Dash Lights Flickering? Here’s What They’re Trying to Tell You

  • Jun 26, 2021
image of a car dash and tachometer image of a car dash and tachometer

It's lights out! Wait, lights on? If your dashboard is flickering and flashing like an old set of holiday lights, your car is trying to tell you something — it needs your help! Here’s what you need to know about flickering dash lights.

Why Dashboard Lights Flicker When You’re Driving

A dying battery can be one cause for your dashboard lights flickering. The battery plays a key role in powering your car’s electrical system. If the battery isn’t working properly, it could cause the dash lights to flicker. It's best to have your battery tested at your neighborhood Firestone Complete Auto Care, and install a new battery if necessary.

Additionally, flickering dash lights can signify that there is something wrong with the alternator. The alternator distributes electricity throughout your car and recharges the battery while you drive. Aside from the headlights and dash lights, the battery supplies power to the electric power steering, power windows, windshield wipers, heated seats, audio system, and more. If the alternator is not charging the battery properly, it can affect all of your vehicle's electronics. 

When the alternator isn’t working right, it could lead to flickering dash lights. Head to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care where a professional technician can determine if the alternator is the issue and let you know if your alternator needs to be repaired or replaced.

Keep in mind that if your car battery is new, the alternator may likely be the cause of flickering dash lights. But whatever the case may be, Firestone Complete Auto Care can help diagnose your issue!


When Your Dashboard Lights Flicker and Your Car Won’t Start

If the car won’t start at all and the dashboard lights are flickering, it’s likely that the battery does not have enough charge to crank over the vehicle. In this scenario, you’ll likely need to replace the failed battery. 

Other potential causes of flickering dash lights when your car won’t start include:

  • Bad battery due to a failed alternator
  • Dirty or loose battery cables
  • Faulty ignition switch
  • Bad control modules


What’s Happening When Your Headlights and Dash Lights Are Flickering?

When you couple flickering headlights with flickering dashboard lights, the alternator has more than likely worn out. A worn-out alternator typically needs to be replaced. An expert technician at Firestone Complete Auto Care can examine the alternator and determine the best approach.

Other signs of a bad alternator include:

  • Illuminated battery warning light
  • Dim or overly bright lights
  • Malfunctioning or slow-working accessories
  • Trouble starting the car
  • Frequent stalling
  • Growling or whining noises
  • Smell of burning rubber if the alternator has seize


Whether your vehicle has a bad battery or the alternator is on its way out, our technicians can take a look and get to the root of the problem. We'll make sure your car is fixed right, priced right, right on time. Schedule an appointment today!

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