The left headlight on my 2005 Chevy Malibu seems to have a mind of its own. It turns on when I unlock the car, and it also stays on for a bit when I shut the engine off and get out of the car, just like the other headlight. But as soon as I start the car, the left headlight turns off. It refuses to turn on as long as the engine is running.

Attempted Repairs

I have replaced the bulb and the connector, but no results. Which makes sense, clearly the bulb works, and it's getting power, because it works when the engine is off. I don't think it could be the fuse or the wiring harness because, again, clearly the headlight is getting power.


What could the issue be? If it's something expensive or going to be hard to track down, could I just tape a flashlight to the side of the car to avoid being pulled over at night? Does anyone have any tips on how to do so without sending a flashlight through the windshield of the car behind me on the interstate? It's a POS car, so I really don't care about looks.

1 Answer 1


I was not able to find the root of the issue, however, I was able to fix it. What I ended up doing is tapping the fuse for the working headlight (in my case, the right headlight) and connecting it directly to the non-working headlight (in my case, the left headlight).

This would have been an easy task if I could use a fuse tap. However, on the Chevy Malibu (and I'm sure many other cars), the headlight fuses are stuck between several tall relays, and a fuse tap just won't fit. Here's how I made my own fuse tap:

  1. I removed both headlight fuses.

You can find which fuses are which in your car's owner's manual, or sometimes it's printed on the lid of the fuse box.

  1. I took 2 short lengths of wire and stripped the ends.

  2. I melted some solder onto one end of each wire to make them a bit thicker and stiffer.

If you don't have a soldering iron, like me, you can use a butane torch to melt the solder.

  1. I stuck the soldered tips into the right headlight fuse socket, so that both sides of the fuse socket now have a wire plugged into it.

If the tips don't fit into the socket, or they're loose when you stick them in there, you may need to use more or less solder, or use a different gauge of wire. It's really just a bit of trial and error.

  1. I connected a fuse holder such that it connects the open ends of the 2 wires.

  2. I connected another length of wire to the wire coming from the draw side of the fuse socket. This is sort of a 3-way connection because the fuse holder is also connected.

To determine which side is the draw side, turn the headlights on and use a multimeter to determine the voltage on each wire. The wire with the positive voltage is the draw side.

  1. I ran this new wire along the wiper fluid line up to the left headlight, using zip ties to hold the wire in place.

  2. I connected another fuse holder to the end of the new wire.

  3. I connected the new fuse holder to the left headlight wire.

To determine which wire is the headlight wire, locate the wiring harness behind the headlight case. Disconnect each wire one at a time and connect it to the battery positive terminal. Only one should light up the headlight, and that is your headlight wire.

  1. I put the correct size fuse into both fuse holders, and now both headlights should be connected.

The correct fuse size is whatever was being used for the headlight fuses before you started messing with things.

I used soldered connections with heat shrink for protection for all 4 of the connections I mentioned above, but you can use whatever type of connection you like.

You may also need to cut a notch into the fuse box lid for the wires in order to get the lid to clip on all the way.

Both of my headlights work using this method. I hope this can help someone else in the same position.

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