Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Are Rocker Switches and How Are They Used in Cars?

Rocker Switch

Every function inside your vehicle is controlled by a switch in some way. Some switches require a high current capacity, while others are low voltage. Low voltage switches usually control the electrical position of a relay, which directs a much higher current to the function being operated.

What are rocker switches?

Rocker switches are electrical switches that are equipped with a spring-loaded button. When the button is pressed in one position, a circuit is completed. If the button is released, the spring-loaded operation pushes the button back to its resting position and the circuit is open.

Some rocker switches operate more than one circuit on the same button. An excellent example is a power door lock switch. When the lock button is pressed, the power lock actuator is commanded to lock. When the button is released, the switch springs back to the resting position and power no longer is sent to the lock actuator to lock the door, though it remains in the locked position. The other end of the rocker switch is the unlock button. When it is pressed and released, the same function occurs with the lock actuator for the unlocked position.

Some rocker switches activate a timer and when the button is released, the function continues to operate until the timer turns off, such as a rear window defogger grid button.

How are they used in cars?

As noted, rocker switches are used in some models as power door lock switches. Other uses include:

  • Heated seat switches
  • Rear window defogger grids
  • Power window controls

Rocker switches are popular in many kinds of systems because of their ease of use. Because the function usually turns off when the button is released or when a timer automatically turns off, they don’t require the same attention as other switches, such as a toggle switch.

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

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....
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:...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...


Related questions

Q: Rusted spring perches in front suspension are falling apart

Hello. When rust like this occurs, the only way to repair it is to take the vehicle to a frame fabricator, or by having the frame replaced. In certain climates this will occur if the frame is not protected with...

Q: Headlights turn on by themselves

Hello. There are only two relays for the headlight control. There may be a problem with the headlight switch malfunctioning. Check to see how long you have the auto shut off timer set to, as it could be set for...

Q: What is a leaf spring?

A leaf spring is a suspension support made up of long metal strips bent into an arc or elliptical shape with multiple pieces attached one on top of another as determined by the overall weight the spring is to support....