Dashboard Lights Stay on When Car Is Off: Causes and Fixes

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Dashboard lights stay on when car is off is an unusual and fascinating issue that car owners experience. However, the newer and advanced car models are more consistent than the older vehicles. Indeed, this issue is more common among technologically enhanced cars with sophisticated electrical and digital features than older ones.

Dashboard Lights Stay On When Car Is Off

Regardless, this article focuses on the common causes of dashboard retaining illumination even when the car’s ignition is off and the possible solutions, so read ahead!

What Causes the Dashboard Light To Stay on When the Car is Off?

The causes of your dashboard light staying on when the car is off indicates that something is wrong with the vehicle’s complete functionalities. This could range from problems with the car battery to issues with the ignition system, engine oil pressure, or other engine components.

However, it could be as simple as the car’s manufacturer’s design. Let’s take a more detailed look into the possible reasons why the dashboard light won’t turn off after the vehicle is off.

– Faulty Car Battery

One of the leading causes of this issue is a fault with the car battery. The battery is responsible for anything that has to do with the electrical and digital components of the car, including dashboard lighting. When the battery is not functioning optimally, such as generating higher or lower voltage than required, it alters the proper car function.

Causes of Dashboard Lights Stay On When Car Is Off

A faulty battery will send erratic power to the car components, causing malfunctioning of the electrical components. When trying to diagnose if a bad battery causes this issue, mechanics carry out a crank test. It involves observing the battery’s voltage output to confirm if it is in range, often about 12.65 volts.

– Damaged Engine Control Module (ECM)

The ECM acts as the control panel for all your vehicle’s electrical and digital components. Therefore, whenever it is faulty, the car’s electronic features are compromised, which may occur as the dashboard remains illuminated even after switching off the car.


If the issues with the ECM are not rectified, it may cause more severe complications with the car’s electrical systems, including ignition problems.

– Low Engine Oil Pressure

When the oil pressure is low, the engine oil warning lights will illuminate, which may persist even when the car is off. Moreover, the low engine oil pressure may also mess with the car’s electrical systems, causing the dashboard to remain on even when the vehicle is off.

Therefore, immediately after you notice the warning sign indicating low engine oil, you should top the oil to the appropriate levels. Remember that engine oil serves other purposes, including lubrication, cooling, and protective functions. So, in your best interest, you want it to be within the correct measurement.

– Issues With the Car Ignition System

Another common cause for lights not going off even after switching off the car is issues with the ignition. For example, if the ignition switch is worn, it may lose complete control, resulting in short circuits and affecting some electrical components, especially those that control the dashboard lights. Consequently, they remain on even after the car is supposed to be off.

– Fault With Battery Cables

Loose, dirty, deteriorating, or corroded battery cables or terminals will affect the overall electrical systems of the vehicle, which may present as fluctuating lights. Also, it may be in the form of the dashboard remaining on, even after switching off the car’s ignition. Therefore, you should care for and maintain your car battery cables and prevent water from getting in contact with them.

– Faults With the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Issues with the car braking system affect the ABS, which may also impact other car control functions including the dash lights. This happens because the vehicle’s ABS light will also illuminate.

– Issues With Electrical Accessory Wiring

A fault with electrical accessories like speakers, lights, air conditioning, fans, and other components may affect the dashboard wiring. This may even result from wrongful connections, such as connecting one of the components to a hotwire linked to the dashboard. Therefore resulting in complications that keep the dashboard illuminated when the car is off.

Issues With Car Electrical Accessory Wiring

In addition, some car accessories like phone chargers and GPS may continue to work even when the vehicle is off. They continue to drain the car battery and may cause the dashboard to remain on.

– Car Design Features

In most new cars, after switching off the ignition, most of its lighting features remain illuminated, including those on the dashboard. Even after you step out of the car, you see the different lights still on.

However, a few seconds after shutting the car, the car will automatically kill off the lights. But, if the lights remain on after a while, then there is something else wrong with the car — possibly one of the causes we have listed above.

How To Fix Dashboard Lights Staying on When the Car Is Off?

To fix the dashboard lights staying on when the car is off, you should correct the cause by replacing the faulty component. If the problem arises from low oil pressure, you know you need to add more oil until it reaches your desired level.

Therefore, the first step is discovering what is causing your car dashboard to remain on even after putting it off. Let’s briefly discuss some of the possible fixes to this issue.

– Replace Faulty Ignition Switch

If a malfunctioning or faulty ignition system causes the issue, you’ll need to repair or replace it. However, we suggest replacing the switch, as repairing it may not prove effective enough, especially in the long run. Consequently, we recommend consulting an expert or mechanic to diagnose the problem so that they can provide the appropriate solution.

– Replace Bad Batteries

Remember, the battery plays a significant role in the optimal functioning of the car’s electrical components, including the lights. Therefore, if the issue arises from a faulty or damaged battery, you need to get a replacement. Likewise, if it occurs from rust or damaged battery cables, then you should also consider replacing them.

– Fix Issue With the Electrical Components

If you suspect the continuous illumination of the dash lights is caused by an electrical issue, again, you need to consult with a professional. You might not be able to identify the actual cause; it could arise from problems with a fuse, relay, wiring, alternator, or other electrical accessories. The mechanic will diagnose the exact fault and provide appropriate solutions.

Solutions for Dashboard Lights Stay On When Car Is Off

Dashboard lights that refuse to go off even when the engine is off may cause more car problems. These issues are likely to be electrical, considering the dash lights are a significant component of the car’s electrical system. So, you need to pay close attention to them.

With that being said, the major issues are associated with killing off the battery power, affecting the entire car. The car will not drive if the battery is dead. In addition, should the issue arise from a faulty sensor, it may diminish the car’s performance, among other issues.

– Make Sure To Disconnect All Accessories

As we mentioned above, keeping car accessories like GPS, sound, and phone chargers on may also cause the dashboard to remain on. Therefore, switching off these accessories should kill off the illuminated lights.

Also, you need to confirm that it’s not a temporary issue. That is, your dashboard light goes off a few seconds after you turn off the car, or it’s just a one-time thing. In this case, you may not worry about it. However, if the lights stay on for long spells and you cannot find the cause, we recommend you consult a specialist or visit an auto repair shop.


– Can the Dashboard Light Staying On Kill Your Battery?

Yes, the dashboard light staying on can kill your battery when it remains illuminated for a long time. The car battery powers all the vehicle’s electrical components, including the dashboard and warning lights. Although it only requires little energy to function, the lights drain battery when left on for long.

Therefore, if you notice that your dashboard light is not going off after switching off your ignition, it is necessary that you find appropriate solutions. However, if you can’t figure out something, for example, if it happens late at night, the best thing to do is to pop the car’s hood and disconnect the battery. This will help you safeguard the power, and when you are ready to use your car again, you can just reconnect the batteries.

– Is It Safe To Drive When the Dashboard Lights Refuse To Go Off?

Yes, on most occasions, it is safe to drive when the car’s dashboard lights refuse to go off when the engine is off. If you examine most of the causes of this fault, they are minor. However, you should find solutions to the problem to prevent draining your car battery.
Also, this issue may arise from a more challenging problem. Therefore, we recommend you get your car checked by an expert for appropriate rectifications.

Dashboard Lights Stay On When Car Is Off Solved

Can a Dashboard Light Issue Cause a Car to Shut off While Driving?

Can a dashboard light issue lead to a car engine shutting off while driving? Yes, it is possible. If a crucial system like the engine or oil light comes on and is ignored, it can eventually cause the car to shut off unexpectedly, putting the driver and passengers at risk. Regularly checking and addressing any dashboard light issues is important for vehicle safety.

Can Dashboard Lights Being On When the Car Is Off Be Caused by a Faulty Oil Light?

Dashboard lights being on when the car is off can indeed be caused by a faulty oil light when braking. If this light remains illuminated even when the engine is off, it could indicate a malfunction in the oil pressure sensor or wiring. It is crucial to address this issue promptly to ensure the engine is receiving proper lubrication, preventing potential damage.


We already discussed the possible causes of your car dashboard light remaining on for extended periods, even after turning off the engine. Without much ado,

let’s briefly review all the article entails:

  • Some of the reasons your dashboard will refuse to go off after switching off your engine include faults in the car’s electrical system, faulty battery, low oil pressure, issues with the ignition system, etc.
  • Correcting this issue involves fixing the cause of the problem. If it’s low oil pressure, add more lubricating oil until it reaches the gauge. If you need battery replacement, get a new one.
  • When trying to figure out the cause of the issue, it is best to consult an expert to help diagnose and find the right solution. This is critical as it helps avoid causing more problems trying to fix the issue.
  • Though there is no significant harm when the dashboard light stays on, driving around with this issue is relatively safe. However, we recommend you find an appropriate solution so you don’t damage more critical components of your car.
  • Disconnecting the battery cables is a quick fix to correcting this issue, especially when you can’t consult an expert. This kills off every electrical aspect of your vehicle, preventing the power from draining.

Many tend to consider this problem trivial, overlooking it. However, we recommend paying attention to every warning sign your car gives to ensure optimum functionality and performance.

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