Dash, tail, and park lights are out


Asked by Mar 19, 2013 at 09:49 PM about the 1987 Ford F-150

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I get up this morning & fire it up, no dash-lights. On the way to work I get pulled over, no tail-lights. I get home and start checking and no park lights either. Headlights, turn signals, brake-lights all work. I checked all fuses, their fine, bulbs are good. No connecters loose. Is their a relay, or something that I'm missing? I don't have the cover for the fuse block/relay panel under the dash so I don't have a clue. Somebody out there has had to have this problem before. Help? Post and/or e-mail me, please. Thanks, Kris

33 Answers


There's usually no relay. Power from the fuse goes to the switch and off to the lights. Your ground is good because your other lights are working. I would be giving those fuses a second going over.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

Judge roy sounds alot like bob nueske thinking that battery corrosion picks and chooses what circuits to affect. Since to battey powers everything in the vehicle it wont cause only certain lights not to work. I would take tenspeeds advice and check componets specific to the circuits that are not working.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

could be in the headlight switch itself,some used to have a breaker built in the switch,maby ford used a relay that year, look under hood for relay box,switch some around most are the same relay ,hot wire a park light wire bring life to full circuit till found,call parts and see if park light relay listed in inventory

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Try wiggling the plug in on back of switch, or the junction connection for the switch on the pig tail.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I would replace the fuse first, just in case. All the lights that are out are on the same fuse, and nothing else is on that same fuse. Failing that, my next best guess is the headlamp switch. A faulty rheostat for the dash lights can do this, and it is integral with the switch. The switch is not very expensive, and only takes about 10 minutes to change. I am betting, though, that it is the fuse. That is the normal cause of this problem.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

tenspeed, you gave me the first good advice, and I re-checked the fuses. They were all good. Judge roy was way off base with battery corrosion. All of the elec. system would have been messed up, starting w/ign. and headlights; high amp draws. (Not my problem, and I don't let my battery get corroded!) mrmooney, good idea, tried it right after I checked the fuses. kbro had the right idea. 7jimmy7 nailed it first, with Michael following him up. The only thing that my dash, tail, and park lights have in common is the headlight switch. I bought one for $15 and the next day I'm driving my "87" Ford to work cop-free. Thank you all for your help. I'm glad that there are people like you out there to help everybody. Thanks again, Kris

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Im asking elswhere a similar question but I have a live wire hanging down from the light switch, what i wondered is do you recall the POSITION of the live wire to that switch my side and tail lights dont work and the burnt wire didnt blow a fuse. see my question what are the connections for the light switch on a 1963 thunderbird

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

i have the same problem but its my fuse. #6 fuse they keep blowing. any idea why?

19 out of 19 people think this is helpful.

mine is a 2000 f150

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

This is some excellent stuff on here! My 2002 F150 lost dash lights and tail lights. What is really weird to me is the fact that the head lights will NOT turn off. Can't wait to get out there in the morning and see if its the head light switch. Crossing my fingers, do NOT want to start tracing wires to look for shorts.

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.

Hey mechanicallystupid did you fix it? i have the same car, same problem.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

hey my #6 fuse keeps blowing.. no tail lights no dash lights.. head lights brake lights work fine.. also sometimes the lights stay one.. just but a new headlight switch in hoping that was the problem.. last night traced wires from the hitch to the box.. found a but wire on the lights from the running boards.. was thinking problem solved because fixed wire new fuse in and drove for avout two hours.. got on it a little from a stop light wheel hopped a little and boom fuse blown.. this is the same the same thing that happend the first time i had fuse problems like maybe something could be lose and shaking of he truck didnt help ( truck has 5.4 mod motor supercharged running about 16 lb boost ) this explains the wheel hop .. usually just spins even with locker from 45 50mph but i just rolled on it slowly trying to get traction but like i said the wheel hopping happend and instantly fuse blows again... is there something im over looking a wire im not checking ,.. any information will help it is getting really frustrating not being able to drive at night .. 2003 F150 king ranch

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Fixed! Parking and dash lights went off and head light wont turn off until the car was closed. It was a defective fuse, #6 (15A) located at the power distribution box, in the engine compartment, the little bastard didn't blow but had a fracture at its base, very hard to find!

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

Ok I have a 95 f150 and nothing but problems. I bought it used and it has had another motor put in it. The moron who put it in didn't bother with making sure the power wires were away from the manifold. You can guess what happened next... Everything shorted out. I have a kill switch for fuel pump now, but my issue is with my lights. Headlights, brights, turn signals and brake lights all work. Running lights and dash lights do not. The fuse blows every time I pull the light switch. I know its a short but can't figure out where. Wires to back of fuse box are solid in place. I've traced wire all the way back to tail lights and found nothing that would cause a short there. I re wired the trailer hook up just to be sure but still same result. Any ideas?

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

I have a dash light problem. The fuse is good and the switch seems to be working as well. What else could be a problem?

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.

I'm having the same problem as everyone else. No dash, no rear lights, and headlights stay on. Just blew #6 fuse. I had a short in the wiring two years ago on my rear driver side. Hard to find but I noticed corrosion. I'm re-checking that spot to see if it broke loose.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

KC, where u at? How'd it turn out?


Found the problem. Rear left license plate light shorted out.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a issue with my 2002 Ford Explorer my tail lights wont work but my head lights come on any ideas anyone

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

On the no dash lights no parking lamps it is the headlight switch just fixed mine last night ;) 2002 Focus :)

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

I have a 88 ford with the same issue. The head lights , dash an tail lights go out. I've checked the fuses under the dash. Put a switch in it. Started working about a day then the same thing happened. I took the + battery clamp off to check the alternator, it kick on an so did the head lights. Not sure where to go from here.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I fixed mine. It was the light for shifter indicator. Lamp had melted causing a short. Replaced lamp socket and problem fixed. Yours sound like there's a loose or bad connection at the switch because normally tail and headlight are on a separate fuse. Good luck


89 t bird tail lights and running lights will not work same for license plate lights. head lights will along with brake and turn signals. found a blown fuse for frnt park lmps, replace the fuse and it blows immediately. headlight switch? bad bulb somewhere? bad relay?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Try isolating sections at a time like the rear lights, disconnect the plug above the spare tire, if fuse doesn't blow, the problem is in the rear lights, that's the most common place for a grounded wire. If it still blows, disconnect plugs at the front lights, one at a time til u narrow it down

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Same problem in a F250 1998 Triton after I installed LED in Dash and Tail/Front Ligths, may be too much current, I replaced the Fuse #7 UnderTheHood, 25 Amp. (Signals, HeadLigths, but no HiHeadLigths, and no background DashLigths.


TavoNice If all fuses are good, check light switch and dimmer switch


Ford used a relay, most Camper Specials, between the light switch and the side marker lights and the tail lights. Mounted behind the instrument cluster on the left. Power to this is usually straight from the Starter Solenoid or 12 volt side of the battery, When the light switch is pulled on, the 12 that normally goes to the lights, powers the relay coil to engage the contacts FOR the lights. Since this pulls more power because of the extra lighting. AND if I'm wrong, correct me please, ray

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Check the t connector under your truck by the spare tire a lot of the time those connectors will get a lot of dust in them and will cause blinkers and brake lights not to work I found that this was a problem for a lot of people with the same issue

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I had the same problem and was the fuse #6 under the hood

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I'm having the same problem I checked every fuse what should I do now someone plz help

i replaced the headlight switch check and put new fuses in and still no parking lights no dash lights and no rear lights

turn signals work and headlights go on but stay on when you shut the truck off i replaced the headlight switch check and put new fuses in and still no parking lights no dash lights and no rear lights


Use a ohm meter to check individual wires to ground, this might tell you at least what wire and or color of wire......if it has a short in a wire.

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