2002 Hyundai Accent - Dash Light problems

The 2002 Hyundai Accent's dash lights do not work properly. In the evenings when the headlights are turned on the dash lights may turn on too; however, after an unspecified amount of time the dashlights will
turn off. This only affects the instrument panel behind the steering wheel, which houses the speedometer, gas gauge, etc.
After a while the dash lights might turn back on. There is no specific manner or activity which may trigger it to turn back on. For instance, on night, I was going on a trip to the neighboring city (about 60 miles away), I started the vehicle and turned on the lights. As I was starting to pull out of the garage the dash lights turned off. I continued to drive and after about 5 minutes they turned back on for about 30 seconds (if that). I got on the highway and continued my trip...during this drive time (about 50 miles) the dash lights would turn on and off intermittingly. I thought I would "test" the problem. I would accelerate and most of the time there was no change, then I would brake, and most of the time there was no change either. Even when drive over rough patches in the road it still did not have an impact of the problem. This dispelled my thoughts of a loose wire...am I wrong?
There is nothing wrong (does not affect) with the other lights in the car, the headlights, brake lights, blinkers, and middle instrument panel (clock, radio, a/c, etc.) when the dash lights go out.
I have taken the vehicle to dealer for service and they could not duplicate the problem. I question their knowledge because I clearly informed them the problem occurs at night and they were attempting to duplicate in the daytime.
Are there others who have this similar type of problem? How can I get this problem fixed? Am I talking "girl" to them in my explanation of the problem, what might I say that can get this problem resolved?
By the way, their resolution to this is "...the car is 5 years old, you should just get another one..."
Please help!!!!
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The loose wire is a possibility, but I wouldn't concentrate there.
Lets start with what we know. If the center dash illumination doesn't go out, then we already know the rheostat (dimmer switch) is still working properly.
I'd primarily suspect something with the cluster itself. In your cluster is a device called an inverter. It connects to the background of each of the gauges and illuminates them. (Don't ask me how it works. I don't know. All the schematic shows me is a box that says "inverter" and some wires running to it.) The inverter could be going bad; the screws that connect it to the cluster circuit board could be loose; there could be an intermittent open circuit in the circuit board itself; there could be a bad connection in the cluster connector. Considering the circuit layout, it's possible there could be a poor splice or bad wire to the cluster, but that's *very* unlikely. If I had to guess, I'd surmise the inverter itself.
But here's the problem. If you're still within the warranty period, Hyundai requires dealers to duplicate the problem before making repairs. The fact that the dealer tested your car during the daytime is irrelevant. They can still operate the lamps and see if they're working. If you've told them what you've told us here, I have no reason to suspect they didn't check it and drive and so on a few times. Hyundai doesn't require the dealer to duplicate in order to give customers a hard time, but rather to avoid spending unnecessary money in repairs. Within the warranty period, I'd ask my manager if he'd like me to put in an inverter. And then it's between him and Hyundai. Whatever they want is what I'll wind up doing. (It is Hyundai's money, after all).
If you'd be paying for repairs, you'll need to consider how willing you are to pay for a repair based on a guess. As long as the lamps are working, the shop will be unable to conclusively diagnose the issue. Will you be unhappy with the dealer if you spend your money on the guess and the problem isn't fixed? If so, then you should wait until they can diagnose the problem while it's occurring.
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I have this exact same problem with this exact same vehicle. I don't think it has a lose wire, because going over a bump never generates a reaction from the light... it just goes on and off at random. I have not tried to get Hyundai to fix this yet, because as you say, it is difficult for them to duplicate. The status of the light is impossible to determine visually during the daytime.
Sorry I don't have a solution for you, but at least you are not alone!
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