Q: Backlighting to the dashboard failed now it’s distracting

asked by on

I have a problem with the dashboard in my 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The light behind the dash randomly gets brighter and then dimmer, then brighter again, and so on. The car has just 35,000 miles on it, so I didn't expect a little problem like this to pop up. What could be causing it?

This actually may be a normal condition. The alternator on your car has a specified amount of amperage it can output at a given engine speed. For instance, your alternator’s maximum output is approximately 125 amps, but only 85 amps when under load. What this means is, that if your car has all stock parts and no aftermarket electrical items running, your alternator should have no issues above high engine idle speeds. If you only notice the problem when the engine is at idle speed with heavy accessory loads such as: lights on at night, A/C on medium to high blower speeds, or the radio on and phone plugged in, the dash lights may dim when you are stopping or at a stop due to the heavy electrical loads on the alternator. It is causing a brown out, much like those in our houses when the electric company cannot put out enough power for the demand we need. Your car may be doing the same. This is normal if your battery and charging check out fine and all tests are ok. I recommend contacting YourMechanic for a system check.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Backlighting to the dashboard failed now it’s distracting

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Plate and dash lights wont turn off

I don't believe the 1996 car was using a lighting module yet, so you're in luck, all you are likely to need is a headlight switch replacement. Later cars used a lighting control module that made things way more complicated....

Q: I have a 2009 Ford Focus it won't go into gear when I start it but it'll go into gear when the car is shut off what can it be

Hi There, It sounds like the clutch may not be disengaging properly where the pressure plate may not be pushed in completely by the hydraulic clutch system. You can try checking this by starting the vehicle with the clutch in...

Q: Sloshing noise when pressing the accelerator

Hi there. That noise you are hearing is the engine coolant (anti-freeze) traveling through the heater core. The reason you can hear it is due to air being trapped in your engines cooling system. You may not have any drivability...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...