I have two questions and they may be related, but I'll pose the most important question first. A friend owns a 2006 Chevy Malibu. Recently the running lights began randomly turning on when the car was off. Sometimes they would turn off, otherwise they would stay on and drain the battery. The lights switch is in the off position, and the interior lights are off. Why are they turning on?

Second question, which may be connected. When driving and attempting to turn on the left (I think only left) blinker, the blinker stick (sorry, I'm not sure of the correct name) will not stay in the on position, and needs to be held in the on position for the blinker to work. Why is the blinker stick not staying in the on position?

I hope my questions are clear. I have done some research and found that this year Malibu is within the year groups that have electrical issues causing things like the running lights issue to happen. These issues seem to be traced back to the BCM. With that being said, are there other options for why the lights would turn on other than a faulty BCM? Or are these issues possibly due to poor connection issues?

If the BCM is the cause of the running lights issue, could it also be the cause of the blinker issue as well? I have done some research and it seems that the blinker issue could be caused by a separate issue, a faulty blinker switch.

I hope this makes sense and is the correct thought process to begin diagnosing the issue(s). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the switches in your "turn signal stalk" (the lever on the side of the steering wheel you describe with the "blinker stick" problem) are damaged. This may cause all sorts of lights on/off issues.

The Body Control Module "BCM" on GM cars like your Malibu control every single thing from security, radio codes, cluster (gauges), and ashtray contents. There could be a contribution to your problems by the BCM, but I would fix the turn signal stalk first.

  1. I think you will need schematics and a test light for this one. Basically, it is either going to be the BCM or the switch. If the switch is reading 'on' when it shouldn't, then its the switch. If the switch is reading 'off' and the lights are on, its the BCM. If these are daytime running lights, you will need to determine the logic, but it should be checking the 'keyed power' pin also.
  2. This usually has to do with the springs behind the steering wheel. You will need to remove the airbag also. Start by removing the housing around the steering column to see if you can access it from there.
  • Stalk wiring will not go past the switch module. The slip rings or wiring coil unit Supplemental Restraint System (SRS - "Airbag") are only for steering wheel mounted radio-type controls, the horn, and the airbag module. By 2006, I'm not aware of any vehicle with springs and slip rings behind the steering wheel.
    – SteveRacer
    Jun 3, 2016 at 5:10
  • 1
    @SteveRacer I was referring to the springs/cams used to hold/click off the turn signals. Maybe its a bit different since the ones I've worked on.
    – rpmerf
    Jun 3, 2016 at 10:41
  • Got it... and quite correct. Airbag removal can be a daunting task. If you decide to attempt this repair, please do not store the bag face down while removed from the vehicle.
    – SteveRacer
    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .