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I have a 2005 Toyota Camry. The auto headlights stay on about 20 minutes after turning the car off. This MAY have started when I replaced the alternator, but I can't say for certain. Any ideas on what I should try to do?

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  • Is this happening every time you exit the vehicle? I've read some posts elsewhere which was stating if the driver side door is not opened after the key is removed, the lights will stay on indefinitely. Also, there should be a setting which would allow you to adjust the timer for how long the lights stay on. This, I believe, would be done through the dash. Just throwing it out there. Nov 20, 2023 at 13:04

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Your best friend, the owner's manual, has the answer. Page 102 in this case.

You have the headlight switch in "position 2 Auto" and the car thinks that a door or the trunk has been left open. It's leaving the headlights on because it thinks you're loading / unloading the car or something, but to preserve the battery it's cutting the lights off after 20 minutes as promised in the manual.

If a door or the trunk are not actually ajar, you may have a defective door or trunk switch. Check your dome light when all doors are closed. Have someone close the trunk with you in it so you can see if the light stays on. (Be careful who you trust to let you out . . . .)

If you replaced your alternator because your battery kept dying, the issue may have been this all along. A continuous drain from a dome or trunk light can certainly kill a battery over time, especially if the car is driven infrequently.

2005 Toyota Camry manual excerpt here, pp 102 - 103.

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  • Thank you. To add to the context, the trunk was damaged a few years ago in an accident. Recently the trunk would not latch shut and I had to remove the bulb in the trunk because it would not go off. Next time I will read the manual first! :-) Nov 20, 2023 at 14:58
  • @BigRedBettaFish If you can find the trunk lid switch and disconnect it, that should solve the problem.
    – MTA
    Nov 20, 2023 at 15:11

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