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Buick Regal Electrical Problems



  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    It's sad how much dealers charge to work on cars these days. That's why when ever I buy a car from a dealer I opt for the extended warrantee. After the warrantee expires or if it’s something the warrantee doesn’t cover I go else where or fix it myself. In your situation on a 03, a warrantee probably would have been expired anyway.

    Most of the time when I weld on an exhaust system I disconnect the battery to help prevent electrical damage. I haven't heard of welding causing a short in the fuse box but I have heard of it sometimes blowing out the diodes in the alternator. At any rate it would be very hard trying to prove that the welding on your car caused the damage. Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t.

    That fifteen hundred could have helped out with Christmas for sure. Sorry for the bad luck. Hope your holidays get better.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    My 99 Park Ultra Buick back up lights have both failed. I replaced the back up light
    switch and the bulbs and checked the fuse located under the glove box on the
    passenger side. If it is a simple ground where is it for the back up everything else
    all lights work great. I do have a issue with oil pressure light and a gas gauge
    but that is a display issue. Any ideas?
  • I have struggled with and resolved a problem that appears to be very popular among Regal Owners. My 2000 Regal would start up at night and the auto lamps would turn on, but the interior illumination would not light with the exception of very dim lighting on the radio and heater/ac controls.

    The problem is in the connector to the headlamp switch, which has weak terminals. I resolved the problem by removing the IP trim panel, removed the headlight switch, removed each terminal in the connector and tightened the spring tension on the terminal before reinstalling the terminal in the connector. I then sprayed the headlight switch and connector with CRC 5-56 including the potentiometer in the switch, and cycled the switch and dimmer potentiometer several times before reinstalling the connector.

    The process involves removing the black trim that covers the entire center section of the Instrument panel (IP) and trims the center stack (radio and HVAC controls). This trim panel also includes the HVAC vents. Remove the headlight switch. remove the connector from the headlight switch. remove the terminals one-by-one and tighten the spring tension in the terminals.

    I will try to identify each step in the process for others who Undoubtedly have the same issue as I had.

    1. Start at the right side of the Instrument panel and remove the cap covering the fuse panel. It snaps out and you will need to be careful that you remove the clips from the holes without breaking the clips.

    2. The black trim panel has a 7mm head screw on the right side of the IP end cap under the fuse panel cover. Remove that screw.

    3. Remove the similar trim panel from the left end cap of the IP (adjacent to the headlight switch) exposing the headlight switch attachment screws.

    4. Snap the black trim panel off, beginning at the right side The panel will snap out and will need to be rolled down from the top, because the lower edge of the panel has a lip that fits behind the lower IP trim panels. Gently pull the top right side of the panel out, and then work your way toward the center stack and to the left side where the headlight switch is.

    4. Remove the two screws securing the headlight switch bracket to the IP end cap. Slide the headlight switch left, releasing the knob area from the the IP structure. The switch will now roll out of the side cavity of the IP structure.

    5. Once the switch is exposed, remove the connector from the back of the switch.

    6. Note the color and location of each wire in the female connector, to be sure that you locate each terminal in the correct position during reassembly.

    7. Starting at one side of the connector, remove the blue lock tab and carefully release one terminal from the connector cavity using a small flat blade screwdriver and gently pulling the terminal out of the cavity by the wire.

    8. Once the terminal is free from the connector, you can now "GENTLY" bend the half-moon spring area of the terminal closing the gap where the male blade fits into the female terminal.

    9. Reinsert the terminal into the correct cavity of the connector and move to the next terminal.

    10. Once the terminals are all tightened and the connector is reassembled, spray CRC 5-56 or electrical contact cleaner into the headlight switch and cycle the switch on and off a few times. Also cycle the dimmer potentiometer a few times.

    11. Spray the female harness connector terminals with CRC before making the connection to the headlight switch.

    12. Carefully reconnect the connector to the headlight switch, paying attention to insert the connector straight into the switch so that the terminals are not forced open as the connector is inserted.

    13. Test the switch to insure that all lighting functions are present, including manually cycling the headlights and checking the dimmer potentiometer.

    14. Reassemble the switch to the IP,reinstall the trim panel along with the IP side covers.

    15. DONE!!!

    I also have a floating fuel gage and low temp position that I will tackle and post here in the near future.

    E-mail me at [email protected] if you have any questions. Good Luck.
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    I had to replace my headlight switch a couple of years ago because of the same thing. Best I remember, I was able to remove and replace the switch by going through the left end of dash. I was impressed on how easy it was to replace I remember that. :shades:
  • My wife's 01 Regal is doing this as well. She said she tried to start the car yesterday and got a brief flash of the dash lights and such that are normal when she starts it, but then the power cut out or something. Following gnielsen's advice with the screwdriver to push up the solenoid rod I was able to get the key out, but it appears that something's draining her battery (this has been going on for the last month, and we replaced the battery last week thinking the cold was killing it). Is the solenoid causing the battery depletion or is it being caused BY battery depletion? While trying to jump her car last night, the passenger side light on the rearview mirror was flickering dimly like it was haunted. My first thought is to replace the ignition switch, but that's just a shot in the dark, otherwise I'll have to remove fuses and find the possible short. :confuse:
  • I had this, does the security light come on if it does get them to check the resistor, mine had a hair line crack so only did when damp out. Or until the sun came out really strong, then the car started every time. I put in a new starter, new body control module, new key and this resistor was the last thing check after a check of all the wiring harness, because it had already had the by pass they figured the resistor was good. Not cost me over a thousand to fix an eight dollar part.
  • I recently acquired a pretty clean 1980 Buick Regal with a rebuilt 350 Olds Rocket. The motor & trans is all new-the car original 62,000 miles. This car was done right and never had a problem in the short time I have owned it. The other day coming home from the gas station the radio went out. Next morning no power to the starter-wipers-electric windows-seats-nothing. I get a beeping when the key is in but no clicks from the starter-nothing. The headlights work-dashlights-but that's it. Battery is good-light works under the hood-etc,,, The dual headers wrap the starter very tight and I would have to literally remove the header-disconnect it-release the driver side motor mount and jack it up to get to the starter-theres no other wat. (Starters on the drivers side on this motor). I would hate to emgage in all this work to find out it's a module or something else-ignition switch-etc,,, What could I do to test the ignition switch-troubleshoot it from the top end before I do all the other stuff ? I checked the fuses-nothing is blown that I can tell. Any helps appreciated-I'm missing a leg and it'sdamd cold to be laying under that car. Thanks for any help.
  • I definitely have this issue also. I have no lights/power in the morning, but when the sun comes out it will start every time! Where is this resistor you mentioned? I was actually talking to a dealer about a new key already. I would greatly appreciate a quick inexpensive fix!
  • Not sure if we're having the same problem-I have lights but that's about it-a beeping when lights are on and keys out of the ignition-a beeping when lights are off and left key in ignition. (Reminders to turn lights off and take keys out). I am getting power to starter and I jumped the starter cross connecting the two terminals on starter-the solenoids ok too-it cranks over. I now have it narrowed down to either inline burnt fuses wherever they are in the wiring harness-or it could definately be. It seems there's no definate shortage on things that don't work when the neutral starting switch is bad-some people have just no power to the starter-some have radios wipers and other stuff that dont work along with the no starting issues. Check your starter-make sure your getting power to it with a test light-if so then cross your terminals to see if you get a starter that cranks. If so-neither one will be bad and then you can narrow it down to that switch or burnt wires somewhere on the return to the ignition switch. They all look different and I am not sire exactly where mine is at-probably above the steering column somewhere. If yours is a standard trans (clutch & gears) your switch will be right behind the clutch pedal somewhere a button style switch that stops it from starting unless the clutch is pressed in activating the switch. Hope this helps ya.
  • Ok, I have read all the posts from beginning to end. Aside from the few others.. the main issues are all related to ignition switch...

    I have bought my 2000 Regal 2 years ago. Early last summer I noticed that my key would not unlock after I turned my engine off. Having to wait for a "click" or starting my car up and hopeing it unlocks during my next attempt. This issue I ignored.. occured off and on.

    Then sometime in October I was driving and made a right hand turn shortly after that turn my car died. Everything "flickered" and lost power. Started it up, sweated a bit. This issue I ignored.. occured very few times.. maybe 5 since than.

    Then early last week. My car started going through the "wont unlock" after shuting down phase, but something else occured when I went to start the car again... the car started freakin out, all the dash lights started flickering again and by than i had the key turned to turn over the car but it didnt start. Quickly nervously i shut the car off (yes the key unlock). Thinking this was my imagination... i tried again... It started, phew!. Then on Friday I was parked at the bank and went to start my car up again same freak out it had earlier last week. Im too stubborn after about 1/2 hour of persistance, the car started like nothing happend.

    Than I looked up known issues with buick regals and found this site. Getting my ignition cylinder swapped out. Lesson learned? Dont buy cars with ghey anti theft chips embedded in the key that wear out and screw with your power. Before doing this expensive fix clean your key off, might tide you over till it absolutely fails.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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-westPosts: 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 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-westPosts: 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 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 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.
  • 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-westPosts: 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?
  • 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
  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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....
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