Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Odometer/Dashboard lights will not turn on

Hello! I’m new here.
I have a 99 Honda Civic, it’s working great however the dashboard lights will not light up when I turn my lights on. I tried switching the dim switch on it, thinking that may be the problem, but that did me no good. Does anybody know what causes this and how to go about fixing it?

Also, when I turn my lights on my radio seems to be trying to light up, but the light is very dim.

The dim switch may be the right area for the problem. Check the voltage on each side of the switch. I believe the switch is just a variable resistor in series, so you should see 12 volts on each side of it when it is turned to max. If there is no voltage there, trace it back. there is probably a fuse in the line that could be open.

Is the radio original, or an add-on? It may be the source of the problem, as the installer may have butchered up the wiring.

1 Like

Should I check the actual dim switch or where the dim switch plugs into?

The radio looks like the original. I’ll ask the original owner of the car to make sure. Thanks

So I guess the radio was switched out, I may have found my problem

1 Like

Allow me to be the first to ask…
did you check the fuse?

possible stupid question, but it has been the solution more than once in my experience:

Are you physically turning the headlights on? Or are you just seeing the headlights on, and expecting the other lights to work?

I ask, because I have had several friends ask me why their dash lights and/or bright lights won’t work, only to discover that they are thinking their lights automatically come on at dusk, but in reality they are only seeing the Daytime Running Lights on- which won’t work the brights or the dash lights.

If you are physically turning the headlights on, verify the switch that switch is working when you check the dimmer (if they are separate.)


DRLs on a '99 Civic?
I don’t think so!

That I have no idea on, @VDCdriver.

Never personally worked on a 99 Civic, but i thought it may be a possibility. :slight_smile:

If it was purchased in Canada, then–yes–it likely has DRLs.
If it was purchased in The US, then…nope.

1 Like

It does not have DRL’s; I have to physically turn my lights on. Haha. Also, I checked the fuse and it looks fine. I switched it out for a new one to make sure but it didn’t do anything.

By dim switch, do you mean for the headlights, or the dash lights?

The dash lights

It sounds a faulty dash-dimmer control. Try moving the control from one extreme to the other, full bright to full dim, repeat going through the full range 10-15 times if necessary, see if the dash lights start to flicker on a little when doing that. If so, that’s consistent with that part going south on you. You might be able to bring it back to life for a little while anyway using that technique.

I already put in a new dimmer switch and that did not work.

Well that’s disappointing to hear … lol … hmm … well, it’s pretty simple how to light up a bulb, put a voltage potential between each of the two connections. So one method to address this problem, figure out the cause for just one of those dash-light bulbs first. Either the + voltage isn’t making it to one side of the bulb, or the - (ground) voltage isn’t making it to the other side.

Canada has required DRLs for many years, as have some other countries. Without knowing the OP’s location, I’d be reluctant to make that assumption. :slight_smile:
Although in this case it does seem to have been correct.

1 Like

Okay I’ll give that a try when I can, thanks.

I know the OP already confirmed there are no DRL’s on his car. I know that there were some US market cars that did have them. My 1999 Camry did.

Please take a look at my earlier statement:

Fair enough. I only looked at the first of the two statements.
Apologies. :blush: