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

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,...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
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...


Related questions

Q: At 55 mph, car's front end started shaking

Hey there, thanks for writing in about your 1997 Mercedes-Benz E300. This is also related to your question above regarding the coil springs. As he explained, the perch is a structure that supports the coil springs. Often times, when one or the...

Q: How can I tell if my car switches are dying?

Different switches can start to fail in different ways. Something like a window switch, for example, won’t be as crisp as it used to be and start to feel rough and have glitches whenever you use it, but continue to...

Q: Cabin air filters on a 2010 Altima

Most of them actually do come with some kind of the tray. Maybe yours is lost and you need to get another one. But they do generally have arrows this side up or air flow downwards that show you which...