Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What to Do If Your Car Switches Get Dirty

Dirty Door Lock

Your car interior gets dirty from normal everyday usage where dust settles inside, from a mishap like spilling french fries to accidentally leaving a window or door open at an inopportune time. Dirt can get into your vehicle, wreaking havoc with your controls.

When your car switches get dirty, particularly the switches on the driver’s door like the power window switches and the power mirror switch, they need to be cleaned. Dirty switches can wear and fail from the abrasive nature of dirt, sand, and other debris.

To clean your car switches:

  1. Remove any loose dirt from the switch. Using a dry cloth, gently wipe the dirt off the switch. If you are able to, prevent any additional dirt from falling into the switch where it can obstruct the electrical contacts.

  2. Blow dirt out of the switch. Using a can of compressed air, blow any dirt out of the dirty switches. This is especially important for often-used switches like the power window switches, power door lock switches, and power mirror switch.

  3. Check the switch operation. Press the switch or switches you are cleaning to see if they function smoothly. If they stick or are hard to press, it may be that there is a sticky substance, such as soda, on the contacts.

  4. Clean the contacts if necessary. Spray the dirty switches with electrical contact cleaner. If you notice any unusual colored gunk coming from the switch, repeat this step as necessary until the contact cleaner comes out clear. Blow the switches dry again with the can of compressed air.

Limit your use of dirty car switches until you have a chance to clean them properly. Dirt in the switch can cause wear on the electrical contacts and you may experience premature switch failure. Also, don’t use the switch until it has dried completely after cleaning.

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

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...


Related questions

Q: My windows and radio quit working and my wipers only work on high.

Hello. All three of these systems are separate yet have the GEM (general electronic module) in common to supply power to the systems. You will need to scan the computer GEM module to test each of these systems in the...

Q: Key not turning in the ignition.

It is a common problem with this car to have the key wear down and not trigger the tumblers in the key cylinder. The only fix will be to replace the key assembly and switch. I would suggest having a...

Q: Window makes popping sound after window motor is replaced

Hello. Thanks for writing in about your 1996 Nissan 240SX. It sounds to me like the door panel most likely will be out of place and getting caught up on something which is causing the popping sound. Check the position...