Buick Regal Electrical Problems



  • gherremagherrema Member Posts: 2
    You are swapping your ingnition cylinder? Or switch? I swapped the ignition switch ($100, Napa) and all of my problems have disappeared. I think it probably took me a little over an hour once I had the E-4 External Torx socket to get the switch off of the steering column. I also cleaned the hell out of my key and have not had the "sticking" issues in a couple of days. I did find out that you can buy a new tumbler for the car what will include a key without the "chip". I was told to have a shop do this becuase once they replace the original they will have to change the CPU, or put in a resistor that will fool the CPU. The new tumbler part is around $100.
  • 200regalowner200regalowner Member Posts: 2
    Update: Bad news

    It was my ignition cylinder that was swapped out. They assured me it was working, that they started it dozens of times to test. Well It started just fine after I paid, I drove it home and parked it while I had dinner. Later when I went to go out the damn thing acted up again.. dash lights all freak out and no turn-over... as I went to take my key out it wouldnt unlock from the ignition so i couldnt start it or take my key out... well after an hour or so stuck at home... i went back out to try again... started up like nothing happend... well the only place I was going to that night was back to the shop lol.

    What b.s all this is. Whoever designed this system should get fired! Im all for a recall this is dangerous. And clearly not an isolated issue.
  • mnmkyfmnmkyf Member Posts: 3
    I had the ignition problem, plus failed high beam switch, plus replacing driver's power window switch module times two. I might have been better off replacing the ignition in the first place, but that wouldn't help the switch problems. By the time I'm done, I'll have a couple grand stuck in it. A little web research plus conversation with a couple of GM mechanics reveals that GM is well aware of the problems, (also found in Century and some Chevys) but won't stand behind their product. Sad for an "03 with only 65,000 miles that I once thought was the best car I ever owned!
  • matthewkorte1matthewkorte1 Member Posts: 1
    I noticed yesterday that when I pulled up to a stop light, the car would give alittle and made the ABS sound, later the traction control light went on (saying it was off). When I got on the highway everything was fine then the car shut off and all the systems on the dash started blinking and making the sound like I was turning. I was able to put the car in neutral and start it again, drove for a few miles and similar thing happened.
    When I got home and shut it off, I tried to start and it when I turned key, it would try to start and it would crank (screech) as if i was holding key too long. Then all the lights on dash. would blink continuously. I let it sit and later the car was fine (and probably will do the same when I get to the mechanic, Murphy;s law :(
    Does anyone know if this is a battery problem? Alternator? :mad:
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westMember Posts: 255
    I haven't ever seen or heard of anything like that before, short of a science fiction movie.

    I doubt if it is a battery or alternator thing. Has it had an electrical fire lately?
  • ssuunnyyssuunnyy Member Posts: 4
    Hey Hoodlatch
    I probably need to replace my headlight/dimmer switch on my 2k B Regal LS.
    Took the left panel off. Saw the switch but I didn't see an easy way to replace it.
    Can you give me some insight before I rip the black IP panel off.
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westMember Posts: 255
    It has been so long ago now that I don't remember the details. But what impressed me was the fact that was the one thing Buick did on that model that was easy to change. Best I remember the only panel I had to remove was the side panel which pops off. The switch came out the side. The whole process didn't take me very long to change out.

    Changing out the window motor was a hoot. It took a little longer to do that.

    Good luck.
  • ssuunnyyssuunnyy Member Posts: 4
    I took the Headlight/dimmer switch out via the left side panel. Took the switch appart, cleaned everything, back together ok and back in.
    You're right, 2 screws & switch poped out in less than a minute. Took plug pictures front and back with my digital camera just in case I needed to take wires out of plug.
    Thanx again.
  • ssuunnyyssuunnyy Member Posts: 4
    My 2k B Regal LS has intermittent back-up lite problems.
    You mentioned a backup light switch.
    Please tell me where it is.
    I did not have the console apart.
  • jennylove14jennylove14 Member Posts: 1
    My car died this morning. Took the battery to AutoZone and they said it was fine. Headlights turn on as do inside lights, but low. Is there any chance itcould be a sensor or something minor or am I looking at replacing my alternator??
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westMember Posts: 255
    Jenny - I would recommend starting with the inexpensive things first like cleaning the battery terminals. then check the battery cables to see if they have any obvious wear and corrosion. sometimes the battery gets low on water and acid. if that's the case add some distilled water. before you spend the money changing out the alternator, the shop can put an amp meter on it to see if it's doing what its supposed to. a car that age it could be alot of things. are you sure that is what caused your car to die?
  • jmckenneyjmckenney Member Posts: 1
    I have an 02 Buick Regal and the same thing happened to me today, I have no idea what it is but I didn't think that the two problems of the ABS and stalling were connected, but now I am guessing there is a common problem between the two. My car is in the shop, I will hopefully know more tomorrow. Have you obtained any info?
    Best regards
  • cking9494cking9494 Member Posts: 3
    My wife just recently got a 1998 Buick Regal LS from her aunt. The headlights do not come on at all and the only way you can use your brights is to hold the switch towards you and drive which is kinda dangerous. The lights are auto on so I am thinking that a sensor has went out for it. Also the odometer does not work at all, but all the lights on the dash work. The cruise control does not work, but the windshield wipers work. Cam somebody please let me know what may be going on? :confuse:
  • scotty801scotty801 Member Posts: 5
    edited April 2010
    I believe most of your problems relate to possible bad wiring or bad switches in your steering column. Try adjusting the steering column to see if lights come on. If they do that would more than likely indicate there is a problem relating to wiring not a sensor. Your odometer not working... are you referring to the lights? If so that is caused by bad or loose resistors on the back of your instrument gauge circuit board.
  • abutcherabutcher Member Posts: 33
    edited April 2010
    To fix your odometer, watch this video:


    I had the same problem with my 2001 Regal odometer and PRND321, and it worked like a champ!
  • cking9494cking9494 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks. I took that instrument panal off today and I bout threw it out I was so mad lol. I will be sure to go get what I need from radio shack. Thanks for the help. :)
  • cking9494cking9494 Member Posts: 3
    How much would a new switch cost if you may know? I will be sure to use the video that some body sent me as a reply also to take off my panel that way I can have all gauges working. Is there another screw on the steering cover for the top after you remove the bottom? I am having a big issue with it wanting to stick.
  • smorrison2smorrison2 Member Posts: 1
    Matthew, I am having the same problems as you were having April 9, 2010 post #271 2003 Buick Regal shutting down. Any solutions?
    Thanks, Scott
  • smoke455smoke455 Member Posts: 1
    in case you haven't found it yet I'll chime in...
    Went thru this last March - 60mph on the highway, tried to signal for a lane change and the engine died. The first two dealerships tore the dashboard apart with no results. Third dealership told me over the phone they had seen it before - $90 ignition switch in the steering column (not the key switch - the electrical portion behind that). I had the dealer replace it as I didn't want to set off an air bag - car has not had an issue with it since.
  • regalls2002regalls2002 Member Posts: 5
    I've had my regal for four years and have been very happy with the car just until last week when it started turning off while driving and the dash board lights flicker, gages go back and forth, engine chokes when trying to start it. Took it to a mechanic who checked the battery and alternator which work fine and believes it was something to do with the ignition switch but was unable to solve the issue and referred me to the dealer. Now my car is at the dealer and I'm told that GM has sent an alert about this common problem/issue and recommends a procedure which is to remove the underhood panel, check fuses, repair terminals and install diaelectric grease - whatever the hell that means. The cost is going to be $350 and they do not gtee this will solve the problem. This tells me that there's an underlying problem and it could be very serious; especially when the car turns off while driving. :mad: Let's see what the end result is when I pick-up the car from the dealer. Stay tuned....
  • vlad84vlad84 Member Posts: 1
    Hi! I have Buick Regal 1995 year, 3.8v and have the same problem as you do. The turning off is usually happened during the summer time. No one can tell me what the problem is. What about your car? Did they fix your problem in the dealership?
  • zane3zane3 Member Posts: 1
    With regards to the 'backup lights' did you ever get a reply regarding that? My tail lights work, blinkers, everything on my '02 Regal but the reverse/backup lights don't work. Replaced the bulbs, checked the fuse not sure what is wrong. Don't want to pay a dealership to look at it either.
  • ssuunnyyssuunnyy Member Posts: 4
    No. Backup lights never came back on. The last time they were on was when I was driving to state inspection. 00 B Regal LS passed for another two years. Then backup lights went off. Checked bulbs, fuses, trunk wiring, to no avail. I feel it must be under the car some where. I'm due for 12/2011 inspection. I hope to have another car by then.
  • djpeterdeedjpeterdee Member Posts: 2
    Hi to all and thank you for helping me solve my problem. I hope my posting here will help others with similar problems. I have an '02 Buick Regal. When we first purchased the car (used) all was ok. Then we started having problems removing the ignition key. After doing some research on here, I had made the decision to replace the ignition switch assembly; The electrical and NOT the key portion of the switch. My car has a floor shift which makes some difference in the replacement part, although I'm not aware of just what the difference is. Some do's and dont's when replacing the switch. Make sure you have the proper tools. You cannot replace this switch without a deep E4 torx external socket. These are hard to get locally, and I had to order mine from a tool source on the internet. The shallow ones will not reach the upper screw on the switch, so be advised to get the deepest socket that you can find. VIM Tools makes some nice tools to do this job, and the prices aren't going to kill you. Next, be careful when removing the decorative "clamshell" around the keyswitch-4 way flasher actuator. I broke mine getting it off, so another visit to the junkyard will be in my immediate future. Your patience will be rewarded, plus make sure you remove ALL of the screws before attempting removal of this cover. This being said, the rest is a walk in the park. Just a matter of ignition tumbler removal and straight forward remove and replace. Just so you know what was happening, I was driving my father home from church one sunday morning, when the car just died. I restarted and it got me home. I put the car up on ramps to make it easy for me to work on, but shortly after I could not start it again. It seems that when I exposed my steering column, I had found that the alarm installer had cut into the harness to facilitate installation of the alarm system. Needless to say, when I replaced the switch, I left the alarm out of the new switch harness. No way do I want the same problems for the sake of an alarm system. Put the switch in and tested. Started flawlessly time after time, and the best part is that the key came out of the switch every time. If you have this problem, bite the bullet and buy the switch (mine cost 116.00 at NAPA), and the necessary tools. I've heard of some shops charging about $600.00 for doing this job. It isn't all that hard or time consuming, although I've been a professional mechanic for my entire life. Give it a shot. Good luck.
  • djpeterdeedjpeterdee Member Posts: 2
    Hi, Had a similar problem and just went through this whole debacle. It's the ignition switch. Does you car have an alarm system installed? If so check the electrical harness coming down the steering column to see if it has been cut into to facilitate connections. This, in my opinion, is the worst thing you can do to a car, especially a car notorious for these types of problems. The switch cannot handle the extra loads placed on it by the alarm system, and fails prematurely. This problem will cause all types of "Phantom" problems to occur. Replace the switch. You won't be sorry. Good luck.
  • regalls2002regalls2002 Member Posts: 5
    I finally got the car fixed after 3 weeks of hell at the dealership....
    They gave me the runaround - trying to tell me that the diagnostic work and some gease job was reccommended.... but notiing that they did worked, until I went to the top and wrote a letter to the big kahuna, then they got it together... Anyhow, I told them to check the iginition swith as this is what I reading about and seemed to be the same problems as others were encountering... but they didn't want to listen to a woman... I finally got my car back and it's runnng fine now... no turning off while driving, light flickering, etc... All is well. I hope this helps?
  • maxframesmaxframes Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1993 Regal Limited Coupe and had this problem. Replace the turn signal swith as I also had a problem with the left side brake lights. No problem since. You have to be careful to order the right part though as the turn signal switch on these cars come 1 of 2 ways. 1 with radio controls on the sterring whelland the 2nd without.
    Hope this helps.
  • gold_panther07gold_panther07 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Buick Regal LS, when I get it started the speedometer goes back and forth wildly and the anti-lock brake light is on with a few other lights that shouldn't be. It runs fine, but when I turn the turn-signal left, it buzzes, when I turn it right, it kills the car and I can't get it to start again for awhile. I've had the alternator looked at, but it's fine and so is the starter. The battery is fine as well and so are the connectors to it. All the fuses are fine, none of the ones under the hood or inside are broken. I need to get it running soon since it's my only car, any thoughts?
  • pastaboypastaboy Member Posts: 3
    Kelly I have the same odometer problem. Once in a while it does light up dimmly. Is there a posting here on how to fix it or can you please help me out with this?
  • den544den544 Member Posts: 4
  • den544den544 Member Posts: 4
    My left side high and low beams do not work. I switched out the bulb to the right side and it works. I replaced the fuse even though it was good and they still don't work. Any ideas?
  • hockinsonhockinson Member Posts: 1
    My Buick Regal has the Tail/Brakelight fuse blowing and the fuse for the parking lights/foglamps blowing . the fog lamp/parking lights are blowing when i turn on the fog lights, and im not sure why the rear lights/parking lights are blowing yet. I also cant figure out why all the dash indicator lights are all working properly but the lights that let you see the odometer and rpm gauge at night are not working. any one please help this is a night time nightmare.
  • gfal1704gfal1704 Member Posts: 1
    HELPFUL! Had the same issue with our '03 Buick Regal. Car started acting up by intermittently flickering the Service Engine Soon, ABS, and one other light. I took it out for a test drive after my girlfriend told be about it. Aside from the flickering, everything seemed fine until I got it on the freeway and decided to switch lanes. When I turned the left signal on, the car literally shut down/coasted and every light on the IP came on. As soon as I turned the signal off, everything came on and the car started running again. If I didn't signal, I didn't have a problem. Used hand signals all the way back to the house. Also noticed afterwards that I could kill the car while just sitting idle by turning the left or right signals on.

    Read here that REPLACING the IGNITION SWITCH was the key. It worked like a charm and was also a fairly easy operation. No cutting of wires needed. Just cut some zip ties and be careful not to break any connectors or set off the airbags. I got a replacement ignition switch assembly from the local auto parts shop for $95 bucks after tax. Since I'd never done the repair before, it took me about 3.5 hrs. I could do it much faster now.

    Thanks everyone for the help! You saved me at least $300 bucks here and what sounds like and average of 3 or 4 days.

    Search words for the poor souls on google: ignition switch 2003 '03 buick regal signal stalling SES service engine soon ABS lights stall shut off
  • goodnewsautogoodnewsauto Member Posts: 13
    Yes I originally helped every1 in 2008 for this issue on my 1998

    I am glad all who saw the ignition switch failure issue or the others I have made many buick 3.8 l happy again now if they can fix the problem with the gaskets blowing (intake) I would walk up and hug a huge GM symbol.

    good luck

    currently a Ford and Dodge owner
  • daisy14daisy14 Member Posts: 8
    I have a 1997 Buick Reagal GS that is doing the same thing. It has not shut off, but it did buzz when I used my left turn signal. My problem started with it not wanting to start. Also, had that battery checked and everything is good. Starts one minute won't the next. Dealership can't seem to figure out the problem. After checking the starter and something with the transaxle adjustment for the shifter, it still does not want to start. Will start more often if I put it in neutral. Dealer ship thinks ( I stress the word " thinks") that it may be sensors in the steering column. It can get pretty costly paying for stuff that they "think" might be wrong. Do not know what to do. Looking for suggestions, also.
  • hawk1967hawk1967 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 regal that I have recently fixed a few of the more common issues with. It used to shut off when I used the left hand turn signal, but after reading other posts, I changed out the ignition switch and all was better. Now it's a new issue. My headlights wont come on with the headlight switch. I bought a new switch and installed it, but the problem is still there. I can make the lights come on if I pull back on the turn signal, making the high beams come on, but driving while holding the turn signal back is a pain. And blinding oncoming drivers as well. Has anyone fixed this problem yet? I was considering changing out the turn signal, but don't want to go changing stuff randomly, hoping to find the solution. It really seems like a ground wire issue somewhere. I also added another ground, going from the transmission to the body, in case I had a ground that came off somewhere. Still didn't help.
  • tbcrvtbcrv Member Posts: 3
    Thanks to this forum, we replaced the ignitian switch for $100 after the car died on the highway when my son was driving it. (1999 Regal, purchased new) It would have cost me a fortune at the dealer; I called and asked if they had ever heard of this happening, and they told me no.

    Don't the mechanics or the GM people read this forum?
    Why hasn't there been a recall for this?

    I really like my Honda.
  • scotty801scotty801 Member Posts: 5
    It's your turn signal or Multi-Function Switch. I had the same problem and changed the switch and it fixed the problem. I got the switch at a u-pull-it junk yard so it was really cheap and its working good now for about 4 months.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    People from GM do read this forum; however, we are not mechanics. I apologize we cannot force a recall. Recalls are made based on many different factors including customer complaints. This is one reason it is important to have your concerns documented by GM. You can do so by taking your vehicle to the dealer and/or contacting GM Customer Service. There is a telephone number in your owners manual for GM Customer Service. I can also provide you with this number if you would like.
    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    People from GM do read this forum; however, we are not mechanics. I apologize we cannot force a recall. Recalls are made based on many different factors including customer complaints. This is one reason it is important to have your concerns documented by GM. You can do so by taking your vehicle to the dealer and/or contacting GM Customer Service. There is a telephone number in your owners manual for GM Customer Service. I can also provide you with this number if you would like.
    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    People from GM do read this forum; however, we are not mechanics. I apologize we cannot force a recall. Recalls are made based on many different factors including customer complaints. This is one reason it is important to have your concerns documented by GM. You can do so by taking your vehicle to the dealer and/or contacting GM Customer Service. There is a telephone number in your owner’s manual for GM Customer Service. I can also provide you with this number if you would like.
    GM Customer Service
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Member Posts: 4,252
    People from GM do read this forum; however, we are not mechanics. I apologize we cannot force a recall. Recalls are made based on many different factors including customer complaints. This is one reason it is important to have your concerns documented by GM. You can do so by taking your vehicle to the dealer and/or contacting GM Customer Service. There is a telephone number in your owner’s manual for GM Customer Service. I can also provide you with this number if you would like.
    GM Customer Service
  • daisy14daisy14 Member Posts: 8
    Attention!!! Check the screw on your battery terminal. Weeks of aggravation and repairman guessing what the problem might be and the problem was one little screw. My Buick Reagal did this last year when the weather started to get cold. I had battery terminals cleaned and the batttery checked. Worked fine for a year and then the weather started to get cold again. Had dealerships and mechanics telling me that it was something electrical in the column. I was really starting to think it may be this ignition switch that everyone seems to be talking about on this forum. But, I kept thinking about the guy who commented about replacing the battery ( his comment received negative feedback from one guy).Well, the fact that my car had not done this for a year after having the terminals cleaned, had me thinking it has to be something with the battery. I decided to start there and work my way back to the column. I decided to replace my Diehard battery, because I had bought this car used and had no idea how old the battery was. I went to Walmart and had a new battery installed. It was my first and will probably be my last time dealing with Walmart's automotive services. I got the car home from there and discovered that my water reservoir was leaking like a seive. It had never leaked in the 41/2 years of owning this car and the car still did not want to start everytime I hit the key. Went back to Walmart. I watched their manager turn and turn at my positive terminal screw. He had told me it had gotten tight when I ask him if it did. I headed home, again. I stopped at a parts and repair shop in my town and had them check the positive terminal. They said that the lead terminal on the battery had been stripped and that the screw would not and was not tight. When I went to leave the shop and hit my left turn signal the car's dash instruments went crazy and it was buzzing, this stopped after I turned off the signal. As I drove the car up the street and turned on my right turn signal the car started to shut off, I quickly turned of the signal and the car kept running. I called the repair shop and ask them if this all happened because that terminal was not making a good connection. They said yes. I called Walmart to tell them that the screw was not tight at the positive terminal and that my local repair shop said that the batttery terminal had been stripped. By this point I was thoroughly aggravated and told Walmart that I was bringing the car back for the third time in the morning and I wanted my Diehard battery put back in and I would take the car elsewhere. The next morning I took the car back to Walmart. I went inside to get my account credited and when I came back they had my old battery put back in. There had been a different service technician than the day before. He told me that the screw to my positive battery cable had been messed up and stripped and inturn had messed up the new battery terminal. He told me that he replaced this screw and that it had tightened in my old battery. He also informed me that my Diehard battery was still good. If this screw could be replaced, why didn't the guy do that the day before? Instead of sending me off with a car that he knew would not always want to start and that he knew that screw had not tightened. The young service tech alson thought he could fixed the leak at the gasket in my washer reservoir, but Walmart would not allow him to.
  • daisy14daisy14 Member Posts: 8
    Post on Positive terminal screw cont... My car has been starting everytime and I have no problems while using the turn signals. No buzzing and no shutting off. If anyone is having problems with their Buick not starting or shutting off, try replacing this inexpensive screw before you do anything else. I didn't need a new battery, it was just the screw. Thanks to the guy who posted about getting a new battery. You led me in the right direction. It was a much cheaper fix than having a repair shop do diagnostic work or the cost of an ignition switch. Although I did end up having three trips to Walmart, putting over 100 more miles on my car, using almost a tank of gas, and a lot of aggravation. It was all worth it in the end. I'm driving my gently used 1997 Buick, which I bought in April 2006 with 43,000 miles on it, for $6,200 cash. It now has 66,000 miles on it, looks like new, runs like a top, and is loaded to the max. Nicest car I have ever owned. Even nicer than the one brand new car I had bought in '86. No car payments and low yearly insurance rates make me love driving this Buick even more. My last car, a Chevy Celebrity, bought at 8 years old and 27.000 mi., gave me 10 years of dependable service. Was still running at 18 yrs. and only had 95,000 mi. Under neath of car started to get bad- brake lines and gas lines breaking. I love my Chevy and GM products.
  • regalizeregalize Member Posts: 2
    My friend was given a 2000 Buick Regal. We've replaced the ignition switch to fix the 'shutting off when signaling a lane change' issue thanks to this forum, so I'm coming back for another problem.

    This Regal has the auto climate control where the buttons appear to work (switches light up) but the blower doesn't ever run and the digital display doesn't work. The display may be a cold solder issue and I think I can fix that (found instructions on gmforum.com), but not sure why the blower isn't running. For the automatic climate control, is it the control board that's located in the duct or is it the resistor board that goes bad?

    Thanks for your help.

  • manette14120manette14120 Member Posts: 1
    i too have the problem with lights flickering on dash board,turn signals being used and powering off the car also now its taking 3 to 4 hours to start.Im totally disgusted!Its also very dangerous that this make and model and problem is actually shutting down in drive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Very dangerous where the hell is the recall?IOs buick going to wait till someone dies due to this issue?
  • regalizeregalize Member Posts: 2
    No question in my mind that this is a safety issue.

    That said, your problem can be solved by replacing your ignition switch harness. Cost is around $95 for the part, takes about an hour to replace.

    It's worth doing so that your car is not a safety problem to you or anyone else driving it.

    But I'm not sure that explains why it's taking "3 to 4 hours" to start? Is there something else wrong besides the ignition switch?
  • novaguy1novaguy1 Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 1999 Buick Regal LS, lately when its gets dark the headlights automatially turn on, but the interior lights dont, and the time on the radio gets dim, I banged the dashboard a couple of times and it would turn them on, but now that doesnt work, anyone else have this problem? Oh when its daytime though, the raido light is on fine.
  • olewisolewis Member Posts: 1
    did you have to have the computer reprogrammed after replacing the switch.the guy at the dealer ,said it will not start,until you reprogram it to the new switch.
  • elijah6443elijah6443 Member Posts: 1
    Hi out there;

    I have a 92 regal limited 3.8. Never a problem until now. Wife was driving home and she told me it just died. fuel gauge
    indicates 3/4 of tank. I put in couple gallons fresh fuel. Still not running. Turns over great. new battery. will not fire up.
    I have read about the anti theft, ignition switch and signal switch. Do I spin the bottle and guess or is there a better way
    to chose what to check and how ? Thanks for the imput.

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