Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. What Are Rocker Switches and How Are They Used in Cars?

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

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.


More related articles

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 / Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
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...

Related questions

Q: Q: Alignment

Hello. You only need to change the parts that are actually loose. If the ball joint is loose then it needs to be replaced. If the lower control arm has worn out or missing bushings then those should be replaced....

Q: Put car in park, shut off car, still shows in drive and cannot start car 2013 Dodge Dart

Hi there - most likely, this is a failure of the range sensor switch (sometimes called the neutral safety switch). This is the switch that recognizes that you are in Park or Neutral in order to allow safe engine start....

Q: Can I replace suspension springs to soften ride?

Hi, thanks for writing in. You may want to check into the different Sena-Trac rear shocks for the vehicle. The shocks may soften the ride. These vehicles are known for a harsh ride and these shocks may help. If you...