Buick Regal Electrical Problems

regalmamaregalmama Member Posts: 1
edited June 2017 in Buick
My 1997 Regal suddenly had no A/C fan, cooling fan or cruise control working. After 15 minutes or so, everything came back on. Now it happens every couple of days, lasting from 15 minutes to 24 hours. When they're not working, turning the fan knob on cause the headlights to go off completely even though the fan won't come on. I've had the battery and alternator checked and they're OK. Anyone have any suggestions?


  • bporter1bporter1 Member Posts: 229
    The electrical gremlins have struck again. Everytime it gets really cold out, I have no blower fan for the heat or the defroster. When the temp is above freezing, I have no problem. I took it to the dealer,and they said that it could be the control panel, or the blower resistor. They could not duplicate the problem because it was not cold out. Now this morning I had no blower, but this evening I did. Anybody else have this problem? I did not want the dealer to change any part and still have the problem. By the way I have 99 Regal GSE, and I am on my second climate control panel. The car has 97,450 miles. Any theories would be greatly appreciated. I fully expect to get in the car tomorrow morning and not have the blower fan not work. The dealership I took it to said to bring it in when it happens. These electrical problems I have had with this car are really giving me second thoughts about buying another GM car. This probably is my last Buick though, not very impressed with the new LaCrosse.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    Without knowing how the car is wired, my first thing to my mind is a ground problem. With an older LeSabre there are a couple of ground coupling points; one is by the left driver foot in the kick panel, the other is next to the driver seat between it and the door sill. It's a box long and thin under the carpet, just where my fingertips would touch while seated in the driver seat.

    That car had loss of air conditioning control (reverted to compresser engaged and defrost sometimes) and power door locks quit for a few minutes or hours...

    Moisture affected the grounding connections under the carpet from snow, rain, getting in there and keeping it moist for long periods.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • nels1nels1 Member Posts: 25
    I had a similar problem with my 03 GS. No air, No cruise, No heated seats, No display panel. The battery had gone dead after an 8 day period in a airport parking lot. Anyway the problem turned out to be the ignition switch.
  • rturner11rturner11 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Regal and am experiencing the exact same problem. I have found that I can leave the fan switch on high and the fan and lights work fine. Still no cruise though. I was wondering if you have found the culprit to this problem.
  • tkhtkh Member Posts: 2
    I have a buick regal gs 2002. My low tire light came , I had it checked and tires aired but the light is still on. Don't have a manual but have been told there is a reset swith somewhere. Anybody know where this is.
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    There is indeed a "Low Tire" reset switch. It is located with the fuses on the passenger end panel of the dash board.

    With the front passenger door open:
    1. Pull the fuse access panel off the end of the dash with your finger (might need a good yank).
    2. Locate the red button marked "Reset".
    3. Turn the ignition switch to the "On" setting, but do not start the engine. Note how the "Low Tire" indicator comes on.
    4. While watching the dash indicator reach back and press and hold the reset switch. The "Low Tire" light will flash a few times, then go off after just a few seconds.
    5. Release the switch when the light goes out.
    6. Replace fuse access panel and close the passenger door.

    It might be worth remembering this procedure as you will need to repeat it after any of your tires are removed, such as when rotating tires or doing brake work.
  • tkhtkh Member Posts: 2
    Thanks so much, worked great and I learned something new, all sort of things in that panel.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,228
    yeah...me too! Mine had been on as well(after a tire rotation). :blush:
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    You're so welcome! By the way, since you don't have a owner's manual, the thought occurred to me that you may not be aware of the passenger cabin air filter. Some of us replace it once a year. The replacement is usually filthy. Anyway, if you decide to tackle the project, there are instructions in post #1281 on this board. I recently found a good price for replacement elements at speedycarparts.com, but you might have better luck shopping around.

    Also, I highly recommend you inspect the condition of the engine coolant. Perhaps you have heard some of the horror stories going around about Dex-Cool (nick-named "Death-Cool"). It is touted to be good for 5 years or 150,000 miles, but many who trusted that statement have found sludge in their radiators and having to replace head gaskets at around $850. My suggestion would be to check the level in the overflow tank monthly to avoid letting air get into the cooling system, and to have the system flushed after 3 years, not five.

    All the best, Ken.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,228
    I replaced my cabin air filter for the first time (have had my 99' LS a year and a half) It was so filthy I wonder if it had ever been replaced. The air inlet at the base of the windshielf sucks in all the small debris that comes off the windshield. Valvoline instant oil charged me around $44 I believe. :sick: Autozone didn't have one...but I will sure look a lot harder next time. Looked easy to put in.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • rholstinrholstin Member Posts: 1
    I own a 1996 Buick Regal Gran Sport and I have been having a problem with the car shutting off automatically. Once the car is stopped I am able to turn it back on. When the car shuts off, everything else is still on (headlights, radio, dashboard lights) but the engine stops and I obviously lose power to my power breaks and steering. What would cause this?? Any suggestions would be helpful.
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    Gee, this is a tough one, but I think the first thing I'd check is the ground wire to the engine. At this age, the connection might be corroded and need some serious brightening up (cleaning).
  • jamesl0368jamesl0368 Member Posts: 2
    Buick Regal, 1994

    Turn signals - left, none working
    right, only rear works
    Hazards not working at all.
    Checked all bulbs and fuses, all good.
    any ideas????
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    This is just a shot in the dark, but sometimes in a car as old as this (11 years), the dielectric grease dries out in the bulb socket so the connection is no longer any good. You can get small packets of the stuff at your local auto parts place.
  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    I have a 94 Regal that was running fine until my wife turned the
    ignition switch off. It will not crank over now. It is not getting fire to
    the starter solenoid. I have found out that it has an anti-theft relay
    and module and think it may be the anti-theft module. The fire from the
    ignition is going through the relay. I checked this with a test light. I
    was also checking voltage to a yellow wire with a black stripe that
    goes to anti-theft module from the anti-theft relay and the vehicle
    started. I removed the test light from the circuit and it went dead. I am
    taking the dash out now to try to find the anti-theft module. Would
    appreciate any advice and if any one knows how to wire around the anti-theft
    devices let me know.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    Does your car have the chip in the ignition key?

    Does the security light come on when the turn the key to "on"?

    Does the security light go off after 15 seconds or so if you don't turn the key to crank?

    When you crank do all the lights stay on on the dash but you get no clicks or anything when you turn the key to crank?

    If you get no crank, does it act like it blinks the lights when the turn to crank for 3 times and then after that acts like there's no key or anything turned to crank? The security lights stays on for 3-4 minutes and shuts off allowing attempt to restart with clean key or new key.

    Check here

    If it's the wires in the column between the connector at the base and the ignition switch where the contacts touch the key, the correct two wires can be identified at the base and connected with a resistor of the appropriate value and that will fool the VATS module into thinking it always has the right key inserted!

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    I have two keys with the chip in them. When you go to start position you get voltage out of the ignition to the theft deterrent relay which is under the dash on the passenger side. I am told there is a theft deterrent module after the relay and before the neutral safety switch. When you turn the key on all lights work and when you try to start the engine no lights dim or go out. I have not noticed a security light.
  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    There is not a security light on the dash. When you engage the start position nothing blinks or clicks. I went to the web site you sent me and found the anti-theft page. I then found a two wire connector under the steering column which are 2 wires one white with a black strip and the other purple with an orange covering over both of them. I unplugged and while putting the key in the start position I checked for omns at the wires and nothing. This led me to believe the tumbler was a bad. I then checked for voltage at the other side of the connector and didn't get any. Does the module send voltage to the key tumbler and somehow the chip completes the circuit when in start position? I am a mechanic but electrical has always drove me about crazy. Thanks for all the help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    I would think the operation would be like the LeSabre's. In the owner's manual does it say anything about what happens in the way of a light if the wrong key chip is inserted? I wonder if a light bulb is out on the dash...

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    I looked in the owner manual and there is nothing about a security light. There is nothing in the owner manual about a security system. I don't remember ever seeing a security light on on the dash. I have had the car almost four years. It has been very reliable until this. I am going to check and see if any one sells a vats bypass module.
  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    I got the resistor and put in the circuit and the Regal cranked. I assume this means the tumbler needs replacing. Will I be able to leave the resistor in place or would it be better to try to replace the tumbler? I think the steering column would have to be disassembled to replace the tumbler and that looks like a chore to me. Anyway thanks for the help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    Glad it worked. How hard was it to find the right wires on the steering column at the bottom? I may have to do similar to my 98 LeSabre if its wires break up at the tilt mechanism where they get flexed everytime the tilt wheel goes up and down.

    I would just solder in the resistor and be happy. Messing with the airbag and taking apart the column to get to the wires at the flex point and then replacing the cylinder doesn't sound like fun to me. I think my dealer charged me near $200 to do the job with 2 news keys on 93 LeSabre. I could have put in a resistor myself!!!

    ONly thing is your car has no theft protection against someone who has the right key; but probably thieves'll never know it doesn't have it!!!

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    The SIR wires were marked so I found the next two and they were covered with an orange cover like it said on the web site you sent me about the anti-theft. They were coming down the bottom of the column and looked like they went to the tumbler. I unplugged them and used the ohmn meter to check and got no resistance so I got the resistor in the harness and it started. I then cut the side coming from the lock tumbler and fixed the resistor in it right and everything is okay now. I put some resistors in the glove box just in case. Many thanks again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    Great to hear. Thanks for reporting back. I wish I'd known this was possible on my 93 LeSabre-could have same lots of $20s on that repair. Of course, the dealer service isn't going to tell me.

    Did you solder the resistor on or how did you connect it?

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • bwhite52yesbwhite52yes Member Posts: 9
    I cut the wires coming from the tumbler and soldered them in the wires so I could use the connector. If I decide to replace the tumbler I can them cut and splice the wires back together. All the Buick Dealer would tell me was to bring it in and they would fix it. Good Luck.
  • g0d_s0ng0d_s0n Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1994 Regal GS. The other day the sunroof opened up just fine but wouldn't close. It didn't budge. It didn't even make a noise like it was attemping to move and was maybe stuck or something. What could it be? I was thinking maybe a fuse, sunroof motor or something else. I'm really an illiterate when it comes to cars so if you do know what it could be, and ways to check, please walk me through it step by step. THANKS!
  • yurakmyurakm Member Posts: 1,345
    I had the same problem with my 2000 Regal in summer 2004. Fixed it at a GM dealership (Chevrolet), who replaced the sunroof switch. It was not cheap, however: something like $150 to $200, if I remember it right.
  • bporter1bporter1 Member Posts: 229
    The same problem that you are experiecing, I've had twice on my 99 Regal. Both problems were covered under the warranty (thankfully). The first time the switch was replaced. The second time it happened the dealer replaced the switch, motor, and another switch that prevents the glass from going back too far, it was a couple of years ago and I don't remeber the name of the part. Needless to say it was repaired properly, but I only use the vent portion of the sunroof, I don't trust it, and would never have a sunroof again.
  • jz14jz14 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 GS, and I recently started having the same problem with the blower motor for the heater. Were you able to figure out the underlying problem, and if so, what was the cost? Overall I have had good luck with the car, but I have had some electrical problems as well. At times, my dashboard looks like a Christmas tree there are so many lights on.

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,687
    I assume this has automatic air control and that the layout is similar to LeSabre with which I'm familiar. The blower itself might be having trouble turning when cold but that would usually give a little noise when it did work or when yo turn it off and it's spinning down. You didn't mention that.

    If it's the same as the automatic LeSabre then you have a control circuit board instead of a resistor board that's in the air ducts where the blower can cool it. That circuit board can go bad. Usually on the H-series cars it locks on and keeps the blower running after the ignition is shut off. In other cases it doesn't start the blower whether in auto mode or manual blower mode. Sometimes the blower speed is erratic. These boards are available at Advance Auto and other parts suppliers and gmpartdirect.com and rockauto.com. But you want to troubleshoot first!

    If you can check when cold at connection for blower motor to see if it's getting power you'll know what to look at next. Fuses, there probably is more than one. Possibly a relay (does it work on high speed?).

    You might seek out a reputable shop where you can leave the car for them to check on a cold morning.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • bporter1bporter1 Member Posts: 229
    I took the car into the dealer last year, and they replaced the blower control module. The dealer did warn me that this may not be the problem, because they could not duplicate the problem. Anyway that was the problem and the fan has been OK for the last year.
  • bluejeansbluejeans Member Posts: 2
    i have a 2003 buick regal and today the heated seat went on high and wouldn't turn off even after engine was turned off.
    only way to turn it off was disconnect the battery because when i bought the car it didn't have owners manual which was supose to be sent to me in the mail....... burning and not only on bottom!!!
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    I've heard of numerous cases where heated seats stopped working, but never a case where the heated seats worked too good!

    Do both seats stay on, or is it just the one? If just the one, then the problem might be the switch for that seat.

    Still under bumper-to-bumper warranty?
  • bluejeansbluejeans Member Posts: 2
    just MY luck that it's only the driver seat and yes on warrenty... it's at dealership now.. only had vehicle a wk.. sigh.. they said it shorted out...in on position..i say it was more like a fry egg position.. appreciate your replying to me.. just was curious if anyone else experienced that!
  • bporter1bporter1 Member Posts: 229
    With all of the electrical gremlins that I have experienced, my heated seats work fine. Of course now that I said that, they will not work. Oh well, at least your repair is covered under the warranty.
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    For the second time in 6 months my wifes Regal died. Last fall we had intermittent issues with various lights on the dash coming on and going off. To make a long story short it was a faulty ignition switch.

    This evening my wife tried to start the car and the battery seemed to be dead. A check by the tow truck operator showed the battery fully charged. He towed the car to the Buick dealer that replaced the switch last fall.

    Guess we will find out Monday what the problem is.

    At least GM warrants the switch for 12months or 12k miles.

    The car has 80K miles on it.

    Will post results of dealers findings Monday.
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    Turned out while the battery was fully charged, there was corrosion near the positive terminal. The dealer cleaned it up and it started fine. The light on the dash that was coming on was the Brake and ABS lights.

    Added brake fluid and all is well. So it was not the ignition switch after all.
  • mwdreammwdream Member Posts: 91
    Corroding positive terminals is common on this car. I believe it is in the design of the side mounted terminals. Expect to replace battery every few years. Check for corrosion every 6 months.

    If you buy a new battery it should be prorated. Save the papers so that when it is time to purchase new battery you are not out the full cost.

    If you ever go to start the car and there is nothing, check the battery first. Unhook it and clean it. It may get you started so you can drive to buy a new battery. And yes changing the battery is fun too.

    My bad terminal cost me a few hours one morning. Good luck.
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66

    Wonder if the little felt corrosion washer would be worth putting on the battery?
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    Driving home from work yesterday my wife said the airbag light came on.

    It flashes when you start the car and then remains on after the car is running.

    Anything to check this weekend before she takes to dealer on Monday?

    2000 Regal GS, 80K miles
  • spdycindyspdycindy Member Posts: 4
    The air bag light could be triggered by debris or someone's feet hitting the wiring under the driver's seat. You can make sure that the plugs are connected under there, but to get the light re-set you have to have the dealer's service guy re-set the light. I had this happen to me, and they wouldn't tell me how to re-set the light if it happens again. Just make sure you keep the area under the seat very vacant.
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    I looked under the seat and there was a CD case that my wife asked me if I had seen lately.

    It was wedged near a yellow plug. It appeared that the plug was still plugged in, but maybe not. She is taking it to the dealer to get checked out.

    Hope that was the problem. I noticed in the owners manual it mentioned being careful around any yellow plugs. Just did not mention where they were.

    Thanks for the information!
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    Again thanks for the information!

    The plug appeared to be in OK, all I did was push it back together although I didnt feel any movement.

    This morning we get in, the airbag light flashed like normal and then went out! Anyway all's well , I guess.
  • BushwackBushwack Member Posts: 258
    Let me add that the problem can be wiring get wet. Has the car been washed lately? Also, a tip I received from a Buick technician when I bought my 2000 GS (which I no longer have): Wipe clean the computer chip (or whatever the correct terminoly is) on your key. If it's dirty, it can send the wrong signals to the car's computer. Sounds odd, but as he explained, the ABS brake pump circuitry is tied into the ignition. Therefore a dirty key chip may emit the wrong signals (do you have a second key to see if this theory holds?).

    One last thing: If the problem ends up being the ABS brake pump, Buick will pay for half (if not the entire cost)if you have less then 70,000 miles on the odometer. Brake pump costs $1,900 installed.
  • regal00lsregal00ls Member Posts: 7
    The odometer on my 2001 Regal LS is no longer visible. I was wondering if this is a simple fix with just a new bulb or more involved. Has anyone else had this happen?
  • tsu670tsu670 Member Posts: 293
    Sounds like the old loose resistor connection problem. Best bet is to remove the instrument cluster and look for and re solder/replace any loose resistors on the instrument circuit board.
  • regal00lsregal00ls Member Posts: 7
    Thank you for the info. As soon as it is fixed I will let you know what the exact problem was and how to fix.
  • jdpinajdpina Member Posts: 4
    Where should I start to fix the problem?
    I have a 96 buick regal. I replace the hazard fuse
    last time and it work for about 3 months. Is my car shorting it out that quick. Or do I need a new switch on the brake pedal.
  • aedaed Member Posts: 8
    Have searched the site and not found exact help to resolve 2 problems with my otherwise really good car.

    1. With headlights illuminated, instrument cluster lights go off intermittently and may come back on. Only shift position/odometer and clock lights on. Suspect loose connection, bad ground or bad light switch. Removed panel at end of dash at switch but could not remove switch to inspect. Does anyone have instructions to remove switch and/or recommendation for DIY fix for dash board lights?

    2. Recently experienced that ignition key will periodically not move to last "remove" position when engine turned off and then cannot extract key. Moving steering wheel does not always help. Normally have to restart engine and move car back and forth while centering steering wheel. On level surface. Had ignition switch replaced last year when engine failed in traffic. Suggestions?
  • rhinncrhinnc Member Posts: 66
    Most likley the ignition switch is bad. At least as far as item #2.

    My wife was having intermittent lights coming on , but this was happening during daytime. After ignition switch replaced, this cleared up as well.
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