We have a 1984 Toyota Cressida with 278,000 miles. In the last few weeks the dash lights and tail lights go out and then come back on. It usually happens after we’ve been driving for a while (more than 2 hours) though it’s happened a few times when it’s been less. The headlights, interior lights, and even the hazards still work. After about 5-10 minutes it comes back on. Any idea what might be causing this? Can we fix it inexpensively?
I have two ideas.
One, check all the fuses. I’ve seen fuse contacts on cars this old build a layer of corrosion. This leads to high resistance and melted fuse boxes. Check the fuses, not only for blown fuses, but for corroded contacts. Sometimes just removing and re-installing them works wonders.
Second, It could be the light switch. IIRC, the light switch is on the turn signal stalk. There is a connector under the dash to the steering wheel that all the functions on the steering column go through. You can check for proper continuity there before pulling the steering wheel. The steering wheel will have to be removed to replace the multi-function switch, if that is the culprit.