On my 1996 Ford Explorer when I turn the knob for my headlights (3 positions, 1 for off, 2 for parking lights, 3 for headlights) to position 2 it turns on my headlights, when I turn to position 3 it also activates the headlights.

Why does position 2 engage the head lights instead of the parking lights?

  • I'd suggest the switch is probably worn out, but that would be a SWAG on my part. Apr 23, 2016 at 22:31
  • SWAG? -- How would I check the switch? Apr 23, 2016 at 22:32
  • Does the car have Auto Lamps? Is there a sensor on the rear view mirror? It could be a switch or the car is designed to do this.
    – Ben
    Apr 23, 2016 at 22:33
  • 1
    Those Ford rotary switches tend to break and do just that. Thankfully its really cheap to replace and you can do it yourself. This is the switch: justanswer.com/uploads/FordKnowledge/… Here is how to do it: youtube.com/watch?v=ROLzKlwSb68 The part:ebay.com/itm/…
    – race fever
    Apr 23, 2016 at 22:37
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    To test the switch, it get's power from the tan/white wire, in park lamp it sends power to the white/light blue wire, and in head lamp position it sends power to white/light blue & red/yellow wires.
    – Ben
    Apr 23, 2016 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


I suspect the contacts in the light switch are shorted.

In a correctly working switch,

  • In the off position you wouldn't have power on white/light blue or red/yellow.
  • In the park lamp position it would only have power on the white/light blue wire.
  • In the Head lamp position it sends power to the red/and white/light blue wire.

If none of these are true than the switch is bad.

You could also disconnect the switch connector and jump power from tan/white to white/light blue and if the headlights come on than the problem isn't in the switch but in the wiring.

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