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Old 10-17-2014, 04:28 PM   #1
DiG3
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Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

85,000 miles.

The dashboard lights and headlights will randomly turn off and back on for a split second, sometimes even 2-3 times in a small amount of time. The engine does not appear to lose power and the radio stays on as well.

What could it be?
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Old 10-18-2014, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

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85,000 miles.

The dashboard lights and headlights will randomly turn off and back on for a split second, sometimes even 2-3 times in a small amount of time. The engine does not appear to lose power and the radio stays on as well.

What could it be?
If you have automatic headlights, I'd start by replacing the ambient light sensor (AKA automatic headlamp sensor or twilight sensor; part number 22724772) located on the top left side of the dash near the windshield defroster vents. This sensor is relatively cheap at about ~$30 (US) and pretty easy to replace so I think that's a good place to start.

If you have a manual transmission, I might also suspect a bad park/emergency brake switch (part number 22654577). If your brake warning light doesn't ever come on and you don't hear the chime while the car is in motion, you can rule this out. Even if bought from the stealership, this switch costs about $6 (US).
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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Re: Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

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Originally Posted by Ruley73 View Post
If you have automatic headlights, I'd start by replacing the ambient light sensor (AKA automatic headlamp sensor or twilight sensor) located on the top left side of the dash near the windshield defroster vents. This sensor is relatively cheap and pretty easy to replace so I think that's a good place to start.

If you have a manual transmission, I might also suspect a bad park/emergency brake switch.
Thanks for your suggestion, I will look into the sensor for the headlights.

I'm a total novice in this, but why would the parking brake switch cause both the dashboard and headlights to "restart" (I actually hear the same "click" that is heard when I start the car whenever the problem happens).
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

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I'm a total novice in this, but why would the parking brake switch cause both the dashboard and headlights to "restart" (I actually hear the same "click" that is heard when I start the car whenever the problem happens).
Because the automatic headlights don't turn on until the park brake is released. The dash illumination is part of the headlight circuit.
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Old 10-18-2014, 05:14 PM   #5
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Re: Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

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Because the automatic headlights don't turn on until the park brake is released. The dash illumination is part of the headlight circuit.
Is there a way for me to test this park brake switch behavior?
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Old 10-20-2014, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: Saturn ION 2005 Dashboard and Lights Off/On

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Is there a way for me to test this park brake switch behavior?
Start the car at night with the park brake engaged. After the car is started, release the park brake and the headlights & dash illumination should turn on.
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