Take a moment to consider how important the gauge cluster in your dashboard is. We often take the ability to see things like speed, engine temperature, and alerts for granted–until we lose that ability, that is. If the dashboard of your Subaru is suddenly dim, flickering, or just plain dark, your ability to drive safely will be compromised. Fortunately, different dash light problems often have distinctive symptoms. Below, you’ll find four of the most common complaints about dash lights, as well as their causes and how to fix them.

The Symptom: Dash Lights Are Too Dim

The Cause

The most common cause of this problem is the dimmer switch. This switch or set of buttons allows you to make your dash lights dimmer or brighter to match your needs. The switch or buttons can sometimes be bumped, causing them to lower the brightness of the dash lights beyond what is comfortable.

The Symptom: Dash Is Partly Dark

The Cause

This is a problem that is generally seen on vehicles that are a few years old or older, and that’s due to the kind of technology used. Nowadays, individual LEDs will often make up the dash lights, so it’s incredibly uncommon to see part of the dash that’s larger than one of these lights go dim. But in older vehicles, the instrument cluster was backlit by light bulbs. When one of those bulbs burned out, that part of the dash would lose its illumination.

The Symptom: Dash Lights Are Flickering

The Cause

No, your Subaru isn’t trying to throw a rave. Most likely, flickering dash lights are due to problems with the alternator. In addition to recharging the battery, the alternator is in control of running the electrical components in your vehicle. If the alternator is failing, it may not be able to steadily supply enough current to all the components.

The Symptom: Dash Lights Are Dead

The Cause

If the dash lights are completely dark, it’s safe to assume that the problem is somehow electrical. Most likely, this will be due to a blown fuse, which is designed to protect the circuits in case of a surge. However, it could also be due to deeper wiring issues. These problems could still cause the fuse to blow, and they may persist even after a fuse replacement.

If the fuse wasn’t blown, or the replacement fuse doesn’t work or blows again quickly, it’s likely that it wasn’t just a one-time issue. Instead, your car likely has some electrical problem that needs to be fixed. The experts at Callahan Automotive are equipped to handle such problems.