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Car and Truck Interior Switches

When choosing the right switch for your car and truck, you want to keep in mind the function the switch is being used for as well as the make, model, and year of your vehicle. All of these things will need to be considered to ensure you find the correct switch that fits your vehicle.

How do the switches on a car work?

The interior switches on your car or truck are used to control your vehicle's electronic components. When used, they open and close the electrical circuit for various parts of your vehicle. These controls are used to engage electrical functions such as:

  • power windows
  • lights
  • door locks
  • auto seats
  • heating and air-conditioning
When should you replace a switch?

A switch can often last throughout the life of your car. However, frequently used switches may need to be replaced. In many instances, a simple replacement may be the only thing needed to get your part running properly. With power windows, you may find that you only need to replace the switch instead of your power window motor.

How do you test a switch?

If you have a multimeter, you can simply connect it to your control to see if it is correctly regulating current. If you do not have a multimeter, you can also test by replacing the switch in question with one that you know works. For example, if you are testing your driver-side power window, you can remove the switch and replace it with another one that works. If it does, then you know a replacement is needed.

How do you install a switch?

The exact steps will depend on the type of switch you are replacing. For example, the more common replacements occur with a car's power window or door locks which are attached to the door panel. Here are the steps you would follow to replace and install a switch in this instance:

  • Remove the panel: The door control panel in your car should be easily accessible. In many cases, you do not need to remove your entire door panel to access it. However, this will depend on the make, model, and year of your car or truck. Just looks for any fasteners near the switch. You can always consult your car's manual if you need additional information. Once you have located the fasteners, simply remove them with a socket wrench or screwdriver.
  • Disconnect switch: Once all required parts have been removed and you have access to the entire control assembly, you should be able to carefully pop out the switch and disconnect it from the wiring harness.
  • Connect new switch: At this point, you would simply connect your new part to the wiring harness and mount it to the panel. Before re-installing the panel, be sure you test your new part to see if it is working properly.