Reasons Your Dashboard Lights Went Out - Service Information at Hanson Subaru

Driving at night without proper lighting can be a scary proposition. You need headlights so you can see the road ahead, brake lights so others can see you slowing down and interior lights so you can see your instruments and monitor your speed. Most people won't even venture out at night with bad headlights or brake lights, but why would you hit the road without working dashboard lights? To make sure you're as safe as possible no matter the conditions outside, head to Hanson Subaru if your dashboard lights aren't working. Below, we've gathered the four most common reasons that your dashboard lights have gone out.

In the moments after your car starts, all the dashboard lights should come on briefly, so you know they're all working

4. Blown Fuse

The first place our technicians begin diagnosing most electrical issues on your car is at the fuse box. Automotive fuses serve to protect electronics from excessive surges of electricity. But, when they blow, the entire circuit is interrupted. As a result, any components connected to that circuit will stop working.

You can head to Hanson Subaru to have us check your fuses, or you can try this step yourself. If you can find the fuse box diagram (check the fuse box cover as well as your owner's manual), identify which fuse is connected to your dashboard lights. Pull it out and check inside. If the filament has been broken, the fuse has blown. If the filament inside appears continuous, then the circuit is complete and the problem is likely to be located elsewhere.

Found under the dashboard, under the hood or even under the back seats, the fuse box holds all sorts of electronic fuses and relays

3. Burned-Out Bulbs

Modern Subaru dashboards also feature video displays that can dynamically update and provide you with new information, and they're individually lit by long-lasting LED lights. However, if you have an older Subaru model, this may not be the case. Behind the analog gauges of older vehicles are ordinary incandescent light bulbs. Just like the light bulbs in your house, they'll eventually burn out. If you notice certain areas on your dashboard are dim, but others remain illuminated, you've probably got just one or two dashboard bulbs that have burned out. Since getting behind the dashboard to replace these special bulbs will also require special tools, head to Hanson Subaru to have a technician make this repair for you.

2. Wiring Fault

Of course, with thousands of feet of wire potentially running throughout your car, there's lots of opportunity for wires to get crossed, shorts to develop and ground faults to appear. As various wires rub up against metal frame parts, other electronics and even other wires, they can potentially wear through the insulation and cause a short. If you notice other strange electrical bugs as you drive -- like other failed electrical components, or electronics behaving strangely, like flickering lights and accessories turning off and on at random -- you'll want a trained technician to take a close look at your vehicle's wiring harness. Electrical bugs can be tricky to track down yourself, but out technicians are factory trained by Subaru and equipped with the right tools for the job.

A technician holds a blown fuse up to the camera, so you can see the busted filament inside

1. Bad Dimmer Switch

There are two switches related to your dashboard lights: the headlight switch and the dimmer switch. If the headlights switch was bad, you'd almost certainly have issues with your headlights as well as the dashboard lights. However, if the dimmer switch goes bad, it can cause your dashboard to stay dark. It's also not unheard of for drivers to bump the dimmer switch with their knee or elbow when getting into or out of the vehicle. At its lowest setting, the dimmer switch can make your car's dashboard as dim as if the lights weren't on at all. Before getting help from the Hanson Subaru experts, verify that your dashboard dimmer settings are working correctly. If they're not, we'll be glad to help get you back on the road at night safely in our service center.

  1. Hanson Subaru

    2300 Carriage Loop SW

    • Sales :(888) 490-9863

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Hanson Subaru

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Call or Text Sales: 360 943 2120
  • Service: (360)943-8531
  • Parts: (360)943-2120