What Are Rocker Switches and How Are They Used in Cars? | YourMechanic Advice

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

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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.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1861 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper Clubman - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Silverado, California
He arrived early, went straight to work, and it should have been quoted higher as it’s a Mini which takes longer than the average break job. He didn’t try to get more than the quoted amount. He even set out to replace a running light for me when he was finished. I thought there would hard sales telling me I needed more work but there wasn’t. Because he didn’t try to sell me more work, I will use him again. When I hired a mechanic I don’t want a salesman. 
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Irvine, California
Chris again has provided great Service. Everything was great. I was very happy with the work and will definitely have him return for any other work.

Bryant

11 years of experience
408 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant has done great work on my car before, the latest work is no exception. He's very flexible, and goes the extra mile to get you back on the road.
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

Edmar

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Edmar
21 years of experience
Chrysler 200 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Euless, Texas
Edmar always does a very good job. He's done a few different things on my car the last two years. Each job was performed very fast and top quality. Thank you once again.

Mazyar

7 years of experience
255 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Jaguar XF - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
He was early, courtesy and actually helped me save some money since i didn't need all the work that i thought i needed done. Honest guy. Very knowledgeable. Great attitude.

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