Car interior lights won’t turn off. Causes and solutions

The dome lights in your vehicle are controlled using multiple switches that your car has. Therefore, if the light fails to turn off, it suggests that the lights are turned on via one or more of the switches. But there are other possible reasons, and it all depends on the car’s make and model.

Modern vehicles have automatic interior lights, which are more sophisticated than those in older cars, but also are more prone to different failures.

The possible causes of the interior lights not turning off are the headlight switch being at the furthest counter-clockwise position, activating the dashboard light control knob accidentally, and broken door switches. The problem usually occurs, especially if the driver, another person, or children use the switches and probably mess with them. 

Types of car interior lights

The car’s interior lights are divided into different categories, such as dome lights, dashboard lights, map lights, and more. These lights can fail at once or at different times, and besides being annoying, they will present a safety issue. But in our case, the car interior lights are failing to turn off.

Common issues with car interior light not turning off.

If the car’s interior lights don’t go off after you close the vehicle doors, then they can be caused by: 

  1. The front hood is not properly latched;
  2. Adjusting the dimmer switch to the furthest position;
  3. Failing to close the doors fully;
  4. Faulty door ajar switch on the car’s doors;
  5. When the button for turning off the interior is damaged or missing.

How do you fix the dome light that stays on?

To fix the problems, you need to adjust the dome light switch. All cars have this switch, and for most, it’s on the dashboard. If you adjust the switch to the highest setting, the dome light will remain on.

Adjust this switch to its lowest setting to turn off the dome light. But if the dashboard light does not change even with the adjustment, then the switch is faulty. 

Alternatively, you can open the doors and check their switches. If there is an open switch, press it manually to see whether the dome light will go off. But if the switches do not click at all or simply nothing is happening, then they are faulty. 

You can try to start the car and leave it running for 7 minutes. Now, remove the key after turning off the car and shut the doors one by one. The dome lights should turn off after you close all the doors. 

Frequently asked questions

Will the interior lights deplete the battery when on?

Yes, leaving the car’s interior lights for a long time will make the battery get drained. But you can easily bring the battery back to life with a simple jumpstart. 

Do car interior lights turn off automatically?

Yes, vehicles’ interior lights are automatic and will turn off whether you have activated auto headlight mode or not.

What should I do if the interior lights won’t turn off? 

If your automatic lights do not turn off, try our suggested solutions above. Alternatively, you can disconnect the battery and remove the dome box fuse. It’s usually located under the dashboard, near the glove box, or at times, in the car’s engine compartment. Remove the dome lights relay, and this will disconnect the dome lights.

How much does it cost to fix car cabin lights that won’t turn off? 

Interior lighting is one of the essential car features, and it makes the vehicle safer for passengers. But if the lights won’t turn off, it presents security issues to the car and drains your battery. The cost will vary based on location and car model but expect to spend $50-$100 at a specialized workshop.


If your car dome lights fail to turn off, then it’s likely one of the issues above. Most times, the problem occurs when another person uses the interior lights and leaves the buttons in the state you don’t usually leave them in, or there is a fault that needs a proper check.

Based on the car model and electric configuration, you will have to try different button combinations to solve your issue. The dimmer is the button for our case, and when you rotate it in different positions, you will find a way to turn off the light. 

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