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Dashboard lights

I have a 1996 Toyota Tercel with something like 218K miles on it.

About a month ago I noticed that at night, I couldn’t read the dashboard completely because some of the bulbs weren’t lighting.

Specifically, I could not see my fuel gauge or my speedometer (not that it ever had an accurate speedometer in the first place). I could see engine temperature just fine.

So I removed the plastic covers and saw the four green lights, and bought replacement bulbs, but I couldn’t figure out how to remove the existing bulbs without ruining my gauges. So I have been driving for the past three weeks with the dashboard taken apart.

Sometimes only one light would turn on, sometimes three would turn on. Now, all four are on.

Based on what I know about light bulbs, I doubt that the bulbs were shorting inside.

Should I replace all four bulbs anyway? Or will whatever was shorting just cause the new bulbs also to short? Is it possible that just by opening it and pushing stuff around, I fixed it?

Huh! Weird. I had a similar issue with my 88 Toyota Celica, but these were my AC lights. I removed the whole thing and on the board, just re-soldered a few points that looked cracked and cleand the little light wires with alcohol and a brush, as well as the surface where the lights sit (the little shiny parts). I also took the connections that go to the harness and one by one, took one out, close it a bit, and re-inserted it. It worked for me. Not sure if it will for you.