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Tech501, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 747
Experience:  38 years exp, ASE Mastertech with L1 Advanced Engine performance
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1990 Honda Accord Instrument Cluster lights and tail lights dont work

Resolved Question:

The instrument cluster lights on my 1990 Honda Accord do not work. Also, the lights to the AC, defroster, etc, do not work. Also, although the brake lights work, the tail lights at night do not. Since there is only one bulb, I don’t know what to do. Is there a fuse somewhere that can be changed to fix these problems, or is it going to be something expensive?
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Tech501 replied 12 years ago.
Yes, that is a fuse issue. The dash lights are put on the same fuse as the tail lights so you will know when the fuse blows. Your fuse box is either on the end of the dash pad on the drivers side or under the dash in the same area. There is a separate dash light fuse but that is on the ground side of the circuit. The power supply comes from the tail light fuse.
Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: Thanks for the quick reply. I can't find any fuse associated with either instrument cluster/dash lights, or tail lights. Right inside the driver door, down by my left foot, is the interior fuse box. I checked each of the fuses and none of them are blown. Above the fuses are a number of relays. Do you think these lights could be controlled by relays? I hope not, because they are way up there and are difficult to reach. Please advise.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 12 years ago.
No, I don't. It's going to be a fuse or wiring associated with the fuse. There is another fuse box under the hood but it would be unusual for a tail light fuse to be there. Try to locate fuse #23. It should be 15A. That power supply is before the  headlamp switch but the tail lights pass through the dash fuse box again before going back to the lights but the diagram doesn't identify which fuse at that point.
Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: Well, I checked the interior fuse box and found it numbered only 1-12. Since there were some empty slots, I tried a 15A fuse in these slots just to make sure that no one pulled the fuse out and didn't replace it, and for some reason the diagram on the fuse box cover didn't show it. I then looked at the fuse box under the hood. None of these were numbered, so I tried a 15A fuse in the empty slots, to no avail. Then I looked at the diagram and found a 20A fuse for "small light". I checked it, and it was blown. I don't know how I missed it the last time I checked. Anyway, I replaced it, and the tail lights work, but the dash lights still do not work. Does this help understand the problem a little better?
Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Oh, I forgot something. When I replaced the fuse, not only did the tail lights work, but also a little chime that tells you that the lights are still on when you open the car door. Very nice.
Expert:  Tech501 replied 12 years ago.
 Well, I expected that fuse to be blown but it appears that's not the end of it. The dash lights have another fuse, just for them that works on the ground side. It's usually less than 10A, probably a 7.5A. This could indicate that the dash lights may be what took it out in the first place. Make sure the dimmer control is turned up and look for the other fuse. That fuse will only have power when the lights are on.
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Customer: replied 12 years ago.
Never mind. My wife just drove the car at night and said the dash lights work. I guess that since they are a green/blue tint it was impossible to see during the late afternoon. Thanks alot!