View Full Version : Spare Tire Light stays on ????

12-25-03, 07:16 PM
Can someone tell me why my spare tire light stays on? This light is located under the rear bumper, between the spare tire compartment and the bumper.
I have had trouble with my (brand new) battery draining after 8-9 days. I am hoping this is the problem. Just found it this afternoon....
However, I have no idea what actually activates this tire light so that I can turn it OFF. !!!!
Is it part of the park light system, headlight switch or what?
Any help would be appreciated.

Merry CHRISTmas everyone.
Mike J.
:confused :confused

12-25-03, 08:41 PM
It is on a timer and should shut off along with your interior lights. It stays on for about 15 seconds or so after the car is shut off and the doors are closed.

It has been referred too as a "walk around light" too, ;)

12-26-03, 05:17 AM
And remember that interior light stays on when the dimmer command of the dashboard is turned to the max... ;)

12-26-03, 08:53 AM
I know about the dimmer function on the headlight switch, thanks very much. It has been on the "minimum" setting since the onset of my battery drain problem.
What started as a courtesy light problem (staying on for an extended period) now looks like a relay problem , the spare tire light staying on is the proof of the battery drain as I have removed the bulbs from all interior courtesy lights.
Taking out the garbage last night I found that light on, several hours after I had taken my daughter-in-laws for a CHRISTmas ride in lil red.
Come to think of it, this is the first time taking out the garbage has "paid off" . Looks like I'll be changing this relay soon.
QUESTION: Where is this relay located ? I remember one posting saying it's behind the glovebox??????.
Thanks, Mike J.

12-26-03, 09:52 AM
Yes, the timer is behind the glove box, on the rigth side juste above the cables. It is an orange box with a printed circuit in it.

I have changed mine for a new printed circuit developped by a friend. It makes the light come on or off gradually like modern cars do, and has a battery saving function : If you let the doors open, light comes off after 2 minutes.

12-26-03, 12:07 PM
Hi there.

There is a courtesy light delay timer that controls all the lights you have mentioned. It is a transistorized unit about the size of a small box of matches. When it fails, it will make your interior lights inoperable with the door jamb switches. Or, it will fail by keeping everything ON all the time.

It is located in the harness that runs on the door jamb of the passenger side. Take out the glove box insert (several phillips screws) and reach down to the right. You will feel it right away because it will be very warm. If you unplug it, your all your courtesy lights will go out, as operated by the door jamb switches. But the headlight switch will still turn on the courtesy lights if required.

The delay module has a small circuit board containing three transistors and a power transistor, which is usually the culprit. A replacement can be bought from ZIP Products for $51, a pretty fair price.

Good luck.


01-15-04, 04:02 PM
I just bought a new one(courtesy light delay module) from one of our members here on this site- he works for a GM dealer. My cost was $47 including shipping- can't beat a price like that .Thanks Dave for the help and was good to meet you . Aint life grand?
If you need this relay, shoot me an email and I'll get you in touch with Dave.

01-15-04, 04:12 PM
Mike and others ;)

Please take a look at the homepage of the L81VetteRegistry (http://www.L81VetteRegistry.com) toward the bottom of the page: “The Parts Connection” ;)

01-15-04, 04:28 PM
Hey Bud, I was unaware of "The Parts Connection" on this site- but you can bet I'll use it from now on. It so happens that Dave emailed me some time ago and offered to help me with the new part. Just another reason why this is such a GREAT site for 81 owners-everyone working together for the one vehicle we all love.
Thanks for making me , and others aware of this extra swell service. And again- thanks Dave for the part at a great price. :w

Dave L.
01-18-04, 08:15 PM
No problem Mike.It was nice talking with you the other day.

01-21-04, 11:05 AM
May I ask a question ?

Some friends having a C3 have tested and liked my "progressive" light timer. They asked me if I could build some of them. Mine is only a prototype, and it works very well. If I can find at least 10 persons interrested in it, I can have a small serie of them built. I have already 3 here in France.

So, I would like you to sit in your 81'Vette, observe the light go off and on, and think about that : Wouldn't it be more comfortable if it was progressive ? If you could have it for only $45, would you order it ?

01-25-04, 11:31 AM
Thanks to Burglar, I have installed my new "courtesy light timer" today and the system is back to normal, even repaired the glove box light while I was at it. Thanks Dave for the good price on the new timer and taking care of my needs.
I have the old timer in my hand if someone wants it for repairs, drop me an email at : sowtrout@eatel.net.
GM part # 46-3498
the old one held the lights "on" at all times.

Dave L.
01-25-04, 09:07 PM
Mike - I'm glad to hear every thing is operating properly now. Glad to help any time! :cool

03-20-04, 07:58 PM
hi, i have a vette with the same problem. the interior lights along with spare tire lights stay on so i unplugged all of them until i could find out what wrong but the car's battery still goes dead after a week or so. could the power going to all of the light sockets still drain the battery after a week or more or is it probably another problem???

03-20-04, 08:11 PM
Its probably another problem, unless you overlooked a bulb. Theres a bulb on each kick panel, one overhead and one under the rear bumper. Dont forget to make sure there's nothing in the cigar lighter too.

Are you sure the battery is good?

If the bulbs are disconnected, there will be no current draw to them. You may also want to check the battery to see if it had a bad cell or 2.

03-20-04, 08:27 PM
no, ive got all the bulbs out and i double checked too. i know the cigarette lighter is on the same circuit and its still in the socket but could that be drawing current? its all the way in the socket but its not pushed down like if you were to get it to heat up or anything. im pretty sure its the timer relay cause the lights never go off but if i fix that you think it will take car of the battery drain problem?

this is the second battery ive been through, i thought at first it was a bad cell for the first one and it was and took it back for another. for about a month after everything was okay and then this timer relay thing, something is drawing current and unfortunatly im away at school and my younger brothers are not mechanically inclined so i gotta wait till im home for easter. no other lights or accesories on stuck on so what do you think might be causing a drain? if you could list a few things i have a digital multi meter to check. hopefully this can send me in the right direction, thanks for the help!

03-21-04, 08:04 AM
zack- to my knowledge, the bulbs are the only thing that would pull the battery down on this delay circuit.You may have another grounded circuit somewhere else on the car. Perhaps someone else could chime in here and tell zack how to check it with his meter.

03-21-04, 09:01 AM
Mine was due to a previous owner who installed an aftermarket stereo system. The battery cables were tied into at several places and the entire battery system was a mess. The battery would take about a week to fully drain, with nothing on. We replaced both cables & all seems to be fine now. Check your cables and make sure you don't have this going on. ;)

03-21-04, 01:12 PM
thanks for all the help, at least now i know where to start looking and hopfully i can find whats going on. ill post back after easter weekend to let everone know how everything went.

one other thing, when the car sits at night i can here something cycling. its hard to explain but sounds like something is opening and closing in the electrical system, i dont know what it is but hopfully someone knows what im talking about.

03-22-04, 10:28 PM
Can you pin-point the area that you hear the cycling?, i.e.: under the hood, under the instrument panel, from the rear end, etc.?

Can think of a few items but would be helpful if you could narrow down the search area. It's possible for the aux.cooling fan motor to cycle as you mentioned, also the electric antenna motor. I recall reading where the main headlights will cycle if they are deployed and a short begins. There's probably a few more items , if you could narrow down the area we can probably help out.

03-22-04, 11:31 PM
i sounds like its coming from the center cousole. its gotta be something that has power to it when the ignition switch is off, unless there is a short circuit. ill have to do a paracitic current drain test to figure out whats going on.

03-23-04, 12:26 AM
this could possibly be the rear window defogger, or the anti-theft relay. Doing the current draw test you mentioned should find whatever it is. Good luck,let us know what you find.

04-13-04, 01:08 PM
Was home for the weekend and got to mess around with the car. I put in the new timer circuit but lights still didnt go off so I sent the new one back to Eckler's and I'm just gonna leave the lights out on that circuit. I checked for an open circuit and found nothing, cause of the battery drain was my lazy brother not keeping a charge on the battery and from not being driven too. My parents dont drive the car, it just sits there and gets an ocasional start-up from time to time, it drives me nutz. I ended up replacing the master cylinder and found the front passenger caliper to be leaking too. I'm looking to sell the car in 1 or 2 years and get a 1997 or up C5, I cant wait!

04-13-04, 01:16 PM
Hey Zack, did you check to see that your headlight pull switch WAS NOT rotated completely counter clockwise-which holds the interior lights in the "on" position? (wait, is that fully clockwise?) Dont remember which way, but one extreme end of the pull knob (twisting) will hold the lights on, regardless of the doors being open or closed. The other extreme end will dull the dash lights to almost zero illumination. There should be a (barely) detectable click that you can feel (not hear) just as this hold is activated....

Check it out !

04-13-04, 10:31 PM
Naa, thats the first thing I checked the first time it was dead. Its not worth messing around with this interior delay crap for me so it is what it is, if I get ambitious I'll tear into it but its fine for now. Thanks