Headlight Failure


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
67,164 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. took it too garage (1 reports)
  3. wiring harness corrosion: wire guage too small & water (1 reports)
2003 Pontiac Sunfire lights problems

lights problem

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2003 Pontiac Sunfire Owner Comments

problem #4

Aug 012012

Sunfire XL 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


At 87000 miles (139000km) the left headlight turned dim. Both day running and night modes - same problem. I assume it is something to do with a cable connection somewhere

- , London, Ontario, Canada

problem #3

Mar 032010

Sunfire ES 2.2L 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 103,676 miles

First after People telling me about there problems with Pontiac Sunfire,I got one thinking i would be safe.I have had the car for 3 Years now,no Problems at first, but for the past 2 years i have had Different Problems such as the lights Flicking on and Off like a damn strobe light,And complete Failure to the passenger Headlight.Thinking that it was burnt out,I went to Crappy Tire, and bought a low beam and high beam light bulbs,after installing them still doesn't work.I have had Blinker+Brake Lights in the Rear burning out,leaving a burning smell in the trunk.I have had this worked on by 2 different Mechanics and they have replaced some wiring,works for few months and than it's FUBAR once again.I give up on this Piece of Shitz,wish they would recall the damn cars,just get them of the streets.

Update from Mar 20, 2010: Well new Update,bought new light bulbs 47.00 and took it to Crappy Tire they charged me 48.00 dollars labour for 1 hr work and the cost of the PART(PIECE OF WIRE)1.97......so total price $96.97....for a Goddamn recurring problem....Funny thing is i told the Mechanic what the problem was and where to find it and it took him still little over 1 hr.I was talking to a friend here and she had the same problem with her Sunfire,her Mechanic has 3 sunfires himself and they have all had the same problem with the front wires that lead from headlight to headlight.

- , Oromocto, N.B, Canada

problem #2

Apr 192007

(reported on)

Sunfire SL 2.2 L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,651 miles

this is more of a warning than a complaint. i live in newfoundland canada and it's a pretty salty environment, both from the sea and the road salt. one of the wires leading from the fuse box to the left headlight corroded resulting in low wattage in the light. the local gm dealer told me that it "sometimes happens" but not always. the biggest problem is not the problem itself, but the time it takes to find it. the mechanic (whom i know personally) told me " 2 hours to find, 20 minutes to fix". all in all it cost me 275$ Canadian to fix and 3 1/2 hours of my time sitting around the dealership. most of the cost was labour! they also told me that the other light could suffer from the same problem. this has been a hassle because you can't drive safely at night.

overall my 2003 sunfire has been worry free but this is a warning to anyone in a similar environment or suffering from the same problem. this could get costly and be time consuming.

- , Grand Bank, Nfld, Canada

problem #1

Jan 182009

Sunfire SE 2.2L I4

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,331 miles

The front wiring harness on my 2003 Pontiac Sunfire 2 door has failed for the 4th time due to corrosion of the obviously-too-small guage wiring and inappropriate placement and water-proofing of the wiring harness and connectors. Headlight(s) or foglight(s) typically either fail outright, or dim to about 10% intensity, caused by corrosion in the wires and connectors. Previous failures of this wiring harness affecting both headlights and/or foglights occurred in Jan 2005, Jan 2006, and Jan 2007, and were repaired by removal of corroded wire sections and re-splicing of wires. Discussions with both GM and independent mechanics confirm my suspicions of similar failures in many other Sunfires and Cavaliers. I agree with a lifelong mechanic who says the only proper solution is a complete rewiring job.

This is an extreme hazard as complete headlight failure or dimming can happen any time without warning. A dead of night failure anywhere, in the city, near a school, or on a country road as happened to my daughter's friend in her Sunfire, cannot be construed as anything other than life-threatening; fog light and headlight failure at any other time is dangerous. If the failure of Sunfire/Cavalier rear brake and turn lights warranted a 2004 recall, then surely this equally or more threatening chronic problem deserves one. Why this has not been addressed already is beyond me.

GM has acknowledged the problem by issuing a series of TSBs over the years on this problem: #03018, #0309, #030842002, #021903, and the NHTSA has been apprised of them.

I am a hobby mechanic who has spent 45 years building and racing powerboats and working on and restoring cars. I know a design fault when I see one. This issue MUST be addressed before someone is killed or seriously injured. The suspect wiring harnesses should be recalled and replaced, rather than waiting for them to fail (time and time again) and then making splices to the wiring and cleaning up the connectors.

- , Rockwood, Ontario, Canada

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