how to troubleshoot electrical problems, most recent being headlights not working

Asked by Dec 30, 2015 at 03:38 AM about the 1998 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XL 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

1998 ford explorer.  couple years of electrical issues, latest is since using the hazards, my headlights wont work, only parking lights come on when turning on headlight switch..and brights work if I hold them in ON position.   relays? fuses are ok I think... its one thing after another.  door locks first, then windows don't roll down only sunroof works.  stereo volume and display , blinkers don't work, then do work....hazard  now headlights.  I WORK AT NIGHT! I NEED MY CAR !!! CANT SEE!! HLP ME!

2 Answers

21,485

check fuses, their may be fuse box under hood and under dash also, the operator manual for that model would show location ,I don't know where the headlight switch is on a explorer ,but if its integrated with the turn signal switch like some imports ,it could be that unit. although I suspect a fuse. Because your highs only work when you hold them, and that's separate from power to the headlight relay

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20,460

All you can do Amanda is use the owners manual and check all the fuses related to the headlights. I am looking at a generic chassis electrical diagram which covers '91 through 2001 Explorers. To do a proper diagnosis you will need a multi-meter and a diagram to check for power to various relays and switches when lights are turned off and on. This may be beyond your level of expertise. Personally, from looking at the diagram I would suspect the main light switch and/or the multi function switch on the dash. From my diagram, the the fuses may be # 4 and # 8. Holding the high beam switch in the on position seems to indicate a problem with that switch (multi position switch).

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