'99 Altima instrument cluster lighting inop

Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
17,920
Location
Suburban Washington DC
When I turn the headlight switch on to parking lights or headlights, the instrument cluster illumination doesn't work. Neither do the illumination in the shifter, hazard switch, power window switch, etc. The light in the rheostat does work and goes from dim to bright as the wheel is turned. The radio display goes from bright to nothing when the lights are turned on. Any thoughts to what's causing this?
 
Do the taillights work? Many cars put dash lights and running lights on the same circuit to alert the driver to a problem.

Check all fuses and potentially the switch.
 
If the previous owner liked to drive with the dimmer turned all the way up, every single bulb may be burned out. They don't bother to fix it as they go out one by one, and eventually sell the car.

Whenever an incandescent light on a car doesn't light up, always start with the bulb-- and only after confirming the bulb is good, initiate further troubleshooting.
 
If the basics are fine, the first suspect is the rheostat, which is the common component that usually controls the lighting level for the cluster, switches, other illuminated elements, as well as the radio, though the illumination wire. The odds are against all of those bulbs failing simultaneously, so the fault lies in what ties them all together. Next would be the headlight switch.

One of the things I always try to obtain for the vehicles I own are the wiring diagrams, which will help eliminate a lot of the guesswork.
 
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