This is why dashboard lights are not working when the headlights are on

Have you seen your car’s dashboard lights not working when headlights are on? Don’t worry; several factors can trigger the normal functioning of the dashboard lights, and this article will provide possible problems and how to solve them. 

The dashboard is all that helps you as a driver monitor your car’s health and the entire operation. For example, the dashboard will display gas level, speed, hazards, engine health, oil pressure level, and other important information concerning your car in the dashboard lights. These lights are essential, especially when you can not view the dashboard at night. 

However, the dashboard lights can experience issues and fail to work when headlights are on. In most cases, dashboard lights may fail due to an electrical fault such as damages to the electrical system.

If dashboard lights are not working when headlights are on, common possible causes are a dying alternator or battery, one or some dashboard LEDs are dead, dashboard lights are at dim level, and fuse issues.

A dying alternator or battery

A car’s alternator works extensively to convert mechanical energy and form electricity for electrical appliances such as dashboard lights to work.

If this component develops faults, there will be a problem providing enough current to light the dashboard LEDs. In this case, the most powerful LEDs such as headlights might be taking up more power than the dashboard lights. 

Again, if the battery lifespan has gone down, it may not supply power to all LEDs in the car; this will be seen when headlights are put on, the dashboard lights may go off. 

Dashboard LEDs dead

If one or two or several dashboard LEDs have gone dead, they may not provide enough light for the dashboard, mostly when the headlights are put on. Headlights consume much power and if they are put on, the fault LEDs in the dashboard may fail to have enough power to light.

Dimmed dashboard lights

Some cars, especially modern ones, have been featured to reduce dashboard light when headlights are on automatically. 

Fuse fault

Fuse does good work to ensure LEDs are not overpowered by an electrical source that may lead to blowing up. Sometimes, the fuses may develop issues, and delivering current becomes difficult.

If this happens, the respective components connected to the fuse, such as the dashboard light, will experience a lack of power, especially when headlights are on.

What are solutions to Dashboard lights not working when headlights are on?

Like any other issue in your car, dash lights not working when headlights are on can be attended to or solved. And, of course, your car health is essential for your safety and operation.

Your dashboard lights are crucial as you can monitor much about your car there; for example, you can know the level of your car’s gas and even engine health.

However, to work on a dashboard, lights failing to function when headlights are put on, you need to establish the real cause before taking action. But with the common causes of dashboard lights not working when headlights are on, here are some solutions.

  • Replace the alternator or battery if they have gone bad or old and put new ones
  • Replace the dead dashboard light LEDs with new ones.
  • If the dashboard lights go dim automatically when you power on the headlights, you can adjust the light button to feature dashboard readings for visibility.
  • If the issues are coming from the faulty fuse, replace it with a new one to ensure enough current connection.

How can a driver Repair dashboard lights that are not working 

However, repairing a faulted dashboard light, you can do yourself or take the car to the mechanic. If you choose to do it by yourself, thy the following methods;

  • While testing the dimmer switch, insert the car key to its position and put on the headlights, then try to adjust the dimmer switch
  • For the faulty fuses, check on the fuse boxes, remove and put the new fuse. Always ensure the battery connection is off when handling fuse issues.
  • If the dashboard LEDs are the ones to be replaced, inspect them through the gauge cluster. By removing the gauge cluster’s trim, see whether its electrical connection to the LEDs is the problem or not. If the bulb has gone bad, take off the bulb socket and insert a new bulb.

Is this problem temporary? Can it be resolved by itself?

No, the problem developed with dashboard lights failing to work when the headlights are on is not necessarily temporary; it can be permanent and therefore can’t be resolved by itself.

The reason behind this case is that some causes can be fault fuses, dead batteries, dead LEDs, or automatic dimming features, and they need to be replaced or adjusted.


Dashboard lights are crucial to give you a clear vision when reading some operation in your car, especially during night hours.

You can read the car’s speed, gas level, engine health, or other vital information about your car status through the dashboard. However, if the lights in the dashboard are not working properly, you have to work on them. You should replace the dead LEDs, battery, or fuses.

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