and they stayed on like yours. I hope this helps.
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Do your daytime running lights work while the vehicle is running? If not, your DRL (Daytime Running Lights)module is dead, just remove the fuse from the panel under the hood and you're good to go (without daytime running lights of course). You will still have headlights though.
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dr ford

try changing from dimm to bright or bright to dim this solved it for me
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Richard Rehm

I have the same problem with headlights staying on, but also the interior light and air bag light on dash say on with a clicking noise coming from somewhere by firewall on my 2003 Town Car. I have to unhook the ground cable to keep battery from running down!

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Richard Rehm

The headlights and interior lights stay on all of the time, even with key out on 2003 Town Car. There is also a clicking noise down by the brake similar to a 4-way blinker. I have to remove negative cable to prevent battery from going dead. The trunk ajar and air bag light is on too! Automatic trunk started slowing down and then quit about a month ago! Is this related to the light problem?
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James Daniels

I have the exact same problem with my 2001 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer version. I have been trying to troubleshoot the problem and have not figured it out yet. I even posted a brief summary of everything I have tried on Craigslist.

Okay, issues are with a 2001 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition 4.0L V6. Symptoms, not sure if all related problems or not are as follows: (1) 2 weeks ago the LED on the CD player started going dim where I could barely read the display and then cut out completely, though the cd player still works, (2) the auto dimmer built into the rear view mirror used to light up with 2 green LED lights when turned on, it now no longer does so, (3) the headlights stay on even after the car is turned off and it does not have daylight running lights--this could be related to the auto dimmer as when it is turned on the lights do not turn off for 3 minutes after the car has been turned off. Solutions attempted: I tested the fuses to see if one was burnt out or possibly one of the relay switches, all of them are in working order; I replaced the combo switch, no help; I replaced the dimmer and headlight switch--no help there; I got a different rearview mirror from spaldings to another Ford Explorer that also has the auto dimmer, connected it to the wires connecting the one I already had (the wires are getting power) but the other mirror's auto dimming LED lights would not turn on either. Temporary fix: ok, so I pulled the fuse from the main circuit box under the hood that controls the main lights, the headlights finally turned off on their own. Strangely enough, the switch for the headlights in the car is now able to turn them on and off, however, a new problem comes from this: no tail lights. So, I need this to be plugged in otherwise without brake lights I could get in trouble driving the explorer. Help!

Have you discovered what your problem is yet? If so, if you could give me an y ideas on what else to do to troubleshoot this would be awesome!

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James Daniels

Ok, just following up in case anyone else has these same problems and is reading online to find some answers. I still have not resolved the issue, but these are some additional things I have attempted: (1) I replaced the multi-function switch--no help, (2) I found out from some people online that it could be a problem with the anti-theft device--they suggested I disconnect the battery for 30min, manually lock all the doors, reconnect the battery and turn the key right-left, right-left in the driver door to reset the system--didn't work, (3) at the moment I am tearing apart the dashboard and going to replace the lighting module or body module. In fact, I have a bunch of modules to try since the Hanes Manual for the ford 2001 Explorer is not only horribly lacking for wiring schematics but is nearly useless for a 2001 ford explorer, not to mention an Eddie Bauer with all the options. So suggestion for those out there, do not buy the Hanes manual, instead get a Chilton's.....
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hugo heredia

i had this same problem and i took my car apart and i found the wires that go to the rearview mirror shorter out right on top where they enter the headliner because the person that changed out my windshield used a tool to remove the windshield and accidentaly slashed my wires and shorted them out so my short were in between the mirror dimmer wires remove your roof console and and strip the wires and check for the short i know alot of people have this problem and i was told to disconnect my daytime running light control module but my explorer doesnt have this located by the driver side bumper so i had to look deeper and found this problem solved (peace out )
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Reggie Philip

I also have a problem with the headlights on a 2001 Ford Windstar SEL not turing off. Also had to disconnect the battery (-) terminal to prevent battery death.

I have not read any tips that seem plausible.

Is there any help out there or must I go to the dealer and unilaterally solve this recession?

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After I turned off the delay timer switch on the rearview mirror, then disconnected and reconnected the wire pack to it, the running lights went off.
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Hey I just had the same problem (lights not going out)wth my 1995 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer. I tried everything I could think of and then I read the posts and tried taking out the VRL (daytime running lights) fuse and it solved my problem. Thanks!
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I have a 1998 Ford Explorer and my daytime running lights will not shut off. We have taken out the fuse from both the inside panel and the one under the hood. They are still on. Any other suggestions? I do not have a rear view mirror light.
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Doc Holliday

I have the same problem. Turn off truck (F150 2003) and turn light switch off. Lights do not go off and I also have no dash lights and no tail lights. Blinkers and brake lights are OK.

Go under the dash and find the main headlamp fuse. (mine is #6) and it might be blown. 15 amp fuse. Maybe I have a short somewhere in my trailer lights. It does this every so often but I haven't found the short. It will go for a while after I replace #6.

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I have a 2003 F150 that was having the same problems with the headlights not shutting off and blowing the fuse for the instrumentation panel as well as the tail lights and front marker lights. I spent the weekend pulling all lights out of the vehicle and disconnection the wiring harnesses. I finall found the problem in the brake controller wiring harness located directly below the steering wheel near where your right knee would be. I hope that this is helpfull to someone.
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Johhny Castellano

Hi guys have a 1995 Ford Explorer Limited my Auto Diming rear view mirror came off the windshield and fell on to the floor board in three pieces for the life of me I can't figure out how to put it back together and install it . I can't figure how to connect the six inch plastic thats comes down from the top of the windshield and suppose to connect to the mirror, is there anyone with pics that show how it should look or instructions with pics how to put it back together and install it any help will be greatly appreciated.
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Nick Cassidy

Hey guys, just ran in to the same problem with my '99 f150. Headlights wouldn't go off, no rear running lights, no dash lights. Checked fuses 3 (Headlamps/Autolamps), 6 (Parklamps/Autolamps) & 9 (Daytime Running Lamps (DRL), Fog Lamps) under the hood. Pull all 3 fuses and check to see which one's blown. In my case 3 and 9 were fine & 6 was blown. Pulling and replacing 3 turned off the lights. Gotta replace 6 tomorrow so for now I've got 9 in the 3 position and no fog lamps. Hope this helps.


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i have the same problem but its with my back lights, they wont turn off while im driving and it looks like im stepping on the break when im really not, any suggestions on how to fix this problem? thanks
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In my 2001 F-150 Supercrew 4x4, wiring harness under dash (see Shane's post) was it. Not sure why, thinking it was caused by my after market trailer braking system install. Over time, wires pulling on each other per the brake arm movement pulled them too tight.
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joe McD

Have a 2000 F150 Lightning and fog lights will not turn off. I have taken the key out of the ignition and try many different attempts to turn the lights off. I have also noticed that the Ac will still work with out even turning or haveing a key in the ignition... does anybody have any suggestions?
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Curtis Bedard

I have a problem with my running lights remaining on in my 1996 Ford Taurus GL sedan. I tried reaetting the battery overnight checking fuses. Testing all switches and lights still remain on. My battery was drained once so now I have to unplug the negative battery cable just so I dončt have to get it boosted again. If anyone could help let me know please.
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my head lights dont turn off 97 windstar
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my head lights wont turn off what can i do i put new switch and relay nothing yet i was told is a computer for head lights but where do i find
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Same on my 2003 Limited. High beams on no matter what. Stuck High beam relay in position 49. I took it out and whacket it a few times and that so far has fixed it. If it sticks again then its replacement time.
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Jaysus!!! (As they say in Ireland and meant most respectfully.) Gord is a jaynius! I tried pulling the #30 fuse (DRL) with no resolution to the "Bright Lights on all the time regardless of the ignition switch and light switch." I disconnected and reconnected the brake wiring harness as recommended by Shane, I turned off the rearview mirror dimming system also as recommended above with no success. Then, I took Gord's recommendation and took out the #49, High beam relay and "whacket" it a few times. I don't know how Gord "whacket" it but Webster says that whack is "to strike or slap with a sharp, resounding blow." I held the relay between my thumb and forefinger and smacked it twice on each side on the sharp edge nearest the underhood relays and reinstalled. Glory be, it worked. Thank you Gord for taking the time to come back here and educating all of us. Mine is a 2003 Eddie Bauer purchased a year old off Ebay but then, that's another story. Thank you to all who contribute to this site. You're the best.


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    Ford Explorer 'Headlights won't shut off even when switch and ignition are off.'