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First thing you should do is to locate the Fuse Panels.They are located on the left of steering column covered possibly by a cover. Also there is a Fuse panel under the hood also covered by panel or Box Cover. The computer unit is probably not blown,Fuses are placed in vehicles for just this very type issue,to prevent Power Surges from damaging Computer units or other electrical components. Check every fuse there is a tester available that is not expensive to insure you change the blown one...thats the first place to start.
The AutoZone website may have a wiring diagram in the sites self help repair section.
If you have a voltmeter check for voltage and ground continuity at the bulbs. Check for voltage before and after the brake switch (operate the switch). If you don't have a voltmeter connect something up with a 12V bulb.
If you have voltage after the switch (when operated) but none at the bulb might check the brake/tail light sensor. This is the actual sensor box located in the trunk, drivers side. The sensor can fail resulting no brake lights.
There have been various posts at this forum on the sensor, suggest you do a site search to find these and review them.
It is at the engine end of the upper radiator hose. In the picture below it is number 15, below the thermostat cover, number 13 and gasket, number 14. This is a picture of your 1996 Toyota RAV4 cooling system.
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have never heard of a vehicle that can't be used to charge a cell phone but if that's what the dealer said, they usually know something about the vehicles they sell. i can suggest a work around but it might be you won't like it. you can buy a 12v jumper pack, it's really just a battery in a plastic case that can be used to jump your regular 12v car battery in the event that you can't get the car started from the regular battery under the hood. they are available in a few different sizes, they have them at car parts stores and dept. stores, you plug it in at home and it charges up overnight, then take it in the car with you just in case. every one of these that i have ever seen has a 12v outlet on them. some of these are quite heavy but you don't need a big one and you probably won't need to charge it more than once or twice a week just running a cell phone charger off it. i will admit that it is not as convenient as plugging it into your car but it won't blow a fuse and i'm pretty sure it would work. hope that helps