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Car Lights (Dome and Headlights) won’t Turn OFF


The most common reasons for lights not being able to turn OFF include defective switches and relays. While problems with interior lights can be easily solved by adjusting switches or actually closing the doors, problems with headlights are usually more complicated and may require professional assistance.

If your car lights are stuck in the ON position, it’s a problem, because leaving them on for an extended period of time will drain your car’s battery. So, what can you do in this case? Simply disconnect the battery cables from the battery.

Be careful when you do this and make sure that you have the proper equipment and always start by removing the negative connections first. This will NOT solve the problem completely, but it will at least allow you to start the car without needing someone else to jump it.

You could also try turning off the lights by disconnecting the relay. This is a bit more tricky since it requires you to know which relay controls your malfunctioning lights. The owner’s manual should be able to help you out.

Disconnecting a fuse of corresponding light is another temporary solution. When the battery gets too low or is depleted, you will NOT be able to start your car because the lights consumed all the electricity which otherwise could have been used to power the starter motor

Now let’s go over some of the problems:

Interior car lights won’t turn off

Inside a car, dome lights are controlled by a number of switches. There is one overhead, another on the dashboard, and doors also have switches.

Here are some of the reasons why your car interior lights would not turn OFF:

  • You forgot to close the door (completely).
  • You did not close the trunk well or the front hood is not properly latched
  • Your overhead switch is in the ON position.
  • Your dimmer switch is at the furthest position
  • Switches at the doors are faulty

It is super easy to manually turn any of your interior lights ON, and then simply forget about them! If your dome lights won’t go OFF after being ON for a while and everything is closed properly, you may have a problem with any one of the switches.

Now, let’s dive into the details:

Problem #1. Did you leave a door open?

I mean, it doesn’t have to be open COMPLETELY, it could be just slightly open to create this problem. Dome lights that don’t shut OFF are a good indication that you left one of your doors open (or not closed fully).

This is simple to fix, just check all the doors and close them properly. Check the trunk as well.

Problem #2. Open trunk or hood latch

Cars have sensors on the hood and trunk. If your trunk or hood is open, you will get notified of this situation by certain lights on your dash or interior lights that do NOT shut OFF.

All car models are different and this may or may not apply to your situation.

Problem #3. The overhead switch is ON

It’s possible that the interior lights won’t turn off because you forgot to turn OFF a dome light switch when you used it to read something (for example). Car’s interior lights are designed to work automatically when you open and close the doors, so when you switch it to the manual mode, it is not supposed to be turned OFF.

If you turn the switch ON by hand, it could still be ON and this is why it is not shutting down!

The dome light is located on the roof inside your vehicle and it has a switch right next to it. The light will NOT go OFF when this switch is in the manual ON position.

This is an easy fix, and all you have to do is move the switch back to the automatic position.

Problem #4. The dashboard dimmer switch is all the way up

If none of the above helps, it’s time to check out the light switch on your dashboard. This switch controls the brightness of your dashboard, as well as the dimming of your dome light.

If this switch is at its highest setting, there is a chance that your lights will not turn OFF. The solution is simple:

Put this switch on the lowest setting.

You will know if the switch is broken if your light or dashboard display does NOT dim.

Problem #5. Door switch problems

If the above is not your case, let’s start examining door switches. These switches on doors control the proper operation of your vehicle’s interior lights.

Try opening and closing your door one at a time to see if any of the switches are malfunctioning. If you don’t find a switch that gives you trouble, try looking for the manual light switch on each door and press it to turn the lights OFF.

A door switch is usually a simple button that gets reset with a click. After you press this button and you don’t hear a click or the light doesn’t go OFF, then the door’s switch is probably broken.

Since this is an electrical problem, you may want to get professional assistance to solve it.

Your headlights won’t turn OFF

If your car has a completely automated light system, you may have a problem with turning lights OFF due to the fact that they could be programmed by the manufacturer to stay ON for about 1-3 min after shutting the car down. In this case, try timing how long your lights stay ON and if they don’t go OFF after a much longer period of time, you may have a problem with a “time delay relay”.

Try turning your lights OFF manually before shutting down your engine and see if it solves your problem.

Also, daytime running lights turn ON automatically when the car is started, and if they don’t get turned OFF, then you may have a sensor that failed and that is preventing it from working properly.

Automatic lights may have a sensor that triggers them to be turned ON when the amount of light outside goes down. Foreign objects can sometimes obstruct these sensors and enable your car “to believe” that it is constantly dark outside!

They get turned OFF manually by engaging a parking brake. Any of the above problems can be solved by a specialist and the car needs to be taken to a shop:

Attention! This article is for informational purposes ONLY and is NOT a replacement for professional advice! ALWAYS consult your local specialist for an appropriate solution to your problem. All statements, prices, contact information, recommendations, and reviews contained herein came from sources that we believe to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness thereof is not guaranteed. Please contact the service provider for complete details and updates.

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