Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does a Rear Window Defogger Switch Last?

Rear Window Defogger Switch

Your car’s cabin protects you and your passengers from the elements, harsh sunlight, wind and more. However, having an enclosed cabin can lead to visibility problems when the air is particularly humid. While your front defogger works through the air conditioner, that’s not the case for the back glass.

Most vehicles manufactured today come with a rear defogger switch. Pressing this switch activates an electronic defrost system that is either overlaid on the rear window or actually embedded in the glass itself. Take a look at your back window and you should see wires running across it. That is your defroster. It’s connected inside the car to the vehicle’s wiring harness.

While problems can develop in the wiring system itself, the most likely point for trouble to start with the rear defogger is the switch. It’s electronic, and thus subject to failure. There is no set time limit for how long the switch will last – it’s more about use, as well as oxidation. The more frequently you press the defogger button, the faster it will wear out. It’s like your window switch or door lock switch. The contacts wear out through use.

Another potential issue with a rear defogger switch is potential oxidation of the internal pins. This is normally only seen in vehicles driven in areas where the humidity is very high most of the year.

While not having a working rear defroster won’t keep you off the road, it does create visibility problems, which means it is a safety issue. Here are some of the symptoms to watch for that might indicate your switch is about to fail:

  • Switch only works intermittently
  • Switch will not turn on
  • Switch will not turn off
  • Switch sticks in place

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, then a certified mechanic can help by inspecting the rear defogger switch and replacing it if necessary.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...


Related questions

Q: Fan wont blow out top vents for defrost.

Hi there. Check the blend doors to the vents and see if they move when the switch is turned. If they do not move, then check for a vacuum hose to the blend door actuator. If there is no vacuum...

Q: Windows stuck

Hello. If these windows both started acting up at the same time then the problem is usually a connection failure in the master switch on the driver side door. If these windows began failing at different times then you typically...

Q: How does the rear defroster work?

Your Altima is equipped with a front and rear defroster. While the front defroster is tied into your car’s air conditioning and heating system, and operated from the air conditioner control panel, the rear defroster is not. To...