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The dashboard lights on your vehicle are crucial to gain the required information regarding your vehicle and its condition. It helps you gain a better understanding of your vehicle inside-out, and can also help you prevent potential issues from surfacing by alerting you to the same.
However, if you aren’t able to see anything on your vehicle’s dashboard after you turn the key, it can be concerning too. Now there can be several reasons for this issue to occur such as faulty ignition wiring, damaged starter, bad alternator, weak or dead battery, and more.
Read on to learn more about this ongoing issue with your car and how to fix it.
How Do Dash Lights Work?
Every time you turn on your car, it runs constant checks to make sure that most of the components like the electrical systems, breaks, and the engine are working properly. With the help of these checks, you can make sure that your vehicle is running in optimal condition.
Post 1996, all the cars sold in the United States are required to have an onboard diagnostics system, abbreviated as OBD, as per the Environmental Protection Agency. This system involves various sensors in several areas of your vehicle that report back to the diagnostic system.
When any of these sensors detect that a particular area of your vehicle isn’t working as intended, they trigger a light on your vehicle’s dashboard, highlighting that there is an issue that is required to be addressed as soon as possible.
Causes of No Dash Light When Turning the Key
As stated above, there can be several reasons why there is no dash light even when you turn the key. Let us take a look at some of the most common causes of this issue in detail:
Faulty Ignition Switch
If your vehicle is unable to get any electrical power at all, there might be a faulty ignition switch causing the issue. This specific component is responsible to notify the battery to start the car when you turn the key.
There might be a possibility that your vehicle’s ignition switch has worn out with time or is malfunctioning due to external factors like overheating. Regardless, when it stops working, there will be no power to the ignition.
How To Fix: the only way to deal with this issue is to replace the faulty ignition switch. You can either choose to do it yourself or get help from a professional mechanic, whatever suits you the best.
One of the most common causes of a dash light not working when you turn the key is a blown fuse. Fortunately, it is quite easy to replace a blown fuse, and you can easily do it all by yourself without requiring any professional help at all.
However, if you recently replaced a blown fuse, but it blows again, it may indicate a deeper problem with your vehicle’s electric circuit that must be addressed by a professional. It usually occurs when excess current flows through the fuse to protect the other components from getting damaged.
How To Fix: you should consider replacing the old fuse and getting your vehicle diagnosed by a professional to get rid of this issue.
Worn-Out Dash Bulbs
After a certain usage time, the dash lights on your car themselves can stop working. Even though it’s still very unlikely for all the lights to go out concurrently, there might be a slight likelihood of them being burned out due to excess current, which also indicates a blown-out cluster fuse.
Usually, this problem occurs in old models that still have incandescent bulbs that are likely to be worn out as time goes by. The issue is quite rare to see in modern cars as they have switched to LED lights that are very less likely to damage.
How To Fix: to fix this issue, start by checking whether the dash bulbs are burned out or not. In case they are, just replace them with new ones and they will start working again.
The alternator in your vehicle is responsible to convert the energy produced by your engine into electric power, which powers the various electrical components available in your vehicle including the dash lights as well.
That being said, if the alternator itself is faulty no electricity will be passed to the dash lights or any other electrical component. This might be the reason why you are getting no dash lights even when turning the key.
How To Fix: Once you’ve verified that your vehicle’s alternator is at fault, you can take your car to a professional and get it replaced to fix the issue.
Taillight is Out
In modern-day vehicles, both the dash lights and taillights share the same fuse and circuit, which means any issue with either of these will reflect both of these lights. But you’ll only have to get the fuse fixed to get rid of the issue altogether.
How To Fix: After verifying that the fuses are working properly, take a look at the taillights and make sure that there’s no issue with the dimmer switch. In case either of these components isn’t working, get them fixed.
Your vehicle’s dash light could also be malfunctioning due to a weak or dead battery. Check the battery levels and make sure that it has sufficient charge to power your vehicle’s dash light, and you’re good to go.
However, if your battery has sufficient charge but still the dash lights aren’t working, then chances are that corrosion is causing the issue by making the batteries weak. Consider twisting the cables and posts to check whether the dash lights come up or not.
How To Fix: Foremost, you should identify any signs of corrosion on the battery, and clean the ends to fix the connection. If the problem still persists, verify the battery’s charge and get it recharged if required. In case the battery itself is faulty, you may have to replace it with a new one.
Electrical Circuit Break
While operating your vehicle on a regular basis, you may experience several bumps and vibrations on the road, which may cause issues with the circuit cables and prevent the dash lights from turning on. There might also be a chance that you have a loose connection, causing the circuit to break.
How To Fix: It can be very potent to deal with a circuit issue and should only be handled professionally. We recommend you not to tinker with it yourself unless you precisely know what you’re trying to do.
Turned Down the Dimmer Switch
If you’ve accidentally turned down the dimmer switch settings, then it may prevent the dash light from turning on when you turn the key. The dimmer switch is responsible for controlling the brightness of the dash lights on your vehicle.
How To Fix: Take a look at the dimmer switch and make sure that you haven’t lowered it. In case you did, just revert to the old configuration and it will start working normally again.
If there’s no issue with the battery, but you’re still getting this issue, then chances are that there’s a problem with your vehicle’s starter. It draws your battery’s power to start the car, and when it fails, you’ll experience a clicking noise.
How To Fix: Thoroughly assess the starter fuse and relay to make sure that they’re getting adequate power. In case either or both of these components are malfunctioning, then you need to get them replaced to get rid of the issue.
So, if your dash lights aren’t turning on when you turn the key, there could be a few potential causes as stated above. It’s necessary to diagnose the issue properly and get the issue fixed promptly to make sure that your vehicle keeps running smoothly. We hope you found the shared information helpful.