I drive a Chevrolet Cruze 2011 and about halfway home the dashboard lights dimmed. I don't have an adjustable knob.

Is it as simple as replacing a fuse or battery? What could be the cause?

  • How are the other electrics in the car? Are the headlights dim as well? Does it idle roughly when you've got the aircon on? Also, just to eliminate things, how do the battery terminals feel after you've run the car a lot? If they're warm it may be a loose terminal connection creating resistance. – MeltingDog Jan 20 '17 at 2:45
  • Everyrhing else seems to be find, the headlights, lights on the inside roof (when you open the door) etc. Idle is fine its smooth and normal. Ill check the terminals to see if theyre loose – Cole Jan 20 '17 at 3:10

Some of the newer cars automatically dim the instrument lighting when the ambient lighting changes. In other words, dim them at night so it is easier on the driver's eyes. Unsure if your car is equipped this way, but I did find where the adjustment knob should be.

According to the Owner's Manual;

The thumbwheel is located to the left of the steering column on the instrument panel.

It looks like this;

enter image description here

This feature controls the brightness of the instrument panel controls and infotainment display screen.

Considering you said they "dimmed" and not went off completely, it is not a fuse. This knob may have been bumped, causing it to dim the lights.

  • I used to design instrument panel controls for cars. There is a Federal regulation that requires that the lights are dimmable. Your car has a control for this somewhere. Pls read your owners manual. – zipzit Jan 20 '17 at 15:11
  • @zipzit side question - can this dimming control go to zero? Is it possible to turn the dash lights completely off with this control? – Criggie Jan 21 '17 at 9:02
  • Nope. The minimum is "discernible" in a pitch black test room. (Remember these lights are on when the headlamps are on. ) These are federal safety specifications. What's safe about a black cluster at night? – zipzit Jan 21 '17 at 15:15

If the headlights are bright and the dome light is bright then you probably need to reseat a fuse. Open the fuse box and look for the labelling that points to the interior fuse. Pull it out and reseat it. It isn't blown, but may have a high resistance connection due to some corrosion building up.

The other thing that just crossed my mind is that you didn't mention if the headlights were on the entire time or not when you noticed this. If you turned on the headlights the dashboard may dim because it thinks it is getting dark. Is this car new to you?

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    The terminals seem to have a good connection and i didnt see any corrosion build up on them either.Sorry, yes the headlights were on the entire time; and i would say it is fairly new to me and its my first car. Ill pop the fuse box and check that though thanks! – Cole Jan 20 '17 at 4:01
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    @Cole How long have you been driving this car? Have you driven it at night much before this? – Zshoulders Jan 20 '17 at 15:16

@charlieRB hehe thanks that was it i do recall looking at that assuming it was my cruise control but now that i take a closer look it is for lighting. Thanks all for the help.

  • I'm mildly terrified that you're in control of a multi thousand-pound vehicle on a road, and have not taken the time to study the instrument panel. There's so much more to safe driving than steering-gas-brake-horn and you're off. Do please read the literature, and spend time in the driver's seat learning where everything is. – Criggie Jan 21 '17 at 9:00
  • @Criggie I'll stand up for Cole a bit here. I have a Chevy with one of these roller things. It is the most unintutive, unresponsive piece of equipment in the car. You have to roll it slightly, it bottoms out, and then the light adjusts 1/100000 of a candlepower at a time -- unless you hold it for a few seconds, and then it turns up to "blinding" in .2 of a second. All of this assuming you can find the thing, which you can't because it is placed behind and under the steering wheel. There are far more terrifying things on the road than somebody not knowing how to adjust their dash brightness – Zshoulders Feb 3 '17 at 16:43

I'm not familiar with your make/model vehicle but you may just have a failed instrument light bulb.


2016 Chevy Sonic The last 3 weeks or so I would get in my car and my dash light would be all the way low.i would turn it back up and it kept doing this Couldn't figure out why. Yesterday left teen in car while I was in store she had music on. About 15 minute came out and it was Dead ,jumped it, took it and had the battery tested it was a bad battery. a least I am hoping I fixed the problem. the reason I am writing this to share the first sign in my car for a bad battery. have a great day, Georgette

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