No Power to Dash or Ignition: 9 Possible Reasons

Having no power to dash or ignition system can make you panic, and you might need to look at various components of your vehicle to check whether it’s working effectively.

The main reason behind why this happens can be no electrical power to the dashboard lights or ignition system. 

For instance, a bad alternator or battery, a blown fuse, or worn-out dash bulbs can be the issue for this problem. Let’s discuss it in more detail.

No Power to Dash or Ignition

1. Bad Alternator

The alternator is a device used in your car which helps in converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. It has mainly three components, i.e., stator, motor, and rectifier.

The stator is the stationary part, and the rotor is the rotating part of an alternator. The drive belt pulley system turns the alternator’s rotor whenever you switch on your engine. 

An electromagnet(conductive wire wrapped around the magnetic metal) is in the rotor, which helps generate alternating current.

The rectifier converts the alternating current into a direct current and supplies it to the battery. 

The battery further provides power to all the electrical systems, including your car’s dashboard and ignition system. 

But when the alternator goes bad, it cannot charge the battery when the vehicle is running, which can be the issue for not turning on the dash lights or becoming dim in your car.

Additionally, all other electrical systems, like ignition systems, will work slowly when the alternator does not function effectively.


You need to inspect the battery and if the battery is in good condition, then check the alternator properly. The windings or the slip rings get damaged with time, and you may need to replace the alternator.

 A new alternator price is approximately $13,000 to $18000, and you can install it on your own if you have little technical knowledge.

You need to follow the below steps to replace an alternator.

  • Allow the engine to cool completely.
  • Disconnect the battery terminals. During the installation of the new alternator, the battery should be completely charged.
  • Remove all the electrical cables connected to the old alternator.
  • Remove the screws that have kept the old alternator in position.
  • Install the new alternator and connect the wiring and screws back in place.
  • Now check whether the ignition or dash lights are receiving enough power. If they are receiving appropriate power, then you have solved the problem. But if not, you need to inspect other components, like the battery or wires in your car.

2. Blown Fuse

A blown fuse is another common issue for no power dash lights and ignition in the vehicle. 

You need to look for the fuse box, usually in the engine bay. A cluster fuse or light fuse is generally responsible for issues in the dash lights. If the fuse is blown away, replace it with a new one.


A new fuse price is nearly $10 to $20. You replace it and then check the ignition and dashboard lights. If they will turn on, then there is no problem anymore. 

But if they don’t turn on or the fuse keeps on consistently blowing, there is another problem you need to investigate. It’s best to take your car to the nearest mechanic.

3. Dead Battery

Whenever the car battery drains charge or becomes completely dead, it cannot charge the electrical accessories, including dash lights and ignition in the vehicle. 

Numerous reasons can be behind the dead battery. For instance, if the alternator cannot provide enough power to the battery, it becomes dead quickly. 

The battery cables can get weak with time, and loose connection can be an issue for not providing appropriate power. The corrosion can even make the battery connections weak.


  • You must check the car battery for corrosion. If it persists, then clean the battery terminals by using a good battery cleaner.
  • Recharge your battery if it has insufficient charge, and then check the dash lights and ignition. If the lights flicker or the battery drains away quickly, then there is some other problem in your car which you must investigate.
  • Check the battery voltage by the multimeter when the car is in off condition. The reading should be 12.6 volts or at least 12 volts. Now start the engine and then check the battery voltage. It should come now within 13.5 to 14.5 volts. 

If it’s not coming, then the battery can have some problems. If your car has gone old and you have not replaced the battery for more than three years, then there are probably some issues with the battery, and if required, change it with a new one. Replacing a car battery price is $90 to $200, depending on the type of vehicle.

4. Faulty Ignition Switch

A faulty ignition switch can be another significant reason for not providing enough power to the ignition.

It is usually located near the dash area. The driver usually inserts the ignition key in it to start the car. But the switch can go bad because of overheating. Sometimes the ignition relay can wear out and cause the problem.


Check it with a tester. You even need to check the ignition relay. If you inspect the switch in bad condition, better replace it.

5. Wiring Problems

Wiring issues can be the next culprit behind the improper electrical power to your car’s ignition system and dashboard. Damaged wires can break the electrical circuit and hence cause the problem. 

There will be no sound when you put the key in the ignition because of damaged wires. Sometimes rodents can get inside the car and damage the wires. The wires can even be worn out due to so many bumps on the road.


It may be challenging to check the wires of your car. So you need to hire a good mechanic for wire insertion. If any cables are damaged, then you must replace the wires immediately.

6. Faulty Starter Motor

The starter motor is essential and plays a primary role in starting your car. Whenever a driver switches on the ignition key, the starter motor draws power from the battery and gets activated. Consequently, it starts your vehicle. But problems in this device can cause the issue.


The starter is connected to the battery by cables, and damage to lines can cause the issue. Additionally, the interior part of this device can get damaged after use for many years. If this is the case, then you have to change it.

The starter relay can also have issues. It is a small switch that helps supply power to the starter. It can get damaged and need immediate replacement.

You can easily replace the starter in the vehicle with the following steps. 

  • Your first duty is disconnecting the terminals connected to the old starter motor.
  • Remove all the wires that are connected to the starter.
  • You need to unscrew all the bolts that have kept the starter in its position.
  • Remove the old motor and install a new one.
  • Connect cables and bolts in their usual place.
  • Put the battery cables or terminals back and check the ignition and dashboard are receiving electric power.

7. Damaged Dash Bulbs

The dash bulbs can get damaged after using them for a long time or because of high currents. All the dash bulbs can get damaged simultaneously.

The issue usually occurs in old cars, as you will find incandescent bulbs. But in modern vehicles, you will find LED bulbs that rarely go faulty.


Inspect the dash bulbs, and if they are worn out, buy new ones and use them instead of the old ones.

8. Your Headlights Are Switched On

In some cars, you will find that the dash lights become low or will not illuminate when you switch on your headlights.


Check whether you have turned on your headlights if you observe no dash lights. If they are on, it’s completely normal, and you don’t need to worry about it.

You need to change some settings so the dash lights will illuminate even when you turn on the headlights.

9. Change Settings Of Dimmer Switch

The dimmer switch in the vehicle control how bright the dash lights will look in your car. Improper settings or making the dimmer switch level down can cause the issue. 


You need to inspect the dimmer switch correctly and if you have lowered it, then change it back to normal so that you will resolve your problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my ignition has no power?

If your ignition has no power, then you may have a problem with the electrical system in your vehicle. You should start by checking to see if any of the fuses are blown or if you have an issue with the alternator or battery. It is important to rule out these cases before having a mechanic take a look at it. Additionally, make sure all of your cables are connected properly and that you do not have any broken or damaged wires that could be contributing to the power loss.

Why does my car have no power but battery is good?

If your car has no power but the battery is good, it could be possible that the issue is coming from a faulty starter or alternator. The starter helps to turn on the engine, and the alternator helps to generate electricity for the onboard electrical components. If either one of these components fails, then your car will not have any power. It might also be possible that there are other electrical issues at play, like a malfunctioning fuse or relay switch. A qualified mechanic should be able to investigate and diagnose what is causing the lack of power in your vehicle.

Is there a fuse for the dashboard lights?

Most vehicles contain a dashboard light fuse which is used to power the lights on the dashboard. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, this fuse may be located in several different locations, such as under the hood or in one of the side panels. It’s typically easy to identify when you look for a small round black device that looks like a battery. It’s important to find and replace any blown fuses, as they can cause your vehicle’s dashboard lights to malfunction or stop working altogether.

What does it mean when dash lights on car wont come on and car wont start but headlights work?

When the dash lights in a car don’t come on, but the headlights work, it typically indicates an electrical problem. This could mean that a fuse has blown, wiring has frayed or corroded over time, a short circuit has occurred in the system, or an automotive computer component is malfunctioning. Other potential causes include a dead battery or degraded battery connections. It is important to have any issues fixed right away, as they can cause safety hazards while driving.

Why is there no lights turning on when I put the key in ignition?

There are several possible reasons why your car won’t turn on when you put the key in the ignition. It could be that your battery is dead or your alternator isn’t working properly. In some cases, a fuse may have blown, preventing the lights from coming on. Another possibility is that a ground wire has become disconnected or broken. Finally, if all of these things check out okay, it’s possible that there is an issue with the starter motor or solenoid. If nothing else works, it’s time to call for professional help.

Wrap Up

We have listed various reasons for insufficient power to dash lights or ignition.

You can inspect various components like batteries, alternators, or wires in your car and if they are faulty, replace them. 

The settings of the dimmer light can be wrong sometimes, and adjusting the settings can quickly solve your problem.

 But if you lack technical skills or are unaware of vehicle parts, take your car to a good auto repair shop. The mechanic will identify the real reason behind the problem and solve it.

Thank you for reading this article.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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