Q: What is a lever switch and what uses do they have in cars?

asked by on November 17, 2015

What is a lever switch and what uses do they have in cars?

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A lever switch is any electrical switch that uses a physical lever to actuate and operate the switch. Most lever switches function as simple on / off switches that operate using a lever or handle to toggle the switch between the two positions. Many lever switches use either a flat lever, toggle switch, or handle that must simply be moved back and forth to turn the switch on or off. When the switch is activated, electrical contact points inside of the switch touch together and the circuit is closed, allowing electricity to flow.

There are several different types of lever switches, each designed to serve a specific purpose. Toggle switches are a popular type of light duty lever switch that use a short handle as a lever to actuate the switch on or off. Toggle switches are often installed on classic vehicles when retrofitting them with modern amenities or aftermarket accessories.

Another type of lever switch is the snap action lever switch. Snap action lever switches use a flat lever that is usually covered by a button which, when pressed, will push on the lever and actuate the switch on or off. Snap action switches will also usually be spring loaded and return to the same position once they are pressed. In other words, the button is pressed once to turn a component on, and then once more to turn it off. Many of the buttons used for climate control or entertainment system functions are good examples of snap action lever switches.

There are also heavier duty lever switches, which are much larger and durable than their smaller counterparts, and are sometimes operated by a sizeable lever. Heavy duty lever switches will often have multiple positions, and usually serve to actuate mechanical functions. These switches will usually have strengthened contact points, and will be reinforced for increased durability. Examples of heavy duty lever switches are automatic transmission shifters, or switches used to control mechanical functions, such as transfer case switches.

In short, a lever switch is basically an electrical switch that uses a physical lever to actuate the switch between positions. They operate in a similar manner to most other electrical switches, and just the same, should be replaced as soon as they begin to show signs of failure. You can contact a certified mobile mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, to inspect any faulty electrical components and replace the switches, if deemed necessary.

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