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NHTSA — Exterior Lighting: Headlights: High/Low Beam Dimmer Switch Problems


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,244 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Buick Century lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Buick Century Owner Comments

problem #8

Aug 192003

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


The contact own a 2003 Buick Century. The contact was driving 35 mph when the headlights failed sporadically. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who advised replacing the dimmer switch at the contact's expense. The vehicle was not under recall. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 120,000. Updated 12/30/10 updated 01/07/11.

- Bridgeport, NY, USA

problem #7

Nov 182008


  • 98,000 miles
2003 Buick Century headlights go out while driving. The lights would come back on by flicking the dimmer switch. Extremely dangerous. I was informed it could possibly be the body control module or dimmer switch.

- Carthage, NC, USA

problem #6

Dec 162007

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles
While driving home from work one evening recently, I attempted to dim my lights for an oncoming vehicle and was shocked to find I had no low beams. I only had highbeams. Had to replace the dimmer switch, which of course operates everything else. About a month ago, my lights went out for about 30 seconds, then no problems until I lost my low beams.

- Vanceboro, ME, USA

problem #5

Nov 222007

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


At times when use the dimmer switch on my 2003 Buick Century, the head lights go our completely. When I reflick the dimmer switch, the lights will come back on, this proposes a dangerous situation, esp. If one doesn't know that reflicking the switch will solve the problem. The situation is even more dangerous in the late twilight, which is what happened w/ my wife. She drove several miles before arriving home, completely unaware that she was driving w/O headlight. I just retrieved my Buick from the repair shop, where they installed an entire unit for me at a cost of $500. More than likely this problem has occurred with other Century owners. The repair cost was bad enough, but the situation could have been deadly, if I had not detected the problem and had it repaired.

- Hodgenville, KY, USA

problem #4

May 102007

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While operating vehicle at night I went to use my high beams, low beams operated fine. However, when I activated high beams, all headlights went off, causing me to rapidly slow down and pull to side of road. As pulling to side of road I turned off the high beams, and low beams came back on. This happened several times. This obviously very dangerous. I took car to a car repair shop, and they advised me to check for any vehicle/equipment recalls. I tried looking for recalls, but could not find any. Repair shop was insistent that we checked with you before they do any work because it might be covered if a recall was issued. The consumer stated wants to know the status of his complaint.

- Holley, NY, USA

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problem #3

Dec 042006

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,950 miles
Headlight high beams would randomly turn off leaving no visibility for night driving. This occurred on several occasions. Switching back to low beams provided light. Brought vehicle to GM dealership and it was unable to duplicate the problem. Dealership suggested that a remedy might be to replace the multi function switch or blinker switch. This replacement was done on 12/11/06 at a cost of $682.02.

- Sterling, MA, USA

problem #2

Jul 012006

Century 6-cyl

  • miles
Bright lights quit working when driving, resulting in total darkness when driving at night, until dimmer switch was activated. Local Buick garage replaced entire dimmer unit from steering column. (switch 2.485)

- Billings, MT, USA

problem #1

Mar 082006

Century 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles
: the contact stated while switching the headlights from low beam to high beam they temporarily go out. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The dealer determined the headlight dimmer switch was faulty and offered to replace; however, the contact declined.

- Oswego, NY, USA

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