My car’s clock won’t stop flickering

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader whose dashboard clock flashes whenever the car is turned off.

The 2005 Honda Accord EX sedan.
The 2005 Honda Accord EX sedan. –Honda

Q. I haven’t been able to find anyone who can explain this problem. I own a 2005 Honda Accord that I bought new. When the car is off, the clock and the light for the clock flicker on and off. Typically, the light is on for 20 or so seconds and off for three seconds. This problem started about two months ago. The only thing I have ever added to this car was an aftermarket radio, but that was five years ago, and this problem has been recent. What do you think the problem is, and can I just disconnect the clock?


A. Odd electrical issues similar to this are usually related to the wiring, a faulty diode, or a poorly soldered joint in the clock or in the circuit that powers the clock. You can’t simply disconnect the clock since it is part of the climate control system. There is a large plug that connects to the back of the air conditioner/heater dashboard control that also incorporates the clock. One thing that sometimes fixes odd electrical issues is to disconnect the battery and touch the disconnected positive and negative cables together. This will in essence reset the electrical system. Then connect the battery’s positive cable first then the negative cable. If this doesn’t work, short of putting a piece of tape over the clock, I would suggest going to a specialist that specializes in wiring repairs.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to