November 12, 2006

Disabling Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

*disclaimer* - This is a general guide based on my personal experience. I will not be liable for any harm to your person or your vehicle, or any tickets and fines or other legal problems you may encounter as a result of performing this modification. Proceed only if you fully understand the instructions, and follow them at your own risk.

DRLI looked in the Owners Manual and it shows two fuses related to the Daytime Running Lamp (DRL) system. A 7.5amp fuse in slot 8, and a 10amp fuse in slot 18. But as I found out, you only need to remove the 7.5amp fuse from slot 8 and the system will be disabled. So removing both will not make a difference. However, removing only the 10amp fuse from slot 18 will result in the DRL warning light in the dash to light up, and I'm guessing most of you would rather not have that.

Follow these steps to disable your Canadian Spec DRL system:

  1. Locate the driver's coin tray to the left of the steering wheel column

  2. Find the dial on the top side of the coin tray, turn quarter-turn counterclock-wise, then pull the tray towards you and slightly downwards.

  3. Find the white fuse puller in the fuse panel and pull it straight out towards you

  4. Use the fuse puller and remove the 7.5amp (brown) mini fuse from slot 8

  5. Replace the fuse puller to its oiginal holder location in the panel

  6. Replace coin tray by lining up the tabs on the bottom, then push in to engage the side clips, and turn the top locking dial quarter-turn clockwise.

Done. Now when you put the parking brake down, the DRL won't light up. Turning the headlight switch to one click will only light up the parking lamps on top of the headlights, and two clicks will turn on your low beams. High beam will operate the same way as before.

<rant>I never liked this function personally. I understand why it is in our cars and how it can help make you car more visible. But I see way too many stupid people who are completely ignorant that they're driving with only DRLs at night because they see light ahead of them, and with many newer cars that have their dash light up anytime your igintion is on, it doesn't matter now many times you flash your light at them from behind trying to warn them they're completely invisible from the rear, they drive along without a clue.

What's worse are these idiots who think they're so cool and drive with their DRL and parking lights on at night without turning on their regular low beams. Many DRL systems are based on a reduced intensity voltage to the high beam assembly or filment, with a light dispersion pattern that will blind an oncoming driver.

I like to have control over my lights. I like to be able to run parking lights when waiting on the side of the street so I don't annoy pedestrians or shine my lights into someone's bedroom. I like to run just parking lights when there's enough light at dawn or dusk so my motorcycle riding friends with always on headlights are seen and differentiated more easily. I also like to be able to run parking lights only with fog lights (another thing stupid US laws don't allow) so that my light is dispersed low, where I need to in heavy fog, instead of up high (even worse with high beam DRLs) where it just reflects off the fog and blinds me.

The North American DRL system is a result of good government intentions caving to the pressures of industry. Had we incorporated the European standards for DRL, I don't think I, and a lot of other people, would have a problem with it. However, because automakers complained that it would be too costly to make cars with new low beam DRL systems, DRL systems in North America are allowed to use their high beams, or parking lamps (so white, amber, or yellow lights. talk about confusion) at up to 7,000 candela of light on axis! (versus 400 to 800 candela white light in Europe) With 800 candela low beam, you would not blind anyone in any ambient lighting condition, nor would you be lead to believe your headlights are already on at night.</rant>

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