New dash lights for old car

I have a 1989 Toyota pickup and am having trouble with the dash lights. I am thinking of having them replaced en masse along with any fuses. As I am getting older, I find that I need more light to see things. What I want to know is if I ask my garage to replace the bulbs can I specify that they use higher wattage bulbs or is the design of the dash light system such that only one type of lights, those of the wattage in 1989, will work. I am hoping that they can use brighter bulbs. Thanks for any help. Mark

You are likely to have overheating problems if you switch to more powerful bulbs. I would try LEDs instead. I suspect another problem if your vision is “normal” for your age and you can’t see them with full-on. Maybe the control is bad somehow. Some of these dim by controlling voltage and others are PWM. Can you see the dash display in other cars?

Try a Toyota PU board or an automotive electrical shop for suggestions in either of the directions I suggest.

Step one. Remove one of the bulbs and get a part number. Then get the specs for that bulb. Then see if a similar bulb with the same base has a higher CP (candlepower) rating. Automotive bulbs were once rated in candlepower. Today, they may have switched to watts.

But be warned, the dash light circuit may not be able to carry the additional load, especially the dimmer control…The real problem may be that after 20 years, the dash fixtures have gotten cloudy and dirty, reducing the light…

Hmm, you really may not be able to increase the lamp output. If it is a real dial gauge you could get some cheap led stick on lamps to shine on the panel. There are several really cheap bright ones around. They are small enough to do the job but you will have to turn them off when not in use.