Dashboard Lights Flickering Car Won’t Start (Possible Solution!)

Last Updated on January 14, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

If the dashboard lights of your car are flickering but the car isn’t starting then some common reasons for this problem are a dead battery, a faulty alternator, a faulty starter motor, or the ignition switch malfunctioning.

Key Takeaways

  • If the problem is with the battery then you should check the battery and see if the battery terminals are clean and securely connected
  • If the battery is dead then change the battery or jump-start the battery to see if the problem is solved or not
  • If the alternator is faulty then you should repair it because the alternator is responsible for powering the car
  • Check all the available fuses of the car, if any fuses are damaged then the car won’t start

Car Won’t Start And Dashboard Lights are Flickering – Main Problems 

The Lights On The Board Are FlickeringA diagnosis is recommended to detect alternator failure
Car Won’t Start
In addition to the alternator, a dead battery could be the problem with the vehicle’s ignition
The Battery Is Exhausted
The battery is usually exhausted due to an alternator malfunction, although this is not the only possible problem
Some Electrical Accessories Work InappropriatelyBoth the battery and the alternator may be problems that cause electrical accessories to malfunction
The Headlights FlickeringHeadlights may be dim or blink due to inconsistent power supply

Can A Bad Battery Cause Dash Lights To Flicker?

One of the main reasons dash lights can flicker is a bad battery. Flashing dashboard lights are a clear indication that the vehicle’s battery should be replaced as soon as possible. It’s the malfunctioning battery that causes dashboard lights to flicker, as well as the malfunctioning of any other electrical components on the vehicle.

In particular, it is necessary to consider that batteries usually have a certain life span. This lifetime is not usually the same considering the different qualities of vehicle batteries.

Therefore, if too much time has passed, it is necessary to check the condition of the battery first. In turn, an old battery can be replaced by a unit with more advanced technology for a more efficient result. 

What Does It Mean When Your Car Dashboard Lights Flicker?

When the dashboard lights start flashing there may be a problem with the vehicle mechanics. However, there is not a wide variety of problems that can cause dashboard lights to flicker. One of the most common problems is that there is some type of failure or damage to the car’s alternator.

On the one hand, the alternator is the component responsible for recharging the battery inside the vehicle. However, this same component also performs other functions related to electricity. One of these functions is of course the control over the electrical components of the car and its operation. That’s why the lights on the dashboard can flash.

These problems can be noticed in other electrical components of the vehicle such as the radio. Each of the vehicle’s electrical components will not be receiving constant and sufficient electrical power. Here, the electrical power supply is simply not the most appropriate. However, there is a certain solution that is relatively simple to apply.

In this case, each owner needs to deal with the vehicle’s alternator. If the vehicle’s alternator is not replaced at the appropriate time the battery can also receive a negative performance. Most of the time the battery starts to run out slowly. This is why there may come a time when the driver needs a quick start to use the vehicle. 

The engine could stop working since the alternator is responsible for sending an electric current to the spark plugs to create the starting spark. So, it is simply necessary to replace the alternator as soon as possible. However, the lights on the dashboard could also present other problems.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Alternator?

In principle, the lights on the board may start flashing when there is an alternator malfunction. However, this is not the only problem that can occur when the alternator begins to fail. It is necessary to take into account that an alternator is a key part when talking about the electrical system of a vehicle.

In particular, the alternator is charged to convert the energy of the crankshaft into energy for the car. In this way, the vehicle’s battery can be recharged more efficiently.

Besides, the various electrical components of the vehicle receive the necessary energy to operate. Therefore, it is not surprising that a failed alternator means a whole cataract of problems in the vehicle.

1. Indicator Lights

As we have mentioned, a malfunction of the vehicle’s indicator lights is the main symptom of an alternator failure. At the same time, it is also possible to display the “GEN” or “ALT” warning lights on the dashboard of a wide variety of vehicles. Of course, this is key to detecting the malfunction of the alternator.

That is why it is very important not to ignore these indicator lights. Many vehicle owners ignore these warnings even though they are specifically designed to alert the owner. When a vehicle owner sees these warnings, it is advisable to take the car to a professional mechanic for a diagnosis.

On several occasions, many people can fix certain problems before they become worse. So, when an alternator begins to fail, other problems may arise.

One of the most common drawbacks is that the battery runs out of power until it dies permanently. Of course, it should take some time but owners here will need to spend money on a new battery in addition to fixing the alternator. 

2. Flashing Headlights

To continue with the various electrical components that can fail the headlights are important. The headlights may start flashing or may also start to dim. Either way, it’s simply a situation where the power is not getting through properly for the headlights to work properly.

In particular, this can happen because the alternator is trying to provide electrical power to each of the vehicle’s electrical components. Of course, in this attempt, electrical power is being provided from time to time disproportionately. Of course, this does not necessarily decrease the life of the headlights.

However, this is another symptom that should be considered when checking the alternator. Also, it may be a battery problem rather than an alternator failure. Either way, the vehicle owner will need to approach a professional mechanic’s shop. In this way, a much more detailed analysis of the problem can be obtained. 

3. Different Electrical Problems

Today’s vehicles generally have a large number of accessories and components that run on electricity. That is why any of these components can present a deficient or inadequate operation. The alternator is one of the central parts when we refer to the electrical system of a vehicle. 

Here, it is possible to include the radio, stereo sound system, air conditioning, dashboard lights, electric locks, and power windows. So, when a person notices an abnormal operation of any of these components, it could be an alternator failure. Of course, the alternator is not the only part that could fail to produce the abnormal operation of these parts.

However, it is highly recommended to hire an auto repair service. In this sense, it will be possible to detect in a short time the failure of an alternator. If this is not the real problem, then it will be much easier to find the real drawback. In other words, here it will be necessary for a professional mechanic to find the problem that is happening. 

4. Problems And Noises

Of course, vehicle noise is not a very reliable symptom to know exactly what the problem is. Beyond that, strange noises are still a symptom to know that something abnormal is happening in the car. In this case, it is necessary to know that unusual noises in a car can be related to a wide variety of electrical or other problems.

Some unusual noises can be created when engine failure produces certain consequences. Without a doubt, one of the most common consequences is engine bearing failure. This can create some very particular noises that only car owners who have experienced this problem know about. There is also an efficient way to detect this specific noise.

Usually, these strange noises occur in combination with some of the other problems we have mentioned. So, if it is an alternator that is failing, it is likely that the battery or some other electrical component is also failing. When it is possible to consider all these problems, then the main source of the inconvenience may appear more clearly. 

5. Car Won’t Start

Of course, the car may not start when the alternator is failing. In this case, the spark plugs that ignite the gasoline in the engine do not work because they do not have the power provided by the alternator. So, this is another inconvenience caused by a deteriorated alternator.

6. Exhausted Battery

Finally, the alternator cannot do an excellent job of recharging the vehicle’s battery. So, if the alternator is not replaced in time, then the battery will also need to be replaced in the future. That is why it is really important to detect each of these symptoms to fix the alternator as soon as possible. 

Conversely, late detection of alternator failure could lead to a wide variety of problems. As usually happens, as time goes by the number of problems increases, as well as the budget needed to solve all of them.