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!

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: How Does a Battery Work With a Car's Electrical System?

One of the most recognized mechanical parts under the hood of any vehicle is the battery. Whether you're an ASE certified master mechanic or have never turned a wrench, everybody can pinpoint the location of their vehicle's battery. Although most...

Q: 2002 GMC Envoy message displayed on message board, turn engine off now. What does this mean?

Hi there. The message could have came on for something that may have been active on the engine or transmission. If the light comes on again, then the computer (ECM) should store the events and you could have them read...

Q: Would cold temperatures make my service all wheel drive system warning come on? 2012 GMC Terrain

Hi there - while a big drop in temperatures shouldn't cause a service light per se, cold temperatures DO have an effect on electrical connections, and a connection problem may be the case here. You need the actual problem code...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
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...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...