How to Change the Dash Lights on Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer

The Ford car comes equipped with several dash lights on the instrument panel. These lights serve the dual purposes of illuminating the instrument panel in darkened conditions and lighting up certain indicators whenever there is an issue with your Ford car. To test if any of the lights need to be replaced, switch the ignition one click forward from the "OFF" position, but do not turn the engine on. This will illuminate all the dash lights, allowing you to see which lights need to be replaced.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Dash Lights on a 1998 Ford Explorer

Open the hood of your Explorer and disconnect the negative (black) battery cable.

Remove the two bolts underneath the radio with a 7mm socket.

Remove the three bolts above the instrument cluster with a 7mm socket

Remove the four bolts on the lower dash piece (underneath the instrument cluster and the steering wheel) with a 7mm socket.

Pull off the lower dash piece and remove the two bolts on the metal plate underneath with an 8mm socket.

Pull the metal plate down to expose two bolts. Remove them with a 7mm socket.

Pull the radio trim out and disconnect any electrical connectors. The number of connectors will depend on how well-equipped your Explorer is.

Pull off the instrument panel trim making sure to disconnect the wiring harnesses on the left and right side.

Remove the screws on each side of the instrument cluster with a 7mm socket. There will be four screws altogether.

Tilt the instrument panel forward to exposed the gear shift indicator. Then push the two tabs on the indicator and slide it out.

Disconnect the three plugs on the back of the instrument panel.

Twist the dash light that you are replacing to unlock it, then pull to remove it from its socket.

Place the new light inside and twist to lock it. Repeat this for all dash lights that you are replacing.

Place the instrument panel back into the dashboard and reattach the three plugs you removed earlier.

Slide the gear shift indicator back into place.

Reattach the instrument panel to the Explorer with the four 7mm bolts you removed earlier.

Reattach the instrument panel trim to the interior making sure to reattach both the plugs you disconnected earlier.

Reattach the plugs on the radio trim and slide the trim back into the Explorer.

Bolt the two 7mm bolts behind the metal plate back into place.

Bolt the two 8mm bolts back onto the metal plate.

Bolt the four 7mm bolts on the lower dashboard panel back into place.

Bolt the three 7mm bolts on the instrument panel back into place.

Bolt the two 7mm bolts on the radio back into place.

Reattach the negative (black) battery cable to the battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • 7mm Socket

  • 8mm Socket

 How to Change the Dash Lights in a Ford Focus

Remove the Phillips-head screws on the underside of the top of the cowl on the dash of your Focus.

Pry the bottom of the cowl assembly up, using a flat-tip screwdriver, and pull the cowl trim forward and off the dash.

Remove the Phillips-head screws that secure the dash cluster to the dash.

Pull the dash cluster forward.

Remove the electrical connectors running to the back of the dash cluster.

Turn the dash cluster over, and turn the small bulbs you want to replace counterclockwise. Then pull the bulbs out of the back of the dash cluster.

Insert the new bulbs. Align the tabs on the bulb with the notches in the back of the dash cluster assembly. Turn the bulbs clockwise to lock them into the dash cluster. Return the other parts in reverse of removal.

Items you will need

  • Flat-tip screwdriver

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

 How to Change the Dash Lights on a Ford Ranger

Open the door for more room to access the instrument cluster. Lower the steering wheel for additional room.

Unscrew the bolts around the bezel that surrounds the instrument panel. There will be three bolts to unscrew. Use a socket wrench. Slide the bezel out and place it to the side.

Loosen and remove the screws around the instrument panel. Pull the instrument panel out from the dash.

Trace the wiring to the tabs that are screwed into the back of the panel. Unscrew the tab counterclockwise. Pull the tab straight out to expose the bulbs.

Pull the bulb straight out by hand. Replace with the new bulb. Push it straight in until it stops.

Replace the remaining three bulbs the same way. Tighten the panel to the dash with a socket wrench. Tighten the bezel back to the dash.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Socket set

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • Sylvania bulb part number 161

 How to Replace Dash Lights on a 2008 Ford Taurus

Turn off the engine of the Taurus, and open the hood.

Remove the negative ("-") battery terminal from the battery in the engine compartment using a socket wrench.

Insert a slotted screwdriver between the covers on the steering wheel column, and pry upwards. Pull off both the upper and the lower covers.

Position the steering wheel as low as it can go.

Remove the two screws above the Taurus' instrument panel and the four screws below it using a Phillips screwdriver.

Insert a slotted screwdriver into the dashboard trim, and pull upwards to pry it off the vehicle. Disengage the eight snap clips from the dashboard trim by hand, and pull it out of the vehicle.

Uninstall the two securing screws from the instrument panel with a Phillips screwdriver.

Pull the instrument panel towards you, and reach behind it to disconnect the two wiring plugs. Pull the instrument panel out of the Taurus.

Replace any burned-out bulbs from the underside of the instrument panel with new bulbs. Pull the old bulb off, and push the new bulb in.

Reassemble the instrument panel and dashboard trim in the reverse order of removal. Reconnect the battery, and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Slotted screwdriver

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • 194-type bulbs

 How to Replace the Dash Lights on the Ford F250

Remove the three retaining screws above the instrument panel and the four retaining screws below the instrument panel. Pull the dashboard trim off the instrument panel.

Remove the two retaining screws above the steering wheel and the two screws below it. Remove the covers off the column of the steering wheel.

Uninstall the two screws that hold the instrument panel into place. Remove it from the truck and disconnect the electrical connection plug on the underside of the instrument panel.

Rotate the old, burnt-out bulbs counterclockwise and pull them. Install the new bulbs and rotate them clockwise to secure.

Reattach the electrical connection plug to the instrument panel and place it back into the truck. Reinstall the two screws to secure it into place.

Reattach all of the dash and steering wheel covers. Reinstall all 11 screws.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Replacement bulbs