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Common 4 Causes of Dashboard Light Flickering/ Dimming/ Brightening & Quick Solutions

Dashboard light flickering can be a real hassle for any driver.

Don’t you take my word for it?

Imagine the following scenario.

You drive quietly on the highway, the road is smooth, and the traffic is uncrowded.

You take a quick look at the dashboard.

To your surprise, all the lights on it flicker incessantly.

Because of this, it is almost impossible for you to deduce trivial things such as car speed or engine temperature.

Now, do you see why this phenomenon can be a real hassle?

Fortunately for you, we are here to help.

This article will explain everything you need to know about this problem and how you can solve it.

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What Does Dashboard Light Flickering Indicate?

Before we help you solve this problem, we must first help you understand what this problem is and what it indicates.

Dashboard light flickering is the phenomenon brought to life by the failure of a specific part of the car.

Depending on the defective part, this phenomenon can take various forms, such as:

  • poor lighting
  • the dashboard lighting is partial
  • the dashboard lights flicker constantly
  • the lights are completely off

If the dashboard lights dim randomly, the dimmer switch may be defective.

Cars made some time ago often suffer from partially light dashboards.

In their case, many light bulbs illuminate every symbol on the dashboard.

If a light bulb is defective, the part of the dashboard which corresponds to that light bulb will not be illuminated.

If your car’s alternator is damaged, it may be the cause of the dashboard’s flickering.

And if your car’s electrical system is damaged, there is a good chance this is the problem that caused the dashboard lights to go out entirely.

Reasons That May Cause Dashboard Light Flickering

Now you have a general idea of what precisely this defective phenomenon is and what may be the causes that lead to its occurrence.

But to truly understand this flaw and find out how you can fix it, we need to deepen our study further.

That is why we will now address each topic separately and describe it in detail.

01. Fault’s Effect: Your Car’s Dashboard Lights Are Partially Lighten

Every driver knows how important it is to view the symbols on the vehicle’s dashboard straightforward and hassle-free.

Cause of Failure

But this can be pretty difficult if the dashboard lights dim randomly.

And this is often caused by a malfunction of the dimmer.

Its primary role is to allow the driver to control the intensity of the lights in the dashboard.

A device designed to give the owner control over his car can turn into a mess maker.

But this does not have to be the case forever.

Fortunately, we can develop a solution to this problem if we know its cause well.

We understand that the dimmer is the defective part that leads to this problem.

But what is wrong with it?

The dimmer has two buttons, one that increases the intensity of the light and one that causes it to decrease.

The most common cause of its malfunction is blocking these two buttons.

As a result, the light intensity in the dashboard can be lowered or increased above the comfort norms.


But this is not a cause for despair because the solution to this problem is straightforward.

All you have to do is check the buttons carefully.

If one of them is locked, you have to unlock it.

It can’t be simpler if you ask me.

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02. Fault’s Effect: The Dashboard Suffers From Partial Illumination

Unfortunately, cars manufactured some time ago most often suffer from this malfunction.

Cause of Failure

This problem is due to the technology used to build cars.

At that time, they used several light bulbs to illuminate the symbols on the dashboard.

If one or more of them burn out or fail, the entire part of the dashboard, which is illuminated by those bulbs, goes out.

This leads to partial illumination of the dashboard.

Fortunately for new car owners, this problem is infrequent.

New car models benefit from a dashboard illuminated with LED lights.

A multitude of small LED lights illuminates the dashboard symbols of the new cars.

Due to the large number of LED lights that make up the dashboard, it is almost impossible for an entire portion of it to get broken.

It is often the case that a single LED light runs out of power, but this can go unnoticed due to a large number of LEDs.


You probably think that the solution to this problem is simple.

All you have to do is replace those bulbs with some LEDs.

Well, that’s the solution.

But the method of doing this is not simple.

It is sometimes necessary to remove entire dashboard parts to change these lights.

That’s why it’s better to visit someone with experience in such issues from a car workshop, who knows what to do.

03. Fault’s Effect: The Dashboard Lights Flash Constantly

Besides the annoying impact of this failure, the inability to observe the symbols on the dashboard is a real problem.

Cause of Failure

The failure of two parts often causes the constant flicker of the dashboard lights:

  • alternator
  • starter

It is essential to determine which of these two parts is the cause of the flicker to begin the process of replacement and repair.


Depending on which part is defective, the replacement process is different.

Alternator Replacement

Every car needs electricity to operate.

The alternator is responsible for supplying the vehicle with the electricity needed for operation.

Typically, this role does not exert a high degree of wear on the alternator.

But in the end, it may wear out and stop working at total capacity.

When that time comes, this piece needs to be changed.

That is why it is essential that every driver recognizes the arrival of this moment and begins changing the alternator.

The signs that indicate an alternator fault are the following:

  • the battery cannot be charged properly
  • the car is having problems starting the engine
  • the battery makes strange sounds
  • the occurrence of electrical problems
  • car lights dimming and brightening

One of the essential components that are involved in the process of charging the battery is the alternator.

Suppose the dashboard lights start to flicker.

In that case, the alternator may work adequately, but the problem may be present in the battery.

If it is old, it may have reached its maximum lifespan.

In this case, your car needs a new battery because the alternator works optimally.

The above signs may also be the product of a faulty wiring process.

Starter Replacement

Unlike replacing an alternator, replacing a starter is much easier.

The engine starting process is performed using this piece.

The signs that this piece is damaged are the following:

  • dashboard lights flickering (car won’t start)
  • the engine starts very slowly
  • the production of strange sounds by the engine

One of the worst signs of a faulty starter is the production of smoke by the engine when it is started.

Although this is an obvious sign that the starter is faulty, this process rarely happens.

04. Fault Effect: The Dashboard Does Not Emit Light

A total lack of light in the dashboard means a problem with the car’s electrical circuit.

The Cause of The Fault

Most of the time, this fault is caused by a fuse that has been burned.

This process occurs when an overload occurs in the electrical circuit of the vehicle.

The fuse is blown to protect the car, stopping the overload.

Also, another cause that can lead to this problem is power failure.

These, as well as overloading, can lead to a burnt fuse.

Unlike the overload wave, the wiring defect persists even after burning the fuse.


The first step in resolving this defect is to find the car’s instructions manual.

After that, look for the car’s safety box.

Inside, look for the fuse that corresponds to the dashboard lights.

It should be written in the instructions book where it is located.

Make sure the car is switched off.

Remove the fuse from the box with pliers.

Look inside the fuse.

If the inner filament breaks, you will need to replace the fuse.

Try to find a fuse with the same features as the initial one.

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Tips To Prevent Dashboard Lights Flickering Car Won’t Start

Some tips can help you prevent the dashboard lights from flickering and the engine from not starting.

Fortunately for you, we’ve looked for these tips and put them all together in one place, and will present them to you.

How To Make An Alternator Last Longer?

The alternator can overheat due to high temperatures during the operating process.

This effect is due to its location close to the engine and the functions it performs.

This excess heat is removed by the air entering through the bay and cooling the alternator.

However, suppose the bay is full of dirt.

In that case, the airflow is reduced, and the cooling process of the alternator is affected.

This can lead to overheating.

As a result of this overheating, the alternator may suffer, and its life may be reduced.

Therefore, to extend the life of an alternator, it is essential to make sure that the bay is always clean.

How To Prolong Starter Life?

The car battery and the starter are connected through special wires.

These wires must be intact to transmit the pulse at full power to the starter.

If they show any corrosion or dirt placed on them, the power of the transmitted signal will be severely affected.

This will result in difficulty starting the engine.

Eventually, the starter will be severely damaged and will suffer considerable damage.

Keeping the connecting wires clean is essential to prolong the starter’s life.

How To Check Battery Charge Level?

The best way to measure the battery charge level is to use a multimeter.

But if you don’t have one, it’s not a problem.

There are other methods by which you can test the battery charge level, such as starting the engine and headlights.

By doing this, you may notice a decrease in the light emitted by the headlights.

Now you might be wondering, why does your car’s headlight dim when you turn on your car’s engine?

Well, the occurrence of this process means that the headlights consume the battery’s power that is produced in small quantities by the alternator.

Suppose the brightness of the headlights increases after you rev the engine.

In that case, it means that the alternator is producing electricity.

Still, it is not making enough to charge the battery when the car is idling.

Suppose your headlights have average brightness and do not change when you rev the engine.

In that case, the electrical circuit is working correctly, and the battery is optimally charged.

Why Do Dashboard Lights Dim Randomly?

If the lights on your car’s dashboard lose their brightness randomly, this can signify various defects.

Among the most common are faults in connection with the wires of the electrical circuit.

Suppose this failure is also accompanied by a decrease in headlight intensity when the car is running.

In that case, the problem may be with the alternator or battery.

Suppose the wires of the electrical circuit are the cause of the problem.

In that case, it is possible that the dimming of the lights will be present for a long time and become more and more prominent over time.

The most common problems with electrical wiring are the following:

  • wrong connections between wires
  • short circuit
  • degraded threads over time

To find out the exact reason and to apply the best solutions, it is necessary to visit a car workshop.

An experienced mechanic will determine the leading cause of the dashboard dimming.

Car Lights Dimming And Brightening – Causes And Solutions

Suppose your car’s headlights suffer from spontaneous decreases and increases in light intensity.

In that case, there is a list of possible causes and solutions for them.

We will set out the most common causes and their solutions in the following.

01. Headlight Bulb Problems

This is the first component to check if your car has a headlight problem.

If your headlights are faulty, the bulbs may be damaged or at the end of their life.

In this case, the best option is to buy new light bulbs and replace the old ones.

02. Headlight Dirt

In most cases, the leading cause of this problem is a layer of dirt on the headlights’ surface.

This layer of dirt can block the passage of light, reducing its emission.

The dirt layer may be inside or outside the headlights.

The best way to solve this problem is to clean the headlights thoroughly.

03. Problems With Electrical Circuit Wires

Another cause that can lead to this problem is a defect in the wires of the electrical circuit.

Degradation of electrical wires or their short circuit may cause problems with the light emission from the headlights.

The best solution to this problem is to consult an experienced mechanic and get help from him.

He can best find the wires that cause the problem and take care of them.

Why Does Your Car’s Headlight Dim When You Turn on The Engine of Your Car?

The first time you turn on the car, the headlights will be powered by the battery.

When the engine start-up process is completed, the alternator takes on the role of the battery and starts to power the headlights.

So when you notice that your car’s headlights are dimming at first, when you start the car’s engine, there’s no need to panic.

This phenomenon of decreasing light intensity corresponds to the transition from the battery to the alternator.

It is entirely normal to happen and is not a malfunction of the electrical system or the car.

If your car’s alternator works optimally, the electrical circuit will be safe, and the battery will not be damaged.

But if the alternator suffers a malfunction, there is a good chance that the electrical system and the battery will be damaged.

The Basic FAQ’s of Dashboard Light Flickering

01. What Would Cause Dashboard Lights To Flicker?

Most often, the flickering of the lights on the dashboard of a car is caused by alternator faults.

In addition to the prominent role of the alternator is supplying the car’s battery with electricity, it also provides electricity to the other electronic components of the vehicle.

These include dashboard lights.

So if the alternator suffers a malfunction, the dashboard lights will also suffer.

02. What Else Can Cause The Dashboard Lights To Flicker?

A malfunction of the car battery can also cause the dashboard lights to flicker.

A car’s battery is also responsible for the vehicle’s electrical components.

Any malfunction will affect the electrical circuit of the machine.

03. What Can Damage An Alternator?

An alternator can suffer two different types of damage:

  • mechanical damage
  • electrical damage

Mechanical damage can be related to wear to the fastener or bearings.

Electrical damage can refer to winding rupture or diode bridge defects.

04. Why Do My Dash Lights Dim When I Hit The Brakes?

When you press a car’s brakes, all the electricity is transferred to the braking system.

This reduces the amount of light that is carried to the headlights.

The occurrence of this phenomenon may signal the existence of problems within:

  • battery
  • alternator
  • braking system

05. Why Are My LED Headlights Flickering?

If the LED lights on your car’s dashboard are flashing, they may not have enough electricity.

This problem can be solved by installing a driver for your LED lights.

This driver will ensure that the LED lights receive enough power to operate steadily.

As you can see, the flicker of the dashboard lights can be a common problem, but fortunately, it can be easily solved with attention and care.

We hope you found this information interesting.

It will help you in the future if your car ever suffers from a technical malfunction.

Don’t forget to take care of your car!

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