Blown tail light fuse

Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 PONTIAC VIBE
  • 75,000 MILES
Can the DRL relay on a 2005 Pontiac Vibe cause the tail lamp fuse to blow? The fuse keeps blowing but the headlights come on as expected when you start the car (DRL). Turning the headlights on when the car is off via the stalk also turns on the headlights. The dash light that indicates that the headlights are on at night (as opposed to just the DRL's) does not come on as expected during the dark but, since headlights are on, I can assume that this is still the DRL's active. I pulled all the bulbs, they are good. No changes/modifications have been made to the vehicle. All other fuses are good both under the hood and under the dash. The emergency brake is never used but I pulled it several times because I was aware of the switch there.
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 9:15 PM

17 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Lets start with what is the fuse labeled that is blowing?
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:00 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
It is the 15 amp Tail light fuse located under the dash. I replaced it with another 15 and that also blew. A 20 amp fuse also blew, then against my better judgement, I put in a 30 amp and quickly turned on the lights to see if they worked and they did, that fuse did not blow and I removed it.
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:06 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So it blows the moment you turn on parking/running lights?
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:12 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
Yes, instantly. As soon as I turn the stalk to the first position (parking lights) it blows. I can continue to the second position and that still turns on the headlights (but no parking lights) (with the car off, if I had the car running, the DRL's would be on and I couldn't tell if it was them on or the actual headlights).
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:16 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Usually a instant blowing of the fuse is a dead short on the power side. Do you have a multimeter to do some testing?
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:22 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
Yes
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:23 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Remove the fuse one side of the fuse holder will have power the other side wont. Side that has no power is the side you need to check. Put the multimeter on low ohms scale setting then ground the black lead of the meter. Then use the read lead to check the nonpower side of the fuse holder for a short to ground. Then turn the switch to the on position for the parking lights and see if there is a short to ground.
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Monday, December 12th, 2011 AT 10:37 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
I got a reading of 172.
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 3:57 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Alright some of that can just be reading to ground thru the element of the blubs. There is basicially a few ways to go about this one to tearing apart the whole car looking for the issue.A very timely and not really the best choice. There is also to buy a circuit tracer which is about the best choice you would hook it in where the fuse goes it reads out out on the box if you have a open circuit or short to ground. Then you use the wand to follow the signal which is sent down the wires. Where the signal stops is where the short is or if you were tracing a open it would stop. Then there is the spliting the circuit up into sub circuits with small 5amp fuses and see which fuse pops and then you can narrow down which part of the sub circuit has the short to ground. Then you will have to start tearing the car apart looking for it. Non of the three ways mentioned is going to be easy the easiest way is with the circuit tracer. Which way would you like to try?
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 6:19 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
Since I should only be dealing with the 4 corners of the car, and it is a bare bones Vibe, I'm going to trace the wires back from the bulbs.
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 6:23 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
That fuse power the dash lights radio back inside back lights passenger seat belt warning lamp your plate light it goes from the fuse to the tail light relay and branches off from there.
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 6:36 PM
Tiny
ROBH693
  • MEMBER
Ok, Off to begin.
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 6:38 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Follow the green wire in the diagrams it powers all the back light inside illumation etc. Let me know what you find.
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Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 AT 6:44 PM
Tiny
VMR
  • MEMBER
Hello. I found this conversation (on 3 Jan 18) while troubleshooting my son's car, which has exactly the same problem. I think the signal tracer is the correct approach. However, when I piece the three images of the Vibe schematic together it seems there is a piece missing. Does the GRN wire (tail, park, license plate) go through another connector between the "Right Instrument Panel Junction Block" and the one "Left of Steering Column, Behind Storage Compt"?
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Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 AT 3:07 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hello,

I have found the complete wiring guide for you so you can get the job done. Here is a guide as well.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-wiring

Check out the diagrams (Below)

Please let us know if you need anything else to get the problem fixed.

Cheers, Ken
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Saturday, January 6th, 2018 AT 12:56 PM
Tiny
VMR
  • MEMBER
The Vibe wiring diagrams and troubleshooting suggestions were indispensable to fixing the tail/parking/license plate light problem. I inserted a test light into the fuse circuit as suggested and it allowed us to quickly isolate the section of wiring that was shorted out. The problem was in the supply that went into the hatch after the aft trim panel connector (on left side of vehicle). Also, during the process of removing/replacing the bulbs, we inadvertently damaged the left, front parking light socket. So, we applied your troubleshooting approach twic during the same job. Thanks so much!
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Monday, January 8th, 2018 AT 1:09 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Nice work, we are here to help, please use 2CarPros anytime.

Cheers, Ken
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Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 AT 10:48 AM

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