There are a number of fun things that happen when you drive a 15-year-old car. One of which is replacing light bulbs.
One headlight stopped working. Not knowing exactly how old the bulb was (worst case: 15 years), I stopped by the parts store and bought a pair of headlight bulbs.
After I got home, I opened the back of the headlight and started to replace the bulb. Once I finally unplugged the bulb from the connector, I was greeted by a lump of melted and burned plastic. The connector of the wiring harness was partially gone and the terminals were not making a solid connection. I put the new bulb on just for fun but it didn’t fare any better. So I adjusted the terminals on the connector and plugged the old bulb back in. Success! So I left the old bulbs in place.
Since I didn’t trust the connector (something is not right if plastic is melting and charring), I ordered a replacement wiring connector. The bulb stopped working a couple days later again, so I swapped out the old connector for the new connector and the bulb has been fine ever since.
Then a couple weeks later, the turn signal starting blinking rapidly. That usually means one of the bulbs burned out, so I went and bought replacement turn signal bulbs. However, the new bulb didn’t work either.
I put the old bulb back in and it didn’t work. I set the assembly down so I could figure out what was going on and the old bulb started working again. Turns out the wiring harness was a little flaky. The bulb stopped and started working a couple more times as I reinstalled the turn signal assembly. But I got it stable and everything was good.
For a couple days.
Then the turn signal started blinking rapidly again, telling me that the wiring harness flaked out again. So I ordered a replacement turn signal connector and wiring. And I drove for a few days with a bad turn signal while I waited for the equipment to come in the mail.
Finally, the connector arrived. I went out to the car and turned on the signal. I was surprised to see that the front turn signal was fine and the back turn signal was bad. Of course, the back turn signal uses a different bulb than the front. So now I had to stop at the parts store and get a new bulb.
I replaced the back bulb and everything was fine.
So now I have a spare set of headlights and a spare turn signal connector, so I’ll be prepared in case they ever go out.
Moral of the story: diagnose the problem before buying replacement parts, not after.
Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is. Hear it, and know for yourself.