Q – I had a problem with my night vision so I picked up a pair of higher output bulbs and installed them in my 89 Carrera. Last night and I smelled an odd odor of burning rubber and no, it wasn’t my tires. It caused me some concern but then on the way home, the odor went away. I did notice that everyone was flashing their lights at me and when I tried to dim the lights, the switch felt like it was working but the lights are on bright all the time. – Paul

A – On these early cars the power for high and low beams flows through the dimmer switch rather than through a relay. (Remember that the car was designed in the sixties.) And if that isn’t enough, when you put bigger bulbs in the headlights, the switch melts even faster. It is not easy or cheap to fix the switch and it involves getting under that dash in ways that aren’t kind to those wearing bifocals or who have vertigo.

To avoid this problem in the future, have relays retrofitted under the hood. Essentially the load that originally passed through the switch will now pass through the relay. I guarantee that you will never fry a switch again no matter how strong your bulbs are. The added benefit of relays is that the headlights will be brighter since power is relayed directly from the battery to the lights. – MC