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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks, my newly purchased 03 Pilot headlight is always on when car is on.

Is this normal behavior, like a DRL? However, it does not seem like it is a DRL, since its full brightness. If not, how can I manually turn off the headlights and just manually turn it on at night time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Does the headlight control switch not work?
It is in the off position but the headlights still automatically turn on whenever the car is on.

I tried to leave it in the “on” position, and of course the headlight is also on. Leaving it in the “on” position would also turn off after the car is shut off; that’s fine.
Just don’t know why the headlights are on whenever the car is on during the daytime
 

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It is in the off position but the headlights still automatically turn on whenever the car is on.

I tried to leave it in the “on” position, and of course the headlight is also on. Leaving it in the “on” position would also turn off after the car is shut off; that’s fine.
Just don’t know why the headlights are on whenever the car is on during the daytime
Maybe a faulty relay or headlight switch.
Also, there was a recall for an issue with the headlight switch wiring - but this would usually prevent the headlights from turning on.
Nevertheless, it might be worth checking your VIN to see if the work on that recall (and any others) was ever performed.
Recall Information for Safety & Defects | Honda Owners Site
 

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Longshot here, is this by chance a Canadian Pilot? The Canadian versions have daytime running lights.

Daytime Running Lights (Canadian Models)
With the headlight switch off, the high beam headlights come on with reduced brightness when you turn the ignition switch to ON (II) and release the parking brake. They remain on until you turn the ignition off, even if you set the parking brake.
The headlights revert to normal operation when you turn them on with the switch.
 

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Longshot here, is this by chance a Canadian Pilot? The Canadian versions have daytime running lights.

Daytime Running Lights (Canadian Models)
With the headlight switch off, the high beam headlights come on with reduced brightness when you turn the ignition switch to ON (II) and release the parking brake. They remain on until you turn the ignition off, even if you set the parking brake.
The headlights revert to normal operation when you turn them on with the switch.
Correct. Daytime Running Lights come on as soon as the parking brake is released. So an easy way to test this is to start the Pilot with the parking brake pedal already pushed down and engaged, and there should be no lights coming on at all. Once you release the parking brake, the DRLs should come on.

Another easy way top determine if you have a Canadian model is if your main (larger) speedometer numbers are in KM/H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Longshot here, is this by chance a Canadian Pilot? The Canadian versions have daytime running lights.

Daytime Running Lights (Canadian Models)
With the headlight switch off, the high beam headlights come on with reduced brightness when you turn the ignition switch to ON (II) and release the parking brake. They remain on until you turn the ignition off, even if you set the parking brake.
The headlights revert to normal operation when you turn them on with the switch.
Unfortunately it’s not a Canadian model. I also ran the VIN and wasn’t part of the recall.

The headlights come on as soon as the ignition key is in position II.
Super odd, the headlights are on but not the dash lights or the side markers.

Do these vehicles have automatic headlights that detect day / night? Maybe that sensor is faulty?
 

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Do these vehicles have automatic headlights that detect day / night? Maybe that sensor is faulty?
No, they don't, so your problem must be elsewhere. Any mods that you're aware of?
 

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I have my doubts it’s the headlight relays. I think if the relays (without looking I believe each side has its own relay) were stuck if the on position the headlights would be on regardless of ignition key position. My guess is there is an issue with the headlight switch, a wiring fault between the headlight switch to relays, or someone thought it would be clever to add a pseudo DRL feature to this Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not aware of any mods, but now it seems like its more and more likely that someone installed an aftermarket alarm / DRL system.. even though my remote is the factory remote, I noticed an extra DEI branded LED light by the front window.

To show this behavior, I made a short clip:
 

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OK, very helpful video which clearly shows the abnormal behavior of the headlights.

So according the principle of Occam's Razor, the aftermarket alarm/DRL system is your most likely culprit. They are often installed by DIYers or the lowest kid on the totem pole at the shop, and they sometimes literally get their wires crossed.

Now it's up to you to decide how much of an issue it is for you and whether it's worth your time and/or money to do some deeper wire sleuthing or take it to have someone else figure it out. It might be as easy as disconnecting the power from the aftermarket system... or there may well be more to it than that. Your call.

(And thanks for giving me the opportunity to use the word literally correctly. :))
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, very helpful video which clearly shows the abnormal behavior of the headlights.

So according the principle of Occam's Razor, the aftermarket alarm/DRL system is your most likely culprit. They are often installed by DIYers or the lowest kid on the totem pole at the shop, and they sometimes literally get their wires crossed.

Now it's up to you to decide how much of an issue it is for you and whether it's worth your time and/or money to do some deeper wire sleuthing or take it to have someone else figure it out. It might be as easy as disconnecting the power from the aftermarket system... or there may well be more to it than that. Your call.

(And thanks for giving me the opportunity to use the word literally correctly. :))
Thanks 🙏! The DRL doesn’t peeve me as much as the alarm issue in my other thread.
It literally arms itself within 30 seconds even with the key in the ignition AND doors wide open! Extremely annoying.
 

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Take some photos of the wiring harnesses underneath the steering column and to the left of the parking brake pedal. That will give an indication the level of competence, or incompetence, of anyone who worked on your Pilot’s electrical system.
 

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Also check the ground wire connection. Strange behavior could occur when the ground isn’t hooked up correctly.

On my Tacoma a drywall screw was used to connect the ground wire to the chassis among other alarm installation issues. My Pilot’s Karr system wasn’t installed any better. I didn’t pay for either of those systems, but I was stuck removing them since the only person I trusted to do that correctly was me.
 

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On some US models of the '03-'04 there is an auto-off headlight feature. On those models the some of the relay grounding for the headlights is done through the Drivers Multiplex Control Unit (controls alot of stuff) which gets power from the battery underhood fuse 42 through the ignition switch (hot in On II and Start III). Between the ignition and the control unit is fuse 9 in the driver dash fuse box. There's also a switch in the ignition that is made when the key is in and tells the control unit this is so by the ground that is made. The control unit is also looking for the driver door switch for setting the timer on/off.

Maybe make a couple of checks to let to the timer run its course if yours has this. The owner manual will tell you how it supposed to work. I think I have this on my 04 EX but never knew because I don't ever leave my headlights on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On some US models of the '03-'04 there is an auto-off headlight feature. On those models the some of the relay grounding for the headlights is done through the Drivers Multiplex Control Unit (controls alot of stuff) which gets power from the battery underhood fuse 42 through the ignition switch (hot in On II and Start III). Between the ignition and the control unit is fuse 9 in the driver dash fuse box. There's also a switch in the ignition that is made when the key is in and tells the control unit this is so by the ground that is made. The control unit is also looking for the driver door switch for setting the timer on/off.

Maybe make a couple of checks to let to the timer run its course if yours has this. The owner manual will tell you how it supposed to work. I think I have this on my 04 EX but never knew because I don't ever leave my headlights on.
Interesting takeaway many thanks! Unfortunately this vehicle did not come with an owners manual. If I were to remove fuse 9, does that mean it can potentially disable the DRL?
 

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Does the chime ding dong with the headlight switch in on, key out and you open the door? if not the door switch is remaining open and should be replaced. that's an input to the auto off. you don't have a DRL on yours since it is us model. pulling the fuse will take out the whole module, you don't want that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Does the chime ding dong with the headlight switch in on, key out and you open the door? if not the door switch is remaining open and should be replaced. that's an input to the auto off. you don't have a DRL on yours since it is us model. pulling the fuse will take out the whole module, you don't want that.
yep, no issue with chime or the door switch because the interior lights turns on and off whenever the driver door is open
 

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It is in the off position but the headlights still automatically turn on whenever the car is on.

I tried to leave it in the “on” position, and of course the headlight is also on. Leaving it in the “on” position would also turn off after the car is shut off; that’s fine.
Just don’t know why the headlights are on whenever the car is on during the daytime
Something after market is hooked into it
 
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