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96 Ford ranger, no dashboard lights or tail lights


I have a 1996 Ford Ranger, 2WD, Supercab, 4 cylinder engine. My Dashboard lights went out, along with my tail lights. My rear break lights and rear flashers still work, just not the regular lights, the ones that stay on at night and whenever you have the headlamps on.

A year and a half-ago, this happened, and the problem was a blown fuse, which was easily fixed (by replacing the fuse). The fuses all look fine this time around, so I’m having trouble fixing the problem. Although I’m not a hundred percent I’m correct about this, because the manual does not indicate which fuse handles the tail lights or the dashboard lights. I’ve looked at every fuse, and tried replacing about 10 of them, but there was no effect.

Is there anything else that would cause this problem? A disconnected wire or something? I would like to fix this myself, but I’m not that great at fixing car things. I can’t drive at night until I take care of it, though (cars behind me can’t see me).

btw, there appears to still be power and light to my radio display, although I think the back light to the buttons and stuff are also out.

Take a look in your owners manual. Does it show a park lamp relay?

Dont know if yours is wired the same, but the wiring diagrams for my 97 Explorer shows the headlight switch wired to the “park lamp relay”.

The lights should also flash when you use your remote to lock/unlock the doors

Do the liscence plate lamps work?

I forgot to mention that it is a standard transmission. Not sure if that makes a difference.

I suggest you purchase a wiring diagram of service manual for the vehicle. They are a great source of info for this. Also get a test light probe to check for power with. The fuses may be ok but if power isn’t getting to them, you have a problem. The light switch section for the dash lights needs to be checked also since the trouble may be there. If the switch is passing power then the connections to the lights is the next check. Since the dash lights aren’t working also the touble is most likely in the dash area.

Is the wiring diagram in the Haynes manual?

And you are certain that the fuse is GOOD? I’d replace it to be sure. Also this happened to me and the fuse my manual told me was not the right fuse. Ended up taking them out one by one until I saw the blown one. Since the fuse does control the lights(dash and tail) that you mention and if it’s not the fuse it would make sense that it would then be a more serious issue of a wire or the fuse panel itself. I’d like to add that I’m no pro but did have this same problem! :wink:

There should be a diagram in the manual but they aren’t the best. It should help you though.

I have the EVTM’s (Ford factory wiring diagrams) for all my Fords

These manuals are approx 100 pages. The pathetic wiring diagrams in a Haynes are 5 or 6 pages.

Guess which manual actually gives you the detailed info you need to fix this simple little problem and your next electrical problem.

Enter the info for your Ranger at & at the pull down menu click on “electrical troubleshooting manual”

I just checked & the manual is on sale for $14.00. It’s worth 10 times that.