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sprinkles08, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 22813
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced level certified. Factory trained with 15 years dealership experience
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Mazda MX-5 Miata: The battery went dead on my 93 Miata. I

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The battery went dead on my '93 Miata. I charged it back up and re-installed it. When I attached the positive battery cable, the headlights popped-up, the running lights too!! No doubt, a short somewhere -- but this has never happened before. Where's the best place to start??

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!


This is most likely the reason that the battery originally died.


The park lamps and headlamps are controlled by separate relays, the headlamp actuator being controlled by yet another relay which is powered by the headlamp relay. Since both the park lamp and headlamp relays are obviously being turned on, this tells us that either there is a short on the control circuits between the headlamp switch and the relays (possible but unlikely) or the headlamp switch has simply failed and is turning both relays on. It's very likely that the problem is the switch itself. I would recommend unplugging the headlamp switch, if the lights go off then replace the switch.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is THIS the switch you're referring-to?



It looks like they're describing a newer car. On your 1993 the switch is serviced as an assembly with the clockspring so replacing it requires removal of the airbag and steering wheel. Here is a picture or it.

To unplug the switch you wouldn't have to remove the steering wheel or airbag though, you would just have to access the connector.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So, if it turns out the switch IS the problem, I'm looking at a $325 replacement part PLUS the labor for removing and replacing the steering wheel and air bag, correct?


That's correct. It calls for .8 hour to replace the switch so you shouldn't pay more than one hour at whatever the shop's hourly labor rate is.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, since it's now pouring rain outside, I'll wait til tomorrow to see if I can figure out how to unplug the switch. When I unscrewed the two halves of the bezel earlier today, the switch didn't look to be readily "unplugable"...

The wiring leaves the switch and the connectors will be a few inches from the switch itself. In the link I sent earlier you can see the connectors and how much wiring there is between the switch and connectors to be able to just how far away they'll be from the switch.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, thanks. So it took Mazda how many years thereafter to figure out that maybe a "combo switch that required pulling off the steering wheel and cost $350 wasn't such a great idea: Later models are probably a 30-minute job with a $35 switch!


You've been a GREAT help! If I can, I'd like to hold off on rating all this until I know this has solved the problem...

Thank you!!


If you replaced it with an actual Mazda part it costs nearly $500, not a good design at all. Luckily the aftermarket ones are quite a bit cheaper.

You can rate my performance at any time and it does not cut off communication. Good luck with it and let me know how it goes!
sprinkles08 and 6 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I asked this of you last week but received no reply. Which of the five plugs on the assembly do I need to disconnect to check if it's the headlight switch: ALL of them?

It looks like one of your replies must have been lost then.

I'm a full time tech and tied up at work this afternoon, I'll get back with you as quickly as I can.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, thanks. I assume you understand my question. Simply, the part shown at the link you sent shows a "combo switch" with turn signal, lights, windshield wiper, etc. all combined into one expensive assembly. The assembly has, I believe, five separate snap-together plugs. Will I be able to tell which one is the headlight plufg pr do I need to undo all five plugs? Thank you.

The headlamp switch connector should be a 7 way connector and have an orange, red, red/black, black, red/yellow, red/blue, and a red/green wire.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Wow! That's quite the connector! I'll give it a try and hope, after taking apart the steering column "clamshell," it gives me enough room to pull that connector apart.... Thanks again!

You're welcome!