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Dan, Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 24576
Experience:  Independent Shop Experience, 2 Year Automotive Diploma, & Access to Information Database
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my dashboard lights go out for extended periods, then will work

Resolved Question:

my dashboard lights go out for extended periods, then will work sometimes. this is a 2000 chevy impala LS with V6
Submitted: 6 years ago via
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.

Welcome to JustAnswer, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm here to help get your problem resolved. Ask follow up questions, thanks.


If all of the other illumination lights work such as the radio, ac, doors, ect.....Then it sounds like you have a loose connection behind the cluster. You will need to remvoe cluster and inspect wiring and connector terminals to make sure they are tight and clean. Let me know if you have questions, thanks.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
hi dan, i am not a mechanic. i do not do repairs. i will take the car out- i think the whole dash goes dim / to dark including the radio. i notice too that the little orange dot lights by the a/c go off when i press the rear defrost. i am thinking the lighted door buttons no longer work either as i do not recall seeing them, but will have to check. i had a good mechanic but will probably not go back due to concerns i have had building.
he wanted to send some part (maybe the cluster you refer to) over to a specialty shop, but he was talking over $350.00.
on car one person was saying that a bad flasher unit can throw off the lighting or omething like that.
is it difficult for a non-mechanic to attempt to get to the cluster- it would certainly save a lot of money!
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.

If they all go dim, this is a common problem with the headlight switch......I'd go ahead and replace it. Let me know if you have questions, thanks.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes Dan, i checked and all of the dash, radio, and buttons (like window) are dim. so i will go and get the headlight switch replaced. this has been a situation where the lights have been off more than on. thanks. if this does not work are you available for further ideas?
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
Yes, I'll be available so if it doesnt work just let me know. Thanks.
Dan and 4 other Chevy Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hey Dan,

I have not ordered a switch yet, but found one online. It is an OEM part. Today, for a short time the blue/green mileage light and the blue/green radio station light were on, but the illumination is always out it seems now for all of the button on the steering wheel and the doors, and the rest of the dash like the speedometer. So, you think this will do it to just replace the the headlight switch. I found a website carparts wholesale that offers video on replacing this part. Still think this is the problem?
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
Yes, the headlight switch is the most common......You can try to disconnect battery and touch cables together for 10 seconds to reset models....Let me know how it turns out. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
buy headlight switch, replace it, then touch disconnected battery cables to reset - what is getting reset, and is this battery cable step done after replacing the headlight switch or a seperate attempt to fix the problem? thanks
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
The body control module is getting reset......incase that is acting up instead of the switch. Let me know if you have questions, thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok i will try touching the disconnected battery cables together for 10 seconds first. by the way again thanks for the prompt replys. you are ahead of me.
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
No problem, let me know how it goes. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I just tried touching the battery cables together, and that made no difference. Everything is dim/ or out. The buttons like windows controls, and steering wheel buttons for cruise controls are completely dark, such that I forgot they exist. I note there is a fuse position for steering illumination, but I do not see a fuse for window control illumination. The entire dash and radio is dark or dim for the radio and the odometer.
So I will order the 40 some dollar light switch, which does not include a new dimmer switch- do I need to order the 134 dollar unit that also has a new dimmer switch?
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
Its usually just the headlight switch that fails, not the dimmer switch.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Dan, it worked. thank you very much. i ordered the new switch back in january 2011. it sat around until it warmed up outside. today i had nothing to do, so i tried my first car mechanic repair. everything lighted up after a problem which had gone on since 2005. i had two dash panel screws left, but this is no big deal, huh. this cost $54. most of the switch and dashboard illumination had been gone, and now all works, including the speedometer area backlighting, the dashboard lighting, the steering wheel switch lighting, the door panels switches lighting, all works. i want to pay you fifteen dollars bonus. is this possible. i am no longer in justanswer, as i just signed up for a pay what you want trial.
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.
I'm happy to hear it works, there should be the option to leave a bonus somewhere if you cant find it no big deal....The main thing is problem has been fixed. Thanks again and let me know if you need anything in the future.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.


two things have come up. 1). the fuel gauge either registers empty or full, maybe somewhere in between at times, but it does work correctly and can jump to empty. 2).

the key switch sometimes will not start for several tries.

Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.

The fuel guage is either caused by the fuel guage sender in tank or cluster you would need t check resistance and compare resistance when problem is happening if same cluster is abd if different sender is bad.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok this resistance test, i would have no idea where to apply these two tests, or the type of meter ( obviously a low voltage type of ohm meter), so I would have to go to a mechanic about this issue . Is this even worth trying to explain to me, as in if you get it through the resistance in my knowledge, how much will this end up costing. I am thinking i should try it if you are willing to explain to a greenhorn. What sort of estimated cost for you time. You saw I did a modest bonus before (though it took me until warm weather to get access going)