Question about Volkswagen Passat

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97 Passat Dash Lights GONE! Last night I switched my headlights on and had no dash lights. This includes all illumination for the climate control and console (automatic trans). To the best of my knowlege everything else works, all gauges read, cruise works, MFA reads and cycles properly. Fuse cover does not state "dash/instrument lights" or anything that would indicate that there is a fause for them. I have cycled the rheostat (dash light dimmer) many, many times, but don't get a flicker or anything. Any ideas

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  • Chris Chandler May 04, 2010

    There appears to be no fuse to the dash lights.

  • Chris Chandler May 04, 2010

    Ok....... Let's start over. I didn't mean to offend you, but I was hoping for a little more direction, lke which fuse the dash lights might be tied to. I have all the test equipment required, but don't undestand how to get at the dimmer to test it, and would prefer not to tear the lower dash apart if there's an easier way, or perhaps another problem that I might not be aware of. Fuses DON'T always fail only if there is a dead short, either, we both know that. So can we work together?

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  • Volkswagen Master
  • 6,826 Answers

I would look in my car manual in the glove box to find the fuse for this and check it,if it is not a fuse,then the dimmer for the cluster lps is bad.

Posted on May 04, 2010

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. May 04, 2010

    I do not know what you are talking about,you did not offend me at all,maybe it was someone else,,but any who,it is all good,,look at the fuses,and you will see that on each side of each fuse,there is metal exposed,this is for testing,use a test light if you have one,or a volt meter.Ground to a good known ground,with the ground lead of the volt meter.Turn the key on,and the head lights with the dimmer on the instrument cluster lp`s up.Touch each side of each fuse.Both sides that you touch of each fuse should show voltage,12 volts.If one side does not show voltage,but the other side of the fuse does,then that fuse is blown,this is a better way of making sure the fuse is blown,or not.Now,if you get to a fuse that has no voltage on either side of it,then this means it has no voltage going to it at this time,now this could mean that this fuse is not being used,or not in use at this time,starter fuses will fall in this catagory ,seeing you are not starting the car,so to eliminate this fuse as a dead fuse,turn the key to start the car to see if it lights up.Now if you come across a fuse that is totally dead,this could be the cluster lp circuit.Using a jumper wire to test this ,will work just fine,jump from one hot fuse to this fuse,and if the cluster lps light up,then the dimmer switch for the cluster lights is bad.I do not suggest leaving the jumper wire on,cause the cluster lights will eluminate all the time .There is a fuse for this,just find it,and test it,and you will know what to do then,

  • Ronny Bennett Sr.
    Ronny Bennett Sr. May 05, 2010


    May 04, 2010 - I do not know what you are talking about,you did not offend me at all,maybe it was someone else,,but any who,it is all good,,look at the fuses,and you will see that on each side of each fuse,there is metal exposed,this is for testing,use a test light if you have one,or a volt meter.Ground to a good known ground,with the ground lead of the volt meter.Turn the key on,and the head lights with the dimmer on the instrument cluster lp`s up.Touch each side of each fuse.Both sides that you touch of each fuse should show voltage,12 volts.If one side does not show voltage,but the other side of the fuse does,then that fuse is blown,this is a better way of making sure the fuse is blown,or not.Now,if you get to a fuse that has no voltage on either side of it,then this means it has no voltage going to it at this time,now this could mean that this fuse is not being used,or not in use at this time,starter fuses will fall in this catagory ,seeing you are not starting the car,so to eliminate this fuse as a dead fuse,turn the key to start the car to see if it lights up.Now if you come across a fuse that is totally dead,this could be the cluster lp circuit.Using a jumper wire to test this ,will work just fine,jump from one hot fuse to this fuse,and if the cluster lps light up,then the dimmer switch for the cluster lights is bad.I do not suggest leaving the jumper wire on,cause the cluster lights will eluminate all the time .There is a fuse for this,just find it,and test it,and you will know what to do then



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  • Volkswagen Master
  • 76,691 Answers

Pull the dash light dimmer rheostat and test it, chances are it is open and is the problem, If the dimmer has power to it and the lights don't work then the dimmer switch is defective, the fuse is most likely not a problem, it would be the instrument cluster fuse, remember any fuse being blown indicates a shorted circuit.

Posted on May 04, 2010

  • 1 more comment 
  • yadayada
    yadayada May 04, 2010

    You have to do the dash light dimmer check, why did u ask for help and then not pay any attention to it, I have been doing this automotive electrical work for 35 years, please check the switch before u reject my advice, there is no magic fix, and there is a fuse, but 99$ sure that is not the problem, it would be a 5 or 10 Amp fuse, use a 12 volt test (avail from any auto parts store for $5) light to check ALL THE FUSES.

    WHY PAY FOR EXPERT ADVICE AND THEN PAY IT NO MIND??

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 04, 2010

    I am not offended, good luck my friend

  • yadayada
    yadayada May 04, 2010

    when i get the rating you gave I don't spend any more time. sorry. once again, good luck with this repair.

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