theresa, this is what the manual has to say :
Both tail lamps do not come on (Headlamps are normal).
1. TAIL fuse
2. TAIL relay (USA only)
3. Headlamp dimmer switch assy
4. Daytime running light relay (USA only)
5. Wire harness
The tail lamp relay is relay number B, 2md from the left in the RH junction box
15. TAILLAMP RELAY
(a) Measure the resistance according to the value(s) in the
Tester connection Condition Specified resistance
3 – 5 Always 10 kW or higher
3 – 5
Apply B+ between terminals 1 and 2 Below 1 W
If that is not the cause, I would check the headlight dimmer switch (sounds more like it because of your dash light being out as well
Hope this helps, good luck.
2006 Toyota Matrix. If your dash lights work but won't dim and your running light won't work and your license plate lights are out. Then there are 4 relays directly above the glove box. you can't see them until you drop the panel. There are three 10mm bolts just in front of the latch. There are 4 relays, 3 that look the same and one that is different. The relay that you want is the middle one of the 3 that are the same. I hope this helps
If your car was damaged to the front and you had to repair any wires, you may connect 2 identical wires together. Also you can mess them up very easy when you connect aftermarket stereo system. They could be identical but wrong wires. Recommend to recheck them at those places that you where working on.