My 22 year old daughter drives my 98 Toyota Camry. The lights in the dash have burned out. I need to find out how to replace those bulbs or should I just tell her to be home before dark or maybe tape a flashlight to the steering wheel?
All the lights went out? Did they all go out at the same time?
There are quite a few bulbs there (6 or more for normal illumination), plus a bulb for every indicator (CEL, oil, airbags, turn signals, high beams, low beams, etc).
If your illumination lights all went at the same time, look for a fuse. Otherwise (if they went out over time) you’ll have to remove the cluster to change them. I’m not familiar with that specific model, but you should find two phillips screws that go up into the dash. You’ll have to check around the area to see what else is holding it in. Normally there’s not that much more, although the trim may have to be removed, too.
She didn’t inadvertently turn the rheostat (dash dimmer) down by accident did she? Believe it or not, that’s not a rare thing to occur.
If the rheostat is where it should be then I would suspect a faulty rheostat or a faulty main lighting switch.
It would be highly unlikely that ALL of the bulbs in the instrument cluster and dashboard would burn out simultaneously.
I suspect the dash light dimmer has been turned all the way down, as ok4450 suggested, or a fuse has blown.
Check both before you start trying to replace the bulbs. Getting to all of the bulbs will not be easy.
The lights dimmed and went out one at a time over the last 5 months so I’m pretty sure it’s not a fuse (did that several years ago and had to have all the electronics rebuilt).
I am also voting for a bad rheostat (dash light dimmer). When it’s dark, move the dimmer control from minimum to maximum with the dash lights on. See if any of the dash lights up then. The probability of all the dash lights going out at the same time is very low.
This is actually a DIY on changing the color of the dash needles but it does a good job describing how to get the instrument cluster out. The bulbs need to be replaced from the rear of the cluster.
Also the ToyotaNation web site has lots of good info for Toyota owners, and it’s free.