Dashboard lights are tell-tale lights pointing you to a problem somewhere in your vehicle’s health and performance. These tell-tale lights come in a variety of colors like red, blue, green, yellow, or amber. The various colors enunciate the severity or urgency of the issues indicated.
For example, red lights usually indicate more serious and urgent problems, while yellow or amber lights represent less serious ones. The green and blue colored indicators come on when you engage functions like headlights. So, it’s safe to say the green and blue are your “Nothing to worry about” colors.
When we look at it this way, it begins to look like red and yellow or amber are enemies, while green and blue are friendlies. But if we don’t get the red’s often-life-saving warnings, how do we know when there’s impending trouble or danger? Nevertheless, we’re yet to see a driver who’s used to red or yellow warning lights popping up on the dashboard.
Now, imagine multiples or all the dashboard lights coming on at the same time- red, yellow, blue, amber, green- the lots. We can imagine your apprehension, especially if you’re a new driver or you’re experiencing this for the first time. It’s quite normal for multiple dashboard lights to come on at the same time when you first turn on the engine, but the irrelevant ones should disappear a few seconds later.
However, if the lights remain on after the first few seconds, then your apprehension is justifiable. All your dashboard lights staying on at the same time is certainly an indication that something is wrong with your vehicle and needs to be fixed immediately. Multiple lights just mean you have more than one issue to deal with or multiple components to inspect. So, we’d recommend you start by investigating the following:
1. Faulty Alternators
A lot of the time, a faulty alternator is the reason multiple indicator lights come on at the same time on a vehicle’s dashboard. The easiest way to figure out if this is happening due to a faulty alternator is if the warning lights remain on when you turn off the ignition.
You should also run a diagnosis to be certain. To do that, you need to check the alternator with a voltmeter. If the alternator produces 14 volts or more, the alternator is in good shape. If it is faulty, it will produce less than 13 volts. Less than 13 volts means at least one out of the three rotating plates is faulty and cannot generate electricity.
2. Loose Connections
Another common reason for the dashboard lights to come on at the same time is loose connections or bad wire. Loose connections may affect your vehicle’s computer system, especially as the electrical components in your car are dependent on some ground connections. This is especially true for the ignition system and the battery. Check your vehicle’s primary battery ground wire for loose connections, and tighten them.
3. Low Battery Acid Level
Low battery acid levels and loss of battery charging capacity go hand in hand. If one suffers, so does the other. As time passes, your car’s battery will deteriorate and lose charging capacity, most likely because of battery sulfation. Sulfation will reduce the lifespan of your battery, causing battery failure.
It’s important to check your battery acid level and the charging capacity because if the electrolyte level is too low, the plates in the battery cells are exposed and will suffer damage. And why does this matter? Battery acid facilitates the conversion of stored chemical energy into electrical energy. A disruption in this process could cause such an “alarm” on your dashboard.
It’s normal for multiple dashboard lights to come on when you first turn on the engine but most of the lights should disappear within seconds. If not, then you have reason to worry. You can start by inspecting the alternator, the battery connection/wires, and the battery acid level.
All the lights coming on at the same time means you have more than one problem to deal with, so you’re better off enlisting the expertise of your local mechanic to run a professional diagnosis on your car.