Your Jeep is trying to tell you something; if your dashboard is flickering and flashing like a Christmas tree — it needs your help! Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy can happen due to a bad/dying battery, a faulty ignition switch, an improperly connected terminal, a loose connection, added accessories, corrosion, a short out, and many other issues. Find out more about flickering dash lights.
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What Happens When Jeep Wrangler Dash Lights Go Crazy?
While driving, you see your Jeep Wrangler dash lights start going crazy. Suddenly, the dash and exterior lights go off and then come back on several times. The “check TPM” light flashes, then your tire pressure readings light up, and your airbag light lights up. All gauges, radio, and high beam lights drop in and out. It progressively gets worse over time. You might think it will blow, but it’s fine.
This Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy effect is known as the Christmas light effect and is caused mainly by battery-related issues.
Why are Jeep Wrangler Dash Lights Going Crazy? What’s the Solution?
If your Jeep Wrangler dash lights are going crazy, your batteries likely have issues.
Potential causes of Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy include:
- A dying battery can cause your Jeep Wrangler dash lights to go crazy. It can have bad cells or not charge properly.
In this case, take your car to test your batteries at your local auto parts store. A proper load test for the battery is really needed. Have the battery tested to see if some plates are shorting and on their way out. Your battery might be load-tested fine on a heavy cranking load. Just put a light load on it and see if the voltage fluctuates up and down. Check it with the engine running to see if the voltage fluctuates. Check to see if the voltage is too high as well. I would ensure it is not the battery and/or regulator when the engine is running. If your battery is 4 years old, you should replace it anyway. Buy a replacement battery, and all the electrical problems will stop.
- It can be the main computer plug, located directly under the battery. It might get worse when it rains. If that is the case, it could be filled with water.
In this case, remove the battery and the battery holder. Open up the connector. Clean and wrap in a plastic bag. All your gauges and turn signals will work perfectly.
- Water can pool around your AUX battery and drain it. Water can flow from the drain to the battery compartment and pool. Or some water got into the connectors under the fuse tray and possibly shorted out some connections. In both cases, the Jeep Wrangler dash lights will go crazy.
In this case, get to the AUX battery. Take it out and do the dual battery install.
Faulty Ignition Switch
If you run the diagnostic, the code might show that the issue is the ignition switch. The ignition switch sometimes goes bad. Once in a while, you start it, and the malfunction light comes on with the speedometer and RPM gauges both dark. Sometimes, if you try to pull the malfunction code, you get an error message saying there is no code to read or clear.
You might have a faulty switch that is new. Without a connection inside the switch, you will see Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy.
To solve this issue, take your car in for the recall replacement. There might be a recall for the ignition switch. Replace the ignition switch.
Remove the ignition switch and clean it up if there is no recall. Once you plug it back in, you’re ready to go.
Try to clean the contact area with an emery cloth and gently bend them, so the connection is better. So, if you look at the white cover, there is an indent in the center where these spring tabs line up. Take a piece of foam about the size of a sugar cube, cover it with a piece from the side of a Javex bottle, and tape it with some electrical tape. Reassemble the switch, and it’s back to normal. Obviously, the new switch can be defective as well.
Also, for the ignition switch: pick up a can of CRC electrical contact cleaner at the parts store. Use the straw that comes with the can and spray that into the ignition switch, stick your key in, and rotate it around. Do that quickly, because the cleaner evaporates almost immediately. Do it several times.
Improperly Connected Terminal
Sometimes it boils down to a loose ground wire or connector on the battery. If that is the case, then if you hit a big bump, your entire dash will light up, and you’ll see Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy. Gauges will stop working, no turn signals.
To solve this issue, have your battery tested and check your terminal connections first. Tighten the battery terminals. Trace for a loose wire or ground.
To check the terminals:
- With a 10 mm socket, take out the nut holding the terminal in place.
- Make sure the terminal is firmly seated at the post’s base by pressing down on it.
- Squeeze the terminal behind the point where it meets the post using a perfect needle nose (or other small pliers). By doing so, the slight variation or gap will be eliminated.
- Thread the nut tightly onto the bolt before reinserting it.
- Verify every other connection and terminal.
You can buy a set of adjustable terminals. Jeep’s versions are not adjustable (cheaper), which is why you have these issues.
Bad/Loose Battery Connection
It could be a loose connector in the gauge cluster or low voltage from the battery. Connectors on the back of the instrument cluster have affected more than a few Jeeps. It’s usually the ground fingers that aren’t making good contact.
See if the battery terminals are even the slightest bit loose. If they are, make them tighter. Buy a battery post adapter/expander from the auto parts store to get their crappy OEM battery terminals to fit tightly onto the battery post. You won’t see your Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy.
Suppose you have added accessories (winch and fogs) attached directly to the battery post. In that case, chances are you have your Jeep Wrangler dash lights going crazy issue because of a loose battery connection.
Some Jeep electronic sway bars have a factory defect. The electronic board inside the bar gets wet and causes all kinds of electronic problems when plugged in.
Sometimes an adapter that is connected can be short and interfere with your electrical system.
To solve it, recheck the battery connections and move some attachments if they are directly connected to the battery and not to any OEM wiring. Unplug the added accessories from the battery to see if it still happens. Everything should go back to normal.
If you have the electronic sway bar option on your Jeep and are experiencing these issues, try unplugging it.
Get a new adapter to see what happens.
It might turn out that it is the battery shorting itself. Also, check if the wiring got exposed, causing your Jeep Wrangler dash lights to go crazy.
It can also be a module that shorts. Or a pinched wiring harness behind the dash causes the data bus to short out.
In this case, recheck the connections and the wiring. Also, diagnose the modules to see if any error codes are stored.
Corrosion on the terminals can slowly build up and cause resistance. Remove them, clean them up, and reinstall the connectors; the problem will disappear.
When you reinstall the battery, ensure that you clean the battery clamps. There are special wire brushes for that purpose. Once you’ve put the battery clamps back on and cleaned up and inspected the various connections, spray just a tad of WD-40 on the battery terminals and clamps every time you change the oil. That will keep corrosion from starting up.
If some fuses are not appropriately seated, your Jeep Wrangler dash lights might go crazy.
In this case, Pop the hood to see if every large fuse is sitting correctly. For every fuse that is not firmly seated, press down on it until there is a click.
Bad Control Modules
A control module like the heated seat control module can have issues. It can throw the whole system out of whack when it goes bad.
Check the modules for any error codes that may be present. If they have any issues, swap them out.
TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) problems affect a lot of Jeeps. There have been problems with the TIPM that will cause this. Replacing the TIPM would fix it.
If it’s not battery-related, PCM is likely the issue. To solve this problem you have to change the PCM.
Sometimes all that’s required is a reboot of the system. To do that, disconnect your negative AUX battery cable from the main negative block, and sit for several minutes. The longer, the better. See if it clears it up.
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The battery plays a crucial role in powering your car’s electrical system. If the battery isn’t working correctly, it could cause your Jeep Wrangler dash lights to go crazy. It’s best to have your battery tested and, if required, install a new one. Also, check the wiring and terminals if your Jeep Wrangler dash lights are going crazy. We hope you’ll never have the Christmas light effect again!