Steering Column Switch for auto

Electric system auto parts: Steering Column Switch

How to detect the steering column switch failure

You have to dismantle the switch to check it for malfunctions. You need to connect leads of the test light to the corresponding pair of contacts and check if their closing occurs when the lever switch is moved to the working position. What contacts have to be closed at certain lever switch positions should be specified in the car technical documents.

If the part is working, the test light should light up when the corresponding contacts are closed. Otherwise, the switch needs to be replaced.

You may notice that the steering column switch needs a diagnosis by the following symptoms:

  • smell of burning is felt in the passenger compartment;
  • smoke is coming from the switch;
  • when the washer is turned on, the windshield wipers do not actuate;
  • the high beam does not switch on or it lights up together with the low beam;
  • some modes are not available for windshield wipers to operate;
  • the high beam flash does not work;
  • the switch handle is not fixed in a required position;
  • the turn signals keep flashing or do not turn on at all.

Causes of the steering column switch failure

Often, the steering column switch malfunction results from the ingress of dirt and moisture inside the part. They not only cause contact oxidation, but also promote their overheating. Due to the temperature increase, the chip plastic elements are melted, and a carbon layer is formed between the contacts. Generally, this leads to a short circuit and even a fire in the switch.

In some cases the switch failure occurs due to the abrasive wear of the contact tracks or the slider. Since abrasion is a slow process, the malfunction may first occur as unstable performance of the relevant equipment. The mechanical wear of the contacts may also lead to a short circuit: metal chips mixing with the lubricant start conducting the electric current. Typically such fault is indicated by a continuously flashing turn indicator or the inability to turn off the high beam.

Design of some switches includes clips. They may break due to careless handling, in particular, if you apply excessive force when switching or mounting.

Replacement of the steering column switch

The component is not subject to repair. In case of failure, it must be replaced. You can easily install a new switch on your own. For this you need:

  1. Disconnect the negative terminal from the battery.
  2. Remove the horn button cover from the steering wheel.
  3. Pull out the horn contact plate.
  4. Mark the steering wheel position relative to the shaft, unscrew the fastening nut and dismantle the steering wheel by pulling it forward.
  5. Remove the steering column cover.
  6. Unscrew the switch fasteners, disconnect the wire harness and dismantle the switch.
  7. Install a new part and reassemble the unit in the reverse order.

On some cars you do not need to remove the steering wheel to demount the switches. You can find more detailed instructions in your vehicle technical documents.

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