Dash lights not coming on

Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 HONDA CRV
  • 174,000 MILES
The dash lights (except for indicator lights) will not come on when headlights are turned on. I just checked the fuse, or at least the one I think is the fuse for the dash lights (radio/accessory) and it is not blown. Not sure what to do or check next. I am not very maintenance savvy, but if it is as easy as changing a fuse or light bulb I can handle it.
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Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017 AT 4:32 PM

69 Replies

Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
I know you have probably checked this but there is a brightness adjustment on the instrument cluster or near the headlight switch. Can you cycle the switch, thumb wheel or knob to see if you get any response? Please let us know what happens.
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Thursday, August 24th, 2017 AT 11:40 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Check fuse number 2 (15 amp) in the fuse box under the hood. It powers the dash lights. It also powers the taillights and markers. If those are working the it is likely to be a bad dimmer control.
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Thursday, August 24th, 2017 AT 10:16 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
I've adjusted the dimmer switch and they're still out. Pretty sure the tail lights and signals work, but will double check when my husband gets home. If it's a bad dimmer switch I'm assuming I'll have to take it in? Not sure that is something I can tackle.
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Friday, August 25th, 2017 AT 5:00 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
O good thanks for the extra information :) there is a taillight relay that sounds like it is out which controls the lighting system. Here is a wiring diagram and the location of the relay with a guide to help confirm the problem.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-an-electrical-relay-and-wiring-control-circuit

and

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-a-car-fuse

The relay is #13 in the under hood fuse panel

Here it is for $9.00 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001UEHMCO/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=2carprcom-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B001UEHMCO&linkId=55d2082e0ad49a5b70e114a16bfa936a

Here are some diagrams so you can fix it. You can do it.

Please let us know what happens.

Cheers, Ken
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Friday, August 25th, 2017 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Finally had long enough with the car. The tail lights do not come on when turning on the headlights so I'm fairly confident that the issue is the relay. The brake lights and signals do come on though. Do you still recommend replacing the relay? Or should I check that fuse as well? If replacing the relay I assume I'd just jump to step 14 of the how to you linked?

Thank you, Ken and Steve!
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Sunday, August 27th, 2017 AT 9:04 AM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
And just to confirm, that is relay #13 under the HOOD? Bc the diagram looks like it's under the dash.
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Sunday, August 27th, 2017 AT 9:05 AM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Started with the fuse and this seems to have fixed the problem. Thanks guys!
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Monday, August 28th, 2017 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
We will take the win! Please use 2Carpros anytime.
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Monday, August 28th, 2017 AT 4:12 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Hope you guys get this update. The dash lights are out again. I'm assuming the fuse is blown again. I have not yet checked it. I can replace it, but how do I fix the problem that results in a blown fuse? Thanks!
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Sunday, September 24th, 2017 AT 9:49 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
It has to be an intermittent problem. Those are a PAIN to find. Do you recall what you did just before the lights went out? Hit a big pothole? Ran over a moose? Stepped on the brakes?
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Sunday, September 24th, 2017 AT 10:01 AM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Just now seeing your reply. The 2nd fuse is now out and as soon as I out the third one in it blew. Also, the radio has been cutting in and out for several months. Could this have anything to do with it? I didn't think they were on the same circuit but maybe? Changing the fuse didn't help the radio at all so I'm not sure about that.
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 AT 5:10 AM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Could the relay Ken mentioned above have anything to do with it? Or would the fuses I replaced not have worked at all if it was the relay? I'm just so frustrated. (My highlander dumped all its oil last month. Thankfully the part was under extended warranty, but still had a minor panic attack until we knew. And this crv had an immobilizer system issue that was finally determined to be bc of low battery voltage.)

I see bslack22 had a similar problem. The pro suggested checking the battery grounding as well as the taillight grounding for corrosion. If there is corrosion how do I fix that? Wouldn't the battery corrosion have been found when the new battery was put in just a couple months ago?

I am truly grateful for everyone's help. I have shared your site a couple of times. I am such a DIY repairer if at all possible and you all are a wealth of information!
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 AT 5:44 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
The fuse that keeps blowing powers more than just the dash lights. It powers the marker lights, tail lights and pretty much all the interior lamps used for the dash and control switches.

BUT the good news is that with a hard fail like you now have a signal tracer or short finder will now work to help you find the issue.

When does the fuse blow? With everything off you install the new fuse, it blows instantly or it blows as soon as you turn on the lights?
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 AT 9:06 AM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
2 fuses ago my husband said it blew when he hit the dash above the radio (bc the radio cuts in and off). This last fuse. I didn't turn the car on just the lights. Not sure if it blew right when I put it in or when I turned the lights on.

Thank you for all your help! Brake lights and indicator lights work. Just not the taillight or dashboard lights when headlights are turned on.
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 AT 4:03 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
It's very possible that there is a short in the dash near the radio. Vibration could have worked the wiring harness on a sharp edge and ground through the insulation on the wires. Pull the radio out and look for bare wires.
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Friday, October 6th, 2017 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Any diagram or directions on how to do that? I am such a novice. I suppose I could YouTube it. If bad wires, would I be able to replace/fix them?
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Saturday, October 7th, 2017 AT 4:10 AM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Got a saw? OH you want to do it without damage.

First make 100 percent sure you have the unlock code for the stereo. You will need it to make the stereo work when you put it back in. It will also wipe out the channel memory.
Once you have that you remove the center dash trim panel 2 screws and gently pull it away to free the connectors and remove the hazard switch connector. Then 4 screws let the stereo come out of the dash.
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Saturday, October 7th, 2017 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
Update with a new related(?) Problem. I ended up taking it to the shop where they replaced several dash bulbs and the fuse and recommended that we replace the radio as they believed it had a short (it would cut in and out) and was drawing on the battery (they had to jump it to pull it into the shop the morning after we dropped it off). They said they tested the whole charging system including the alternator which was fine. We did get a new radio, but a couple of weeks ago the car sat in the driveway for 3 days while my husband was out of town. We had to jump it in order for it to start. Now, if it sits any longer than over night or isn't driven for longer than 10-15min at a time then it has to be jumped. The battery was replaced about 4 months ago when we had problems with the immobilizer system engaging. The same shop determined the immobilizer was engaging because of low voltage in the battery so they replaced it and we no longer had that problem. The battery was quite old. I'm just curious what you might think the problem could be now with having to jump the battery. Thanks!
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Monday, November 27th, 2017 AT 8:51 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds like you have a voltage drain or a defective battery. Here is a guide to help you test the battery yourself using no tools.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-battery-load-test

If the battery tests good then here is a guide to help you find out what it draining the battery.

I would guess it is the new radio that was installed connected to a constant hot not a keyed hot.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-battery-dead-overnight

Please let us know what you find.

Cheers, Ken

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Monday, November 27th, 2017 AT 12:20 PM
Tiny
WHITNEY ROYSTER
  • MEMBER
I'm still looking into diff things. Thank you. He now has to jump the battery every time he drives it. The alternator is not warm when the car is cooled. The battery "looks" to be fine. In reading through your links. It does remind me that the automatic door locks have not worked in a couple of years. Could this be the problem? I'm still going to check on the radio as well, but we did have that installed by a professional so I'm not sure that is the problem. (This is not the time of year for this)
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Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 AT 2:58 PM

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