Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Tell If Your Car Switches Are Dying

Car dash switches

Since every part of your car is controlled or operated by a switch in some fashion, it is to be expected that the switch will eventually fail. Some of the most commonly used switches in your car are:

  • Power door lock switch
  • Driver’s side window switches
  • Headlight switch
  • Ignition switch
  • Cruise control switches

It is not common for these switches to fail; rather, it is simply more likely that these commonly-used switches will be the ones to stop working. Whenever possible, it is best to address or replace a switch when it shows symptoms but hasn’t completely failed yet. Switch failure can leave you in a tough situation if the system it controls is a safety-related or an integral feature to vehicle operation. Some symptoms may indicate issues with the switch or the system it operates:

  • The electrical switch works intermittently. If you notice that a button doesn’t always work on the first press or requires frequent presses before it operates, it may indicate the button is dying and needs to be replaced. It can also indicate a problem with the system. For example, if you press the window switch several times and the window only moves after a few tries, it may actually be a failing window motor or window switch.

  • The button doesn’t stop operating the system. In the same example of a power window, if you press the button to roll the window up, and the window does not stop moving up when the button is released, the switch may be failing.

  • The electrical switch partially stops operating. Sometimes, a dying switch can stop operation of certain functions while other features continue to work. Take, for instance, an ignition switch. When you cycle the ignition switch, it supplies power to all interior vehicle systems. A failing ignition switch can provide power to interior accessories while being unable to provide power to the starting system to start the car.

Whether it is for a minor convenience system or for an integral vehicle control, have any electrical problems or dying switches diagnosed and repaired by a professional mechanic. Electrical systems are complicated and can be dangerous to work on if you are inexperienced.

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 Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....


Related questions

Q: Not Starting power disconnecting

Hello. Thanks for writing in about your 1990 Ford Probe. I would start by checking the connection at the battery and at the negative battery cable. If those are fine, then I would do a load test on the alternator....

Q: Ignition issue - 1994 Mitsubishi

This is likely a bad connection problem which is commonly known to cause intermittent non-starting issues like this. Your ignition switch is wired to a harness that eventually runs down to a starter relay which directs power to the starter....

Q: Horn doesn't work when I push on the steering wheel but when locking car it does what would cause this problem?

Hi there - your symptoms describe a failure of the horn switch itself. The fact that the horn works when the security system is armed (when locking the vehicle) indicate that the horn and the wiring to it work just...