Reasons Why Dashboard Lights Are Dim? – Expert’s Solution

By the time humans started producing the early cars in bulk, the dashboard’s role of protecting the driver from debris had become even more significant. As cars became more complex, the dashboard evolved from protection, and it began harbor steering wheels, gauges, and dials. Other dashboards components included the glove compartment, cup holders, cigarette lighters, etc.

Modern inventions meant that the dashboard became more important, featuring dials and indicators. Critical indicators on the dashboard include the check engine light, tire pressure monitor, satellite navigation, engine temperature, airbag warning, seatbelt reminder, etc. These vital indicators include the speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure monitor, and fuel gauge. Symbols represent many of these indicators, and they will light up to draw your attention to possible problems with the car’s engine.

The dashboard lights make it easy for even a new driver to know when to visit a car mechanic. However, some drivers report their dashboard lights suddenly go dim. Why does that happen?

5 Reasons For Dim Dashboard Lights

The dashboard lights are dim for various reasons, including a weak battery, full headlights switched on, a faulty alternator, or the ambient lights in the car come on. The dashboard lights may briefly dim when you switch on your car’s ignition, as your vehicle routes electrical power optimally. However, if the lights stay dim, it might indicate a problem.Reasons Why Dashboard Lights Are Dim

Dimmer Switch Needs Adjustments:

If you notice that your dashboard lights are dim, perhaps the dimmer switch needs adjustments. Depending on your vehicle’s model, you may find it easy to locate this switch and adjust it as necessary. It is important to note that the standard dimmer switch may control all lighting in the car.

Also, the dashboard may have a separate control for it. If you are confused about this, you may take your car to the automobile workshop to have this done. Otherwise, a simple turning of the dial can control the brightness of your dashboard lights.

Faulty Alternator:

The alternator powers your car’s electrical systems, including the lights, windshield wipers, air conditioner, radio, etc. If the alternator is faulty, it may affect the lights on your dashboard as it generates inadequate power. So if you notice that your dashboard lights are dim, you may need to check to ensure that the alternator is in good condition.Faulty Alternator can make Dashboard Lights Dim

Low-Voltage Battery:

The battery is a critical component of your car as it provides the electric current to start the engine. If the battery in your car has a low voltage or is not at an optimal charge, it may cause your dashboard lights to dim or flicker. Other signs of a bad battery include dim headlights, clicking sounds when you turn the key, or a slow crank.

Automated Feature to Protect Your Eyes:

Modern cars have an auto-dimming feature that activates during certain conditions, usually to protect your eyes. When the ambient lights in a car come on, the dashboard lights may dim to reduce the intensity of bright lights. Dimming the lights may help your eyes adjust to possible glare from external sources such as street lights and headlights from oncoming cars that might be intrusive.

Also, this feature might automatically lower the brightness of your dashboard lights when you drive at night.

Faulty Bulbs May Need Changing:

Newer cars use LED lighting for their dashboards, so it is uncommon to find problems with dimming. However, you will find bulbs behind the instrument panel that lit up the dials and symbols in older vehicles. If one bulb goes bad, the illumination in your dashboard will reduce.

How Can I Make My Dash Lights Brighter?

When one or more of these issues discussed above happens, your dash lights will reduce. Resolving this might be as simple as replacing the faulty bulbs or tracing the fault to confirm what you must do. You may need to take your car to the workshop because this might require removing some dashboard parts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Fix Dim Dashboard Lights?

The solution to fixing dim dashboard lights depends on the problem. Turning the dimmer switch to increase the glow is simple, but you may need a mechanic to check for more severe causes if it does not work.

Can a Bad Battery Cause Lights to Dim?

Yes, if your car battery is too old or defective, you may observe your dashboard lights will become dimmer.

Are Dim Dashboard Lights a Serious Concern?

Dim dashboard lights are rarely indicators of severe problems. However, you should check the alternator or battery if the lights are dim. Faulty alternators or batteries can lead to grave harm to your vehicle. Also, you should ensure the dashboard lights are always bright, so you can see an alert if something terrible is happening in your engine.

Why Is My Dimmer Switch Not Working?

If you have blown a fuse or faulty wiring, your dimmer switch may malfunction, and simply replacing the fuse or the bad wire may resolve this problem. However, the fault may also be mechanical and not easy to fix yourself, so you should take your car to the mechanic when you notice a defective switch.


Dim dashboard lights do not usually cause serious concern, as you can generally resolve the problems yourself. Also, dashboard lights may dim for your benefit, protecting your eyes from bright lights as you drive. However, if you are uncomfortable with how dim they are and the dimmer switch does not fix the issue, you may need to take your car to the workshop.

Leave a Comment