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Lights Out On The Dashboard


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My 1988 Camry with 320,000 miles has just lost its instrument panel illumination. The center console light had died years ago and I could live without that, but it's very tricky and potentially dangerous to drive without seeing my speedometer and temperature gauge. The idiot lights still work (brake, high-beam, etc). The light had gradually gotten dimmer over the years and now it's gone.

Is this a do-it-yourself project to replace a couple of dead light bulbs? I started poking around under the dashboard but didn't see anything obvious except dust (which gets vacuumed this week). Funny how the general repair manuals (Haynes, Chilton) will show you how to field strip and rebuild your whole engine, but can't show you where all the light bulbs are.

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This happened to me in an old Honda Civic once.. The problem is your dimmer switch.. The free solution is to cut the wires going to the dimmer switch and splice them together. You won't be able to dim the dash lights but they will work when you turn them on. You could also replace the dimmer switch if you want to spend the money. Let me know how it turns out.



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  • 4 weeks later...

I replaced the rheostat controller, but it did not fix the problem.

The answer was the fuse. The fuse looked okay on inspection, but I replaced it anyway. I have found paradise again.

It was a $25 lesson from the junkyard, where only 99c would have sufficed.

Many thanks for all your responses.

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the light bulbs are simple if you can get the front dash bassle out of the way with 5 screws and then the isterment cluster is present the bulbs when you are looking at the back of the inserment cluster they are the little black circles that you push and turn the left and they fall out same on the back of the center console lights and the toyota delership should be able or the parts store near you should be able to tell you the type and size. tjvp

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