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Why Did All the Dash Lights Switch On While Driving?

  • Cars Explained
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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All lights together, all at once. It would look like a magnificent scene when in a movie. However, it won’t be a sight of pleasure, but rather of panic when all the dash lights are coming on while driving. Firstly, should it be a reason to panic? Secondly, what are the possible reasons for the sudden “enlightenment”? If all your dash lights came on while driving, the lights have brought you to the right place!¬†

Every light on the dashboard serves its purpose. In other words, they act as indicator lights for any issues internally with the system. However, the reason is slightly different when all lights come on while driving. Paying attention to the light works on the dashboard will let you save your car from potential issues.  

What does the dashboard light mean? 

Every car has a fixed number of dashboard lights. However, the numbers can vary with the make and model of each car. The dash lights can be categorized into three colors. Green or blue lights point to high-beam headlights or switched-on cruise control. Similarly, yellow lights might indicate a malfunction or a fuel shortage. However, an open door, an engaged parking brake, or a problem with the steering wheel will turn on the red light which seeks immediate attention.  

Kinds of Dash Lights 

Here are some of the dash lights that bring important issues of our car to our notice.  

Tire Pressure Warning 

Driving with low or high tire pressure risks car damage. This indicates  

Oil Pressure Indicator 

This warning light indicates an issue with the part of your car that regulates the oil pressure. Consequently, it can cause motor wear and tear.  

Traction Control Light 

TC takes care of your driving on slippery roads by stepping in with its control.  

Battery Alert 

A blurred clock and dimming headlights are the indicators other than the battery alert indicator on the dashboard. You might be driving towards a breakdown in that case. 

Check Engine Light 

Check engine light on on car dashboard P03035 error

You must stop immediately if the engine warning light is flashing or solid red. Therefore, if you see a blinking check light, you shouldn’t leave it unchecked because it could cause significant damage to your engine.¬†

Why did all the dash lights come on while driving? 

The charging system or alternator is most likely to blame if all of your dashboard lights suddenly turn on. All of the dash lights can turn on even when the alternator is not running; in addition, low voltage can result in odd electrical problems. 

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Reasons for the dash lights to turn on while driving 

Issues with Battery 

The lights on your dashboard may come on if your car’s electrical system is having trouble due to a dead or dying battery. Similarly, the dashboard lights will come on if there is a drop in voltage, which loose or corroded battery terminals could cause.¬†

Checking the terminals for possible corrosion or using a voltmeter to check the battery’s voltage can be the best approach for the battery issue.¬†

Alternator Problem 

When the engine is turned on, power is transferred from the alternator to the battery and the rest of the electrical system in your car. Therefore, failure of the alternator can result in a wide variety of issues, one of which is the illumination of all of the lights on the dashboard. 

However, replacing the alternator is an affordable fix for the issue.  

Car Alternator Replacement: How much will it cost?

Loose Wiring  

Damages in the wiring can be tricky for your car, especially if the cable pack is damaged. This can arise from engine wear and tear, collisions, or even rodent attack. However, once you detect that the issue is with the wiring, then prompt fixing is required.  

Malfunctioning Steering Wheel Position Sensor 

The steering wheel position sensor supplies the data to adjust the headlights and traction control in addition to controlling the stability and logging how far the steering wheel is turned.  

Issues with ECU 

In addition to issues with the ECU, the connection between the dash light and ECU can also be a reason for the complete illumination.  

Apart from these, there might be a short circuit in the fuse box. Since it is the fuse box that supplies electricity to different parts of the car, a fault with it can certainly trigger all the dash lights to turn on. 

What should I do if all the dash lights come on while driving? 

Since the switching on dash lights is mainly due to problems with the alternator, it is better to avoid driving long distances. Firstly, you can lose power unexpectedly or be stranded without assistance. Therefore, you must certainly seek help once you see the dash lights come on.  

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Dim and Flashing Dash Lights  

This might point to a problem with the car’s electrical system. Try changing the fuse that powers the dash lights to see if it fixes the issue. If not, you might need to¬†take your car to a mechanic.¬†

Therefore, even though you might rarely encounter the scenario of all the dash lights switching on together, it demands immediate attention. 

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