Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Lights for the dashboard are not very effective

asked by on

The lights on the dashboard of my 2012 GMC Terrain get really dim randomly and the other interior lights usually do the same. Now, if the lights all went out I would know there was a fuse out or an electrical issue afoot, but dim lights don’t make sense. Why would the lights just dim down to a near-useless amount of light? This is frustrating and could be dangerous in the wrong situation. What should I be looking at to troubleshoot this? The car has 25k miles on it, so very new to be having issues!

A: Your issue is somewhat unique and may be di...

Your issue is somewhat unique and may be difficult to diagnose, mostly because of the random nature of its occurrence. That being said, it is important to look at other things that are happening at the same time of the dim lights. Are there any warning lights, has the passenger made any adjustments to seat settings, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) temperature or other? These may give the technician who will diagnose your issue something to go on. When the lights dim, can you change them using the dash dimmer? If so, there may be an issue in the switch itself, but this is the most unlikely cause. My recommendation is to carefully dissect the pieces of the issue when it happens. Pay attention to the other lights like the HVAC control panel, the lights in the switches on the doors, even turn on the overhead reading lamps to see if the dim lights are just on the dashboard, or if the whole interior is affected. My first instinct makes me guess that the issue is internal to the instrument cluster itself.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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: Misfiring and burnt wires.

Hot starter wires are generally caused by a loose or contaminated contact at the starter or battery. These connections need to be cleaned and tightened to factory specifications. As far as the misfiring issue, the first step would be reading...

Q: Warning lights come on while driving

Hello. It is possible that the oil pump is faulty causing low oil pressure. This may prevent the engine from working properly. It is also possible that the head gasket has failed or an internal engine component has failed (burned...

Q: Engine losses power when lights are on

Hello, thank you for writing in. There are a few different angles that we can look at this problem from. The first thing to discuss is that the battery performs very little once the vehicle is running. The battery is...

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...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...