My 1st Gen Tacoma Interior Lights Won’t Turn On

Toyota Tacomas have some issues with their interior lights turning on/off.

Even though there are very few new cars without push button start, Toyota went cheap on their interior lights design quality.

In practically any car, there is a ton of light in both the interior and exterior.

For the interior lights, you have the dome lights, map lights, door lights, dashboard— and this is just a partial list.

Newer cars or more expensive cars should have more features, not necessarily more lights.

The exterior lights are more obvious since they are literally talked about and required by regulators to be functional and operational.

In this article, we will discuss why the 1st gen Tacoma interior lights won’t turn on.

  1. Make sure installation is correct
  2. Checking the fuses
  3. Check your switches
  4. No contact or corrosion

Make sure installation is correct

A clean installation should follow a few guidelines:

  • Checking the fuses – DOME fuse should be 7.5 Amp rated to avoid shorting
  • Solid, secure wiring connections
  • Change to LED lights opposed to stock bulbs 
  • LED bulbs are actually working

Checking the fuses

If you do not check the fuses for shorting or lack of connection, you could end up like the picture above.

A blown fuse is most likely the common culprit, DOME 7.5 A.

Fuses can be blown for these reasons—

  1. Defective
  2. Overloaded
  3. For no reason at all

Regardless, they are cheap and easy to replace and find.

Check your switches

If your switches are off, even if everything else is powered with secure connections, your Tacoma interior lights will not work.

Here are a list of switches to check—

  • Rocker switch – This is between your map lights. Make sure it’s not off. You may have easily bumped it into the off position.
  • Door switch – If there is substance like rubber on it, it could hinder its job. Cold weather is also an issue here.

No contact or corrosion

If all your switches and fuses are solid but you still do not have any dome lights, you may have some corrosion or poor contact within your dome light configuration set-up.

It will also be assumed that you used a Volt meter to check if your have Amps running through your Dome lights, which is should read about 10 A.

You would need to take apart your dome light and hold onto your two key pieces while inspecting the plastic/metal piece—

  • The ball
  • The spring

What is likely happening is that there is either—

  • Poor contact when the switch is moved
  • Good contact but no reaction due to corrosion

So, either using sandpaper or Scotch brite to clean the metal portions and get rid of the impurities.

This should do the trick as you put the Dome light back together and you will have your interior lights working again.

What causes interior lights to stay on?

  • If your doors are open
  • If your dome switch is on

With those two conditions, your interior dome lights create a complete circuit for electricity to power your interior lights.

A basic understanding of circuits should make this very easy for you.

How do you turn off interior lights with door open in a Tacoma?

In later Tacoma generations, changing the entry light times in your configuration settings— “Apps/Setup/Vehicle/Vehicle Customization/Lights Settings/Interior Lights Off Timer/7.5 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, Off” to the Off setting will turn your interior lights off. 

How long can interior lights be on before the battery dies?

With good batteries, your interior lights can be on for several days without having a dead battery.

X2 Power vs Odessey battery… what is your pick?

  • X2 Power – 76Ah (20 hours)
  • Odessey – 65Ah (20 hours)

Both are great and they should last you years, if not decades if you are proactive about your driving.

Since most normie car batteries have around 50Ah, it would usually take 25-40+ hours to really drain a normal battery with just the interior lights on.

With the high-powered batteries mentioned adobe, expect longevity and excellence.

Another thing to keep in mind is that batteries should not be draining within 8-10 hours after a fresh installation.

There are some owners that just keep having battery issues and I am here to say that that is atypical.

Theoretically, this should last your Tacoma 4.8-8 hours before you have a dead battery.

Wrapping It Up

There are not too many things that can go wrong with 1st Gen Tacoma interior lights.

A blown fuse or faulty switch setting are the two most likely issues that you will have to turn on your interior lights.

Be aware though that proper installation can be a key part as well as high-quality parts since you will want your parts to last forever (if possible).

But even with these minor issues, you may be wondering why are 1st Gen Tacomas so expensive.

At least it is much better having a Dodge Charger Interior Lights issue…

But enough about having issues with your cars.

Let us focus on better and brighter aspects of history— like the best Thunderbird cars.

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