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With what info you've given,it would not have been the light switch or the rheostat for changing dash light brighting.Since both the dash lights and running lights are not working,first thing I'd have done is replace the fuse,since both are o the same fuse.Kinda like when my Toyota wipers would stop,the overdrive stopped working too.Both were on the same fuse.Replace the fuse and good to go.I carry fuses with me.
Automobile companies make the dash lights stop working to let you know that the tail lights are out. Usually it is just an indication that you have blown a tail light fuse. First make sure that you do not just have the dimmer turned down on the dash lights. But if the dash and tail lights are out, first check the fuse block to see if the fuse for the tail lights has blown. If you change the fuse and it blows right away you will have to start searching for electrical shorts. Another tell is when you notice that the turn signals are flashing faster than normal. This means that one or more of your turn signal bulbs has burned out.
there are a few fuses under the hood be sure to check fuses again at dash they could look good but not be and if one was blown it could have blown as soon as you turned them on again that would indicate a short. it could be the switch also if it is the pull type try pulling it slowly to see if they come on and turning it like to dim the dash lights. if that makes them come on you need a new switch sometimes it will work sometimes not