1998 Chevrolet Cavailer, No Low Beam Headlights

This 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier came in with the complaint of no low beam headlights. A quick check at the low beam headlight connector found that the ground signal from the dimmer switch on the dark blue wire was missing. I looked at the wiring under the battery tray and there was no sign of acid damage so I went inside to inspect the combination switch. The upper steering column cover unsnaps at the edge nearest the steering wheel. It will then pull up and rotate out of the rear alignment pins.

A few screws attach the lower cover to the steering column

The key has to be removed from the lock cylinder and the lower cover can be wiggled past the lock cylinder itself and removed.

Using a small wrench the screws for the combination switch can be removed. A small screw driver can be used to depress the retaining clips that hold the harnesses to the switch.

The back side of the switch.

The headlight connector for the combination switch. Can you see the burnt terminal? Double click on the picture below to enlarge.

Jump terminals “C” dark blue wire to terminal “E” black wire to check low beam operation. The low beam lights on this car came on.

Perform a drag test on the terminals to see if the spring tensions is weak. Terminal “C” was very weak.

Using an appropriate tool release the terminal locking tab through the indention in the plastic. The locking comb in the rear of the connector will also have to be released using the same tool or a small screwdriver.

The terminal is now free and if you enlarge the picture below you will see that the wire has been heated to the point that the blue color has turned black. the terminal and some of the wire will need to be replaced.

Splice in the new wire with terminal attached.

Apply heat to the dual wall heat shrink tubing.

Insert the terminal into the connector until it seats (click can be heard) and install the locking comb in the rear of the connector. Fold the wire back into the harness and start reassembling.

5 discussions on “1998 Chevrolet Cavailer, No Low Beam Headlights”

  1. Hey Sparky,
    I have a 2005 Cavalier that the speedo and tach gauges sometime work sometimes do not give the true speed or RPMs what can I do to repair this issue? thanks Mike D

  2. Terminal “C” needs to be checked to see if there is bleed through power on it. If there is no power check the bulbs, the fuses and the large harness connector under the battery tray. Terminal “E” should have a ground at all times.

  3. Thank you for an excellent tutorial. Having this problem with my car (same make and model). Sadly after a couple of hours at night in the snow I could not fixed it yet. I didn’t test the high beam ground, will try that tomorrow that should let me know if the switch is bad or something else. Thank you again.

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