Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car starts and headlights work, nothing else

asked by on

Checked all fuses and nothing is blown, only have power to lights when clicked manually and the car will start. Not really sure what else to check

My car has 250000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

The component that would be common to all systems working would be the ignition switch. Since most accessories like radio,heat,etc, are "key on" circuits - generally only when the key is in the On position. The ignition switch can be one piece - mechanical tumbler portion where the key goes in - and an electrical switch behind it. On some vehicles, it can simply be one piece that incorporates both the mechanical and electrical components. It is possible whichever set up your vehicle uses, that the electrical position of the ignition switch has shorted or worn internally to the point it is not signaling all accessories that the ignition is On.

Since other components like a bad ground can also be the cause, have a certified technician look into the electrical issues before replacing anything to determine the exact fault.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Won't turn over every turn of the key

If the ignition switch itself is defective that could implicate Code P0310, as suggested by the below list of causes (which list includes the ignition circuit) of that code setting. You seem to be describing a circumstance where electrical contact...

Q: My back door or window doesn't work on the passenger side what can I do to resolve that problem

Hi there. If you are having difficulty opening the rear door or rolling down a power window on the same door, it's quite possible that the door lock actuator is stuck or the control module is damaged. It's also possible...

Q: Car shuts down

Hi there. Any time you run the A/C, the car will be reduced in horse power because the A/C runs off of a belt that powers the compressor. If the compressor is failing or was faulty to begin with, this...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...