Is this Corolla's warning lights letting Tim know he's about to be able to roast marshmallows under his dash?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

My 1981 Toyota Corolla has a problem. Every once in a while, ALL the dashboard warning lights click on and off. Sometimes they stay on, and other times, they just flash once, and then nothing for weeks. I don't notice any difference in the way it runs, but it scares me. I'm just waiting for flames to appear under the dash at any time. What gives?

TOM: Well, in cases like this, we recommend that you always carry an extra large bag of marshmallows in the glove compartment. That way, if the flames do appear, at least you'll be able to make the most of it.

RAY: Actually, I doubt you'll be seeing flames under the dashboard (despite your fondest hopes, I suspect), but since we are dealing with errant electricity here, it's best to get it checked out.

TOM: My guess is that it's just a bad fuse. There's a fuse that operates most--if not all--of the gauges on this car. If it's corroded, or broken inside, then it could be making intermittent contact, which could make the lights go on and off.

RAY: So go ahead and replace the fuse for the gauges. That may fix it. And if not, I'd look for a bad ground connection...and a sale on some skewers.

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