Inside Car Lights Won’t Turn Off: Causes and Fixes

Are you perturbed because your inside car lights won’t turn off? Are you skeptical about whether the situation may endanger your car or any of its components? The problem is not unnatural with vehicles, as it is a sign that one or more parts of the car are faulty.

One essential feature of a car is the inside lights that keep the car’s interior bright at night so that you can see everywhere within your vehicle when you need to use the light. Multiple switches control the interior lights in your car, and the control system is designed to work automatically, especially with modern cars with sophisticated interior lighting.

However, if your car’s interior lights stay on while driving, it could be that you manually turned it ON with the switch next to it. If this is not the case, it is a sign that one or more components of your car’s electric connection are faulty. It is not an issue for you to bother yourself about.

Sufficient information has been provided in this article to enlighten you about the causes of your car’s challenge and how to fix the problem.

interior car lights wont turn off while driving

What Causes Inside Car Lights Won’t Turn Off

The interior lights of your car have been designed to function both manually by the different hand switches on the roof next to the light, on the doors and the dashboard, and automatically whenever you open and close the doors of your vehicle.

However, sometimes there may be a bit of malfunctioning whereby the lights stay ON instead of going OFF based on their original way of functioning. If you experience this situation, it is likely caused by any of the following.

Failure to close the door properly

Your car’s interior lights are linked in connection to the door of your vehicle, and in some cases, to the trunk. The lights turn ON when you open the doors or the trunk, and they turn OFF when you close them.

Therefore, if you find out that your car’s interior lights fail to turn OFF at any point in time, the challenge is likely traceable to one or more doors you failed to close properly.

Damaged or faulty switch

The lights are fashioned with a manual switch on the roof close to the light, on the door, and on the dashboard. If you discover that the interior lights won’t go off, it may be due to a switch you manually turned ON and forgot to turn OFF.

If this is not the case, then it is likely that one or more of the switches have been damaged, especially leaving the functionality at the ON position.

Adjustment of the dimmer switch to its highest position

Your car lights dimming function is performed by a setting located at the left side of the wheel on the dashboard. When the setting is adjusted to the furthest position, it usually affects the interior lights of your car.

Therefore, if you find out that your car’s inside lights are ON and won’t go OFF after checking for the other control points, change the dimmer switch setting.

How to Fix Inside Car Lights Won’t Turn Off

Having understood that your vehicle’s dome lights are usually located on the roof, door, and under the dashboard, and the reasons why your car’s interior lights won’t turn off, it is also crucial to know how to fix the problem.

The following are methods of fixing the problem if your car’s interior lights won’t turn off.

Adjust the light switch

Firstly, it is easy to turn ON the lights using the switch close to the light on the roof of your car or the dashboard and forget to turn it OFF. 

Therefore, the first solution is to check whether you mistakenly forgot to switch it OFF after switching it ON manually. If this is the situation, turn it OFF.

Properly check the light switches at the doors

Another point on control of your vehicle’s interior lights is the doors and, in some cases, the trunk inclusive. Therefore, you should carry out a proper check on the switches on the doors. 

You may have to open and close each of the doors one after another to see if the light will turn off. If this doesn’t work, locate the manual switch on each door and press it to turn off the light. 

You will feel a click once you press the switch. If you don’t feel the click after this action, the light doesn’t go off, and the switch on the door is likely faulty. Try to fix the defective switch yourself or see a technician.

Properly check the headlight switch setting

Some cars have a knob responsible for controlling the brightness of the lights on the dashboard. If the setting of this light is on the highest, it may likely affect the interior light and cause it not to go off. Therefore, if you find out that the setting is at its highest level, change it to fix this challenge.

Check the wiring or see a technician

Suppose the suggestions above do not work after applying them. In that case, you may want to trace the wiring of the interior lights of your car to ascertain any disconnection or faults that cannot be easily discovered by merely carrying out the above operations.

The wiring of the interior lights of your car runs from the switch at the door across the frame into the dashboard of the vehicle. Therefore, you would need to be careful in performing this action; otherwise, it would be best to consult a professional auto technician to solve this problem.

Sometimes, people experience situations whereby their interior car lights won’t turn on. If you face this situation, you may also want to go through the same process of fixing the interior lights provided above or see your auto technician. Also, answers have been provided to some frequently asked questions in the following paragraphs.

interior lights stay on while driving

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q: Can interior lights drain the battery?

If your car’s interior lights stay on while your vehicle is parked somewhere for a long time, it can drain your vehicle’s battery, thereby leaving you stranded.

If you forget to close your car’s door properly, it can cause the lights to be left on, and if this continues for a while before you notice, it may be too late because it must have drained your car’s battery.

However, you can quickly fix this with a jump starter approach, and there may be no complications with your car’s battery at the end of the day. Nevertheless, it would be best if you check your vehicle properly after parking and shutting the doors to see if any lights are on so that you can prevent the problem rather than looking for a cure.

Q: How do I turn off the dome light in my car?

Your car’s dome light is operated via multiple switches. The primary control can be found on an adjusted knob on your vehicle’s dashboard on the left side of the steering wheel or the headlight switch.

There are also additional switches mounted to every door of your car, and in some cases, a switch is mounted on the trunk. Meanwhile, to turn off the dome light in your car, kindly follow these steps.

Option 1: Adjust your car’s dome light switch.

There’s a dome light switch in every vehicle. Some vehicles have a switch on the dashboard and another on the light itself. Your car’s dashboard brightness display switch can turn off the dome light when it is at its highest setting. Turn the dashboard brightness display switch to its lowest setting and see if the light turns off.

Optional 2: Locate each door switch by opening and closing one after the other.

Open each door to locate the switch mounted on them. Then, manually press the switch to see if the light will go off.

Option 3: Start your car and let it run for about 3 to 5 minutes

Please take a moment and start the car and allow it to run between 3 to 5 minutes. Then, please turn it off and remove the key from the ignition. After that, open each door and shut them one after the other. The dome light should go off after about 5 minutes of performing this action.

Finally, if the options above do not help you turn off your car’s dome light, remove the bulb to avoid the battery from draining quickly. After that, you can see an auto technician help trace the wiring and check for any faulty part of the connection and rectify the fault.

Q: How long does it take for interior lights to drain the battery?

It would take between 4 to 8 hours for your car’s battery to completely drain due to leaving the interior lights on for that long. 

The average battery life of a car is between 50 and 100 amp-hours, especially in new vehicles. Most cars’ interior lights are about 0.5 to 1 ampere. Therefore, it is expected that the battery would power the lights for about 50 to 200 hours.

Some modern cars with sophisticated interior lighting systems can automatically turn off their interior lights when the car’s system realizes that you may have left the lights on by mistake. For example, the 2015 BMW has LED lights that can turn off automatically after a while.

Q: Do interior lights turn off automatically?

It depends on the kind of vehicle, make and model. The interior lights of the most recent vehicles are automatic. Therefore, they turn off automatically whether auto headlight mode is activated or not.

However, if you turn the lights on in some vehicles, you may also have to turn them off manually. Therefore, you should understand how your car’s lighting system works and take the necessary action to turn off the interior lights to avoid your car’s battery draining unnecessarily.

Some car owners also ask to know how to turn off inside car lights with the trunk open, and others have also complained about specific vehicle makes and models. If you drive a ford focus and are experiencing the same challenge, you may be asking why your ford focus interior car lights won’t turn off. This article has addressed the solution you are looking for.

Final Words

If your inside car lights won’t turn off, you shouldn’t be bothered, as sufficient information has been provided above in this article to address the issue. Open and close each door of your car or carry out proper checks on the switch next to the light in the roof and the doors.

Having checked the switch on the roof and the doors for any fault or damage to ascertain why your interior car lights won’t turn off while driving, kindly consults your auto technician if you find any defect or damage that you cannot fix personally.

However, always check your car’s interior lights and other components to ensure that they are all in good working condition. Check to see that your car’s interior lights turn off before leaving your car after parking to avoid unnecessary headaches due to the draining of your vehicle’s battery. Your car’s battery won’t hold a charge when it is dead and left for so long. Always remember, “Prevention is better than cure.”


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

One thought on “Inside Car Lights Won’t Turn Off: Causes and Fixes

  1. I have a 2014 Chrysler 300. I have four interior lights above the dashboard. The bottom left light will not turn off. I disconnected the battery in hopes that would help. It did not.
    Thank you.

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