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Pontiac Vibe Electrical/Lighting Issues

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
Discuss electrical problems with the Vibe here.


  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    Finally went to the service mgr cause the warranty will be up soon.

    He tells me that the Vibe and Matrix use different light systems, and that trix don't have DRL. Hmm, Riight. Mine is also the first Vibe to come in for this problem and he's been there for 5 yrs.

    Anyway, we go out to the parking lot and find some areas that I thought the light would go on, guess what, it doesn't. I guess it was about noon, and I rarely drive at noon....

    If anyone had the automatic headlights fixed, please let me know the part description and Part Number that was replaced. I'm assuming that the fix worked.

    Anyway, the under shifter storage HAS a TSB and they are ordering 2 parts to fix it, I guess it's NOT just the drawer itself.

    My 2003 Vibe was built on 10/9/02.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    it's possible that the Vibe uses different lighting systems, but it sure isn't likely. All the mechanicals on these cars are Toyota. And that service manager is certainly talking bunk: the Matrix does have DRL.

    Luzer, way back in this thread I posted the Toyota TSB number - it was around 8-10/04. All they did was replace the sensor, and the new sensor is the one they have been installing in brand new Matrixes ever since. So maybe you could just go into the parts department and order the sensor for an '04 Matrix, then put it in yourself? I dunno.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    Hey Nip,

    I found that post (2/27/03) and brought it with me, but they said they can't cross ref Toyota part numbers....that's why if someone did this with a Vibe and provides the similar info as you, then we would all do a mad rush to the dealer.

    Anywho, is it the relay or the sensor itself?
    Here's your post...

    "I got my paperwork back for the new relay assembly for the twilight sensor. The part # is the same as posted above: #82810-02033. I guess this is a relay better calibrated to its location on the dash in the Matrix. More importantly, it notes on the paperwork that "service bulletin EL007-02/replace relay" was performed.
    So I guess this is the number of the TSB for this twilight sensor problem."
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    wow! confronted with my own words! :-)

    I guess my memory, fuzzy at the best of times, confused relay with sensor, but I do remember writing that and I was quoting the service invoice exactly. So it must be a relay. Makes sense, I guess, because the sensor is probably fairly generic. I don't know where this leaves you though. My car was a Matrix, not a Vibe, and there is probably no way to be 100% sure that the parts woill go from one car to the other without just buying the Toyota part and trying to install it in your Vibe. The whole job including professional labor rates was only somewhere in the $100s (covered under warranty for me of course). Which means it didn't take them much time and the part itself was quite cheap. Might be worth investigating.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    I remember printing out nippon's post and taking the TBS number with me to the service department. They didn't even want to look at it because they already knew what they were going to do, but I managed to look at their paperwork and confirm that the TBS I brought in was the same one they were referring to.

    What if you just take your Vibe in and complain that the running light/headlight system is not working properly (going from one to the other constantly)? Pontiac should be able to replace the sensor or the relay or whatever, using whatever part they now use when they manufacture the vehicles.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    yes! Exactly. They could just get a replacement part from a new model, and hopefully all would be well. Of course, that presumes that Pontiac updated their part when Toyota did, which might be a big presumption given that they are built on two different lines in two different countries. I HOPE Pontiac is not still using the original part!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • vibovibo Member Posts: 9
    I have a 2003 base Vibe. Since the overnight temperatures have been below 20F, my headlights have been automatically turning on and draining the battery during the night.

    How do I know this? My neighbor gets home at about 2:00am and he called. Other neighbors have noticed as well.

    The first time it happened, the neighbor called and so I went out and could not get them to turn off. They finally turned off when I pushed the high-beam selector forward, which normally would illuminate the high-beams.

    Needless to say, I have called roadside assistance each morning for a jump-start. The dealer can't give me an appointment until this Fri.

    Has anyone heard of this problem? I know many have complained on other Vibe/Matrix forums about the Vibe's weak battery in cold weather. This may be the root of the problem.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    on very early Matrixes, and Toyota came up with a fix and issued a recall to affected owners. It was a problem where in cold areas the lights on some cars would turn themselves on in the middle of the night and kill the battery, which sounds exactly like what you are saying? Did Pontiac not recall the Vibes? You may want to check with your dealer. I am surprised you have not experienced this problem before now?

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    I have zero confidence in Pontiac.

    First - The service tech was using a flashlight to make the thing go on/off and claims it works right.

    Second - The service manager tells me the trix doesn't have DRL, and uses a different headlight than the Vibe. AND this is the first complaint he's heard of.

    He did spend about 30 minutes driving around the parking lot - but it seems that at noon, on a clear day, there is enough ambient light to make me a liar. Most of my morning commute is with the headlights ON.

    My two parts for the under storage bin came in, some consolation... they had a TSB for that!...also, there's a PENDING programming update for the rotten egg thing.

    So this is the thanks I get for venturing into American cars. The Vibe may be built with "perceived" Japanese quality, but I think I am learning to stick with the original manufacturer/designer/Engineering just so updates happens - Joint Venture or not.

    As in real life, information is key, and someone forgot to tell Pontiac to CHANGE THE PART.

    About sensor/relay nomenclature - I had a toyota muffler replaced on my old corolla and the item was listed as "tail pipe assembly". Since they warranty the muffler for life, I had the same argument every few years, that the muffler = "tail pipe assembly". So maybe the sensor is part of the "relay assembly"...then again, maybe not.

    Wax on, wax off...
  • vibovibo Member Posts: 9
    Thanks Nippononly.

    I bought this '03 Vibe new at the end of the 2003 model year. This is the first winter that it has not been in the garage, thus it hasn't experiences temperatures so low.

    I love this car. My Vibe replaced a 2000 VW Passat, which I had a lot of trouble with, both electrically and mechanically.

    In two years of ownership, this will be the first time it has acted up.

    I am worried about this mysterious headlight problem. When I set up the appointment, the dealer was very skeptical, and basically said they would have to verify the problem themselves--yeah like some technician is going to sit with the car over-night to watch the headlights illuminate.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    well, Toyota fixed the problem on Toyotas within a few months of launch, say by the end of Summer '02, but I don't know when or if Pontiac ever did the same. For Toyota it was actually a recall of all affected Matrixes (there weren't a huge number).

    Again it is possible that if your Pontiac dealer is not willing or able to diagnose and eliminate this problem, you could maybe approach a Toyota dealer and ask if you could pay for the repair that was performed on the Matrixes that had this problem. Even though it appears Pontiac dealers are making much of the differences between the two vehicles, the fact is that until the updates to both models for the '05 model year, they were identical except for some cosmetics. Both would have the same DRL, the same twilight sensor and relay, etc.

    If nothing else, you could perhaps get the Toyota dealer to llok up their recall info on those early Matrixes and print it out for you to show the Pontiac dealer.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    We didn't get a recall notice for the headlights turning themselves on in the middle of cold nights. Ours was bought in August 2002, so I hope we weren't missed. I don't think we have ever left it outside overnight when the temperature was less than 20 degrees.
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    in that case it must have been a Toyota TSB rather than a recall, but I know they did so because when I took mine in for its very first service, the guy mentioned it and the fact that he would check to see if mine was among the affected cars. The affected VINs were REALLY early production cars, mine wasn't one of them (mine was built in May or June 2002 I forget which). If you bought in August, herzog, you would almost certainly have not been affected by that. They had already addressed the problem by then.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • vibovibo Member Posts: 9
    I took the car in Friday for the scheduled appointment. The weather has warmed above 20F, so, of course the lights did not automatically turn on during the night.


    The good news is that Pontiac dealership did find a TSB and ordered the new "switch", and they will replace it Tuesday.


    Thanks all of you on this forum for your help. It makes a difference when you go in to the dealership with some information backing your claim. In this instance, headlights turning on at night.


    I know there are many on the "Vibe" sponsored forums complaining about dead batteries in the cold. They may want to look into the headlight problem as well, not just battery problems.


    Thanks again!
  • 98clru98clru Member Posts: 1
    I gently pried sensor out of dash, and removed the smoke colored cover. It is much better, but still goes full headlights in brighter light than I would like.


    The sensor is installed by just connecting to wires and pushing into place, simple tension retainer. Be gentle! The dash is still hard for me to see in bright daylight, but much easier to see than it was when the sensor dimmed dash lights when the headlights were activated!
  • airheadairhead Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 Vibe and the display light on the stereo just burned out---repair cost from dealer is $580 because the whole unit has to be replaced. Has anyone else had this happen?
  • bheiny3bheiny3 Member Posts: 4
    I don't have a solution for you - but half of the display in our 2000 Montana burned out last spring. When the dealer told me how much it would cost (over $400, and yes the ehtire unit would have to be replaced) I decided I could live with the half lighted display. On my new 2005 Vibe I got a month ago, I noticed it has almost the same identical unit as the Montana - display and controls, et al. So I have that to look forward to, probably in a couple of years - probably on both vehicles. I will be interested in any other replies you get that might actually give a better repair solution.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Member Posts: 1,060
    Isn't your vibe still under warranty?
  • airheadairhead Member Posts: 3
    No, the warranty expired---it has 56,000 miles (mostly freeway). They tried to suggest that the light burned out prematurely because I was in and out of the car a lot, but I drive 40 miles each way to work so I don't think that's a valid argument. I wonder if it might have to do with the daylight sensor turning the dashlights on and off all the time. I saw a different dealer today who told me that a lot of the car's functions (i.e. powder door locks) run through the radio wiring. I was considering going to Circuit City and having a better radio put in for much less money but now I'm wondering if that's even a possibility.
  • tieratiera Member Posts: 3
    :confuse:I am having the same problem with my 2003 vibe. This is the first year it started doing this. I wake in the morning after it froze outside and my battery is dead because the light turned on automatically in the night. No dealer knows what Im talking about so any info would be greatly apprieciated
  • tieratiera Member Posts: 3
    iam having the problem with the vibes lights turning on all by themselves, do you have any word of advice for me because the dealer has no idea what Im talking about
  • tieratiera Member Posts: 3
    do you think you could tell me what switch it was that had to be replaced to fix your lights coming on because mine are doing the same thing.
  • forrest4forrest4 Member Posts: 1
    did you get a reply on what switch had to be replaced to fix your lights coming on .........ours does the same thing. It if know please reply
  • revilerevile Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem about headlights coming on in the cold. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • larsilarsi Member Posts: 2
    Hi, I purchased a 2003 Vibe last week . . . I had the same headlight problem this past Friday evening. My poor husband saw lights on the shed and thought Aliens were landing ;). I Also found there was no power sunday morning, but by the afternoon (warmed up) the electrical system worked fine. My dealer did not seem to be aware of this problem. Did you ever receive any additional information regarding this issue?
  • mikey00mikey00 Member Posts: 462
    I am suprised your dealer wasn't aware of the problem. It was very common on early 03 Vibes. He most likely didn't look very hard for an answer. I think it was the Daytime Running Module (DRL Module) that fixes the problem. Out of warranty the dealer gets over $200 to replace this or if you are handy it can be had at gmpartsdirect for about $60. Somone once said a temporary way to prevent this from happening is to put the highbeams on and turn the auto headlight switch to off. I don't know if this works but it is worth a try.
  • larsilarsi Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info. I printed off some of the Vibe headlight complaints I found on the internet yesterday, and brought them to the dealer. By then they had the information regarding this issue from GM. They explained that the "multi-function stick" the stick with the headlight controls and turn signal was the culprit. In really cold weather a plastic part shrinks so bad that it trips contacts and turns your headlights on. They were kind enough to fix it without charging me :) .

    I did find that during the bitter cold, turning the brights on caused the daytime running lights to turn off, and because the car was turned off, the brights did as they were supposed to and remained off . . . resulting in all lights being off ;).
  • mjb56mjb56 Member Posts: 170
    Our 05 Vibe (Base) has had the battery die on 3 different occasions in the last month. The dealer is saying that the radio tends to draw a lot of power and that playing it while the car is off can kill the battery. I find this hard to believe that 20 minutes of radio play will kill a battery. Has anyone else had this experience?
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Member Posts: 470
    '03 Matrix with the original battery. Have waited for kids at various events many times with engine off and radio on with no ill effects. Have they changed your battery, or just charged up the same one 3 times now?
  • ronald711ronald711 Member Posts: 44
    It sounds like you have some dead cells, and your Battery is not holding a charge very well. If you goto Sears they can test your battery by putting loads on the battery and checking the voltage drop.
  • mjb56mjb56 Member Posts: 170
    They finally decided to replace our battery, though the analysis showed it was fine. No problems since then. We'll be closely monitoring but I suspect the old one had some bad cells. The dealership is saying that the modern alternators do not charge unless there is a draw detected and then you must drive quite some time to re-charge fully. I still think it was a bad battery. Otherwise the car is great. Good mpg, fun to drive, versatile. Hope this ends this episode.
  • thorshamthorsham Member Posts: 2
    Anyone ever replace the light bulb for the gear shift selector for a automatic vibe? Before I start trying to remove the plastic cover I'd to see if anyone has an easy way.
  • chuck1chchuck1ch Member Posts: 15

    I heard a crunching noise in the shifter about a year ago which lasted about a week or so. Then I noticed no light in the gear shift letters. Posted are request for help then. No one has come up with a simple repair.
  • vmkcasteelvmkcasteel Member Posts: 1
    any body know how to change the fusible link for the alternator on my '03 vibe?
  • spwhitehurstspwhitehurst Member Posts: 1
    We have a 2000 Pontiac Vibe. Recently, three of four electric door locks quit working. The only one that works is the driver's door. We tried replacing the battery in the keys, but it didn't help. From inside the car, when we push the button on the door to lock the doors, again, only the driver's door works.

    Any ideas?
  • ghdrtghdrt Member Posts: 1
    I need to replace the tag or license light on vibe. I see an access panel on the hatch but I am not sure how to remove the panel without distroying it. Does anyone have any suggestions
  • n2hon2ho Member Posts: 5
    I saw the description with photos of how to replace license lights on http://forums.genvibe.com/zerothread?id=21999.
    Check it out.
  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    Anyone try replacing this bulb yet?
    I have the 2003 Vibe with 74k miles....

    Here's what I did.
    Looked at owners manual.

    Take off the black cover - you press the smaller middle part on the fasteners and the outer part come out, I learned this on my old COrolla years back, and the Vibe manual do not tell you.

    I remove the two screws.

    NOW, I try to take off the light asembly as shown in the manual, and I can't pry this off!!

    - I used a butter knive around some of the edges, but the plastic looks like it will crack.

    - I pull on both sides with equal pressure - and still think I wil crack it.

    I cannot see anymore clips etc.

    Please help me replace the 3rd stop light bulb aka stop light buld aka high mount on the hatch stop light bulb.

    Bulb info -
    Center High Mounted Stop Light Part number = 921
  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    OK - So I'll reply to my own posted question....

    After taking off the black overcover, I used a screwdriver and pried up the little red tabs and voila, the red cover came off, the bulb was replaced...last step - throw out the owners manual...
  • geneva26geneva26 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone had to change a fuse for the instrument panel, specifically the CD/Radio? My friend plugged her car cell phone charger into the cigarette lighter on the dash and then the cd/radio went dead. The cd player will still eject cds though and the clock lights up when a button is pressed. In my user manual it says that the fuse box for the instrument panel is below the instrument panel, but neither I or my fiancé could find it. It seems like such an easy small thing to change that I don't really want to take it to the shop unless I have to.
  • mir0slavmir0slav Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone ever replaced light bulb from the reading light by moonroof? There's a screw and I unscrewed it but wasn't able to remove plastic cover. :sick:
  • archerd2archerd2 Member Posts: 1
    I have that crunching noise also and it happens on and off. More on that off. I thought something was stuck in or was caught in the shifting column. Now my light as gone black also. Very strange and I have not taken to a dealer to look at because I thought it might be a fuse.
    Have you had any luck?
  • whatthedeucewhatthedeuce Member Posts: 1
    just replaced the battery in 2003 vibe. i left the car running and removed the old battery (wont hold charge) and put the new battery in. i connected the negative lead. right before i connected the positive lead, the car stalled. positive lead was never grounded that i know of. now when i try to jump the car, i get a spark when connecting jumper cables across my battery, but i dont even get lights in the car. i used this same jumper cables and friends car to jump earlier in the day to go buy a battery, and it worked fine. i dont think its the alternator, because i should have lights anyway when jumped to friends battery. dont have enough money to get the car towed to a shop, so i want to try to fix this on my own. i have a good suspicion that its a fuse or grounding problem, but i dont know which it could be.
  • ddavis69ddavis69 Member Posts: 1
    Yes I have 2003 Vibe and that just happened to me. The dealer said he would have to replace the radio.
  • koz39koz39 Member Posts: 2
    :sick: The driver's side door on my 04 vibe won't lock or unlock with the keyless entry. All the other doors will. Is this a common problem with the car? Do I need a new switch or is it as simple as getting a new battery for the remote? Any advice would be helpful.
  • rhenry27rhenry27 Member Posts: 1
    Hi I have a 2004 PV all in all it has been a great car but yesterday the blower quit all of a sudden no noise no vibration just quit. I tried to find the fuse for the heater or defroster but it was not labeled in the owners manual or on the fuse covers. I don't know if that is the problem or not. If anyone has had this problem I would certainly like to hear your suggestions.
  • cindasagnescindasagnes Member Posts: 1
    I found this message and it is the same problem I have been having. How did you solve it? THe reading light on my sun roof is out. I unscrewed the srew and can't open the cover to cahnge bulb or fix. Thanks Cinda
  • nikanacnikanac Member Posts: 4

    I own a 2006 Pontiac Vibe. I take extremly good care of my car and recently had a collison with a 100 lbs deer, doing about 40 mph. I hit the deer in the very front head on. My air bags failed to deploy. After shutting my car off and then starting it the check engine light popped in. So when I drove my car home and then to the collison repair place it was determined that my computer fried. Now my insurance is trying to tell me that the computer frying is not accident related. Can they do that?
    We check recalls and the manufacturer and there were no "known" problem areas with the Pontiac Vibes. I still owe a good 15k on my vibe.

    Has anyone experienced then or does anyone have any advice?

    Waiting tranportationless

  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    It's either covered under warranty, or it's covered with the accident. Get the dealership and the insurance company on the phone together.
  • LuzerLuzer Member Posts: 119
    My 2003 Vibe has been burning thru headlights. I have 3 burn out within the last 15 months now. This is always the one where I have to remove the battery. The other side had one burned out - that's okay. The brand I got was sylvania. They were supposed to be double life....
    I changed over to a single life GE one a few months ago - hope that one works better. So is it the bad bulb or is there a problem in the system?
    No headlight problem until 3 + years....

    About 6 months ago, the recir button problem came up. With the light off (fresh air), there was a clicking sound...I removed the glove box and promptly broke one of the tabs for the interior air filter. The user manual shows you how to lift up...I read a post here to push down on the tabs...since it was dark, I did not pursue this any further. However, I did feel the duct flap trying to go into the open position.
    I did a quick search here on the forum and read that this is due to a motor module, or a gear missing teeth. I guess I'll have to wait for Spring to look deeper into this - it's cold outside. Also saw again the option of buying a furnace filter and cutting it into 8" x 8" instead of an OEM part.

    Other problem is a broken Fog Lamp cover - can't just replace the bulb - it'll just go out pretty quick.

    Otherwise, 84K miles and going real good..
    Syn blend oil every 4 - 5 months (7000miles +/-)
    regular gas - 29mpg mix driving (28 if I go fast, like 80mph)
    No more rotten smell - not sure when it stopped, but noticed it went away one day (after 60K miles give or take) Again, that smell was under hard acceleration like starting a climb.

    Snow tire sale on tirerack on the blizzack revo
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