Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Courtesy Light Switch

bad symptoms dome light

The courtesy light is the lamp on the interior of the vehicle that turns on when the vehicle's doors are opened. It is usually mounted on the roof of the vehicle’s interior, near the rearview mirror. When the door is opened the switch activates the courtesy light to illuminate the interior of the vehicle for the passengers. The courtesy light switches found on some vehicles are also wired to a timer that will dim the lights automatically after a predetermined period of time. While the courtesy lamp and switch might not be components critical to the safety or performance of the vehicle, they do provide a feature that makes the driving experience more convenient for the passengers. When the switch has a problem, it can disable the switch and remove this convenient feature for the passengers. Usually a bad or failing switch will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Dome light does not come on

One of the most common symptoms of a possible problem with the courtesy light switch is an inoperable dome light. The switch is designed to route power to the courtesy light once the vehicle doors are opened, and will leave the courtesy lamp inoperable if it fails.

2. Flickering courtesy light

Another common symptom of a problem with the courtesy light switch is a flickering courtesy light. Courtesy light switches are activated every single time someone enters and exits the vehicle and are susceptible to wearing out. A flickering light usually indicates that the electrical contacts inside the switch are worn out and are no longer able to make a clean connection. Usually a flickering switch is approaching the end of it’s service life.

3. Dome light stays on

Another less common symptom of a potential issue with a courtesy light switch is a courtesy or dome light that remains on at all times. If the courtesy light switch shorts it can cause power to be allowed to the courtesy light, even when the doors of the vehicle are closed. Depending on the exact wiring setup, this may cause the dome light to remain on even with the key out, which will drain the battery.

The courtesy light and switch are not necessarily components that play an important role in the safety or performance of the vehicle, but they do provide a useful feature for the passengers and can be an inconvenience when they fail. For this reason, if you suspect that your vehicle may be having an issue with the courtesy light or its switch, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to replace your courtesy light switch 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

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
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,...
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: The driver side reverse light won't work, only the passenger side light works. I've changed all the bulbs and I still can't get it to come on.

I would suspect that that there is a problem with the socket for the light bulb. Corrosion will build up in the bulb socket and not allow power, or ground, to get to the bulb. If the bulb is okay,...

Q: Light in the trunk doesn’t come on anymore

The tailgate open switch is part of the tailgate latch on the Kia Soul. Being that you say it works sometimes and other times it does not, I suggest looking at the latch when you open the tailgate to see...

Q: How do you operate the headlights?

It’s vital that you have a way to see when driving at night or during other times of the day when visibility is poor (dusk, dawn, when it’s raining, etc.). Your headlights provide exactly that. Using them is also very...