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Light Switches | Different Locations For Different Functions

Switches wear out and malfunction. Here, we`ll help you locate any replacement ones you need for headlights, fog lights, brake lights, reverse lights, interior lights, and more.

In this article, we'll help you locate replacement switches you need for headlights, fog lights, brake lights, reverse lights, interior lights, and more. These switches take all different shapes and forms. In the Light Switches section of our website, you'll find high-quality, original equipment style replacements with proven records of durability, fit, and operation for a wide range of vintage and new cars and trucks.

Replacement Light Switches Variety

Headlight Switches

Cadillac created the first reliable, weatherproof headlamp in 1912, but it wasn't for a few more years that the first on-off headlight switch was developed for use inside the vehicle (also by Cadillac). Until then, drivers had to walk up to the headlights and turn them on manually!

Early/Later Ford Model T Headlight Switches
On the left is an early Ford Model T headlight switch. Later ones (right) added control of dim/bright settings as well as ignition.

Pull-Out Headlight Switches

While some early headlamp switches were rudimentary knobs that rotated to different detent positions, dash-mounted pull switches quickly became mainstream equipment on most automobiles for decades, lasting through the 1990s (especially American-built vehicles). After pulling this type of knob out to the first detent position, parking lights come on. At the second detent, headlights are illuminated as well. In most cases, the round end of the pull lever can be rotated to activate and dim overhead dome lights.

Pull-Out Headlight Switches

If you need a replacement, we've got new headlight pull switches made directly by General Motors' OEM supplier, AC Delco. There, you'll find a range for various GM models dating back to the 1960s. If you've got a newer GM vehicle, you'll find other styles of headlight switches as well. We've also got headlight pull switches from American Autowire (GM 1940s-1997), Crown (1946-2001 Jeeps, 1960s-70s AMC & Chryslers), Goodmark (1958-81 GM, 1970s Fords & Chryslers), OER (1967-76 Chrysler, 1948-92 GM), OPGI (1961-88 GM), and Standard (assorted 1960s-80s Chrysler, Ford, GM).

OER Headlight Switch
The OER Headlight Switch.
Keep It Clean Headlight Switch With Decorative O-Rings
The Keep It Clean pull-out Headlight Switch comes with 4 sets of colored decorative O-rings.

If you prefer a touch of color on your pull switch, the Keep It Clean Classic Billet Headlight Switch with 4 Color O-Rings (GM vehicles) offers the distinction of 4 sets of colored rubber O-rings for decorative purposes. And if you can't find a headlight pull switch for your specific vehicle, the Painless Performance Headlight Switch features a universal-fit design that can be adapted to any model. In Product Options, either a black or polished aluminum knob can be selected.

Dash-Mounted Rotary Headlight Switches

During the 1960s, Mercedes and select other European carmakers moved from pull-out headlight switches to rotary knobs mounted on the left side of the dash. These controlled parking lights and headlights when turned clockwise. While these rotary headlight switches were a staple of European cars during the 1970s and '80s, they've become widespread today on vehicles of all nationalities.

Dash-Mounted Rotary Headlight Switches
Examples of dash-mounted rotary headlight switches.

For late model GM vehicles using this type of switch, we've got the AC Delco O.E. Headlamp Control Switch. In addition, there's the Genuine Headlight Switch (classic Mercedes & BMW, other Euro imports 1990s-today), Mopar Headlight Switch (newer Chrysler products), MTC Headlight Switch (1986-93 Volvo 240 Series), and the Original Equipment Headlight Switch (1975-85 Volvo 240, Audi A4/S4 & A6/S6).

Mopar Dash-Mounted Rotary Headlight Switch
The Mopar dash-mounted rotary Headlight Switch.

"Rocker" Type Headlight Switches

Dash-mounted "rocker" type headlight switches also became popular during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s on Volkswagen, Porsche, and other makes. These are basic on-off switches, and typically control parking lights and headlights only. For driver convenience, many include a separate "wheel" that can be rotated to dim or brighten dashboard lights.

Rocker Type Headlight Switches
"Rocker" type headlight switches saw mainstream use during the 1970s, '80s, and later.

We've got a number of OEM style replacement rocker switches. For 1970s and '80s VWs, there's the Febi Headlight Switch, Meyle Headlight Switch, and the URO Parts Headlight Switch (also includes rotary switches for later VW, Mercedes and BMW). Omix-Ada offers headlight rocker switches for Jeep CJs and 1987-95 Wranglers originally equipped with them, and the Lucas Headlight Switch is a replacement for 1987-95 Range Rover models.

Headlight Switch Integrated Into Stalk-Mounted Multifunction Switch
A headlight switch integrated into a stalk-mounted multifunction switch.

Gaining popularity in the 1980s were headlight switches integrated into multi-function stalk levers mounted on the steering columns. Initially found on Asian cars, these were gradually adopted by American carmakers as well as some in Europe. These are still commonly used today. For more details about multi-function switches, see the paragraphs below.

Multi-Function Switches

A steering column mounted stalk that controls multiple functions such as wipers, headlights, bright lights, cruise control, and more is considered a "multifunction" switch. These are also commonly referred to as "stalks".

Before the 1960s, turn signal switches performed only the one function they were named for. At about the same time Mercedes and other German automakers began to use dash-mounted rotary headlight knobs, they also developed turn signal switches with one additional function that controlled wipers or headlight dimming.

It wasn't long before both of these features, and more, were added to turn signal stalks. From there, a second stalk with more functions was added on the other side of the column.

Multifunction Stalk
A steering column mounted stalk that controls multiple functions is considered a “multifunction” stalk.

On our website, in the Product Options field, you may be asked if your specific vehicle is equipped with fog lamps or automatic headlights. We stress it's important to be sure whether or not your original switch has controls for these and other features before making your selection.

Multifunction Switch Product Options
When selecting a multifunction switch, make sure you correctly enter any specifics asked.

Among the replacements we offer, we have the Crown Multifunction Switch (1994-on Chrysler/Jeep), Eurospare Turn Signal Switch (1983-87 Jaguar, 1987-95 Range Rover), Febi Combination Switch (assorted 1990-2006 VW/Audi, Mercedes, Volvo), Forecast Combination Switch (assorted 1995-2008 Chrysler, Jeep, Honda, Toyota), Genuine Combination Switch (1967-on Mercedes, 1975-on Volvo, 1986-on Honda/Acura, other imports) and Turn Signal Switch (1974-on BMW and other imports).

Febi Combination Switch
One example of the Febi Combination Switch.
URO Parts Turn Signal Switch
The URO Parts Turn Signal Switch.

Additionally, our website offers the Lucas Turn Signal Switch (1994-97 Land Rover Defender), Meyle Turn Signal Switch (1972-79 VW air-cooled models), Mopar Combination Switch (1998-on Chrysler products) and Turn Signal Switch (1999-2005 Mitsubishi-built Chryslers), Motorcraft Multipurpose Switch (1987-on Ford vehicles), Niles Turn Signal Switch (1984-2002 Nissan), Original Equipment Turn Signal Switch and Combination Switch (assorted European makes from 1969-today), SWF Turn Signal Switch (1974-93 VW and older Porsche), and URO Parts Turn Signal Switch (1970s-on Jaguar, Mercedes, Saab, VW, Volvo) and Combination Switch (classic Mercedes & newer VW).

Niles Turn Signal Switch
The Niles Turn Signal Switch.
Early Examples Of Multifunction Switches
Early examples of multifunction switches controlled turn signals plus one other function such as wipers or headlight dimming.

Headlight Dimmer Switches

Thanks to the perfection of double-filament bulbs in 1924, automobiles became capable of having both low and high beam operation from a single set of headlights. Several years later, a foot-operated "kick pedal" switch was created so drivers could switch between high and low beams from inside their vehicles by pressing down on the switch. Foot pedal switches became the norm for dimmer switches, and lasted through the late 1980s before being phased out.

Foot-Operated Headlight Dimmer Switches
Foot-operated headlight dimmer switches were popular from the 1920s through the late 1980s.

Foot Pedal Dimmer Switches

We've got a great selection of foot-operated dimmer switches. For General Motors, Ford, and other Jeep models, there's the AC Delco Professional Headlight Dimmer Switch. Additionally, there's the Auto Metal Direct Headlamp Dimmer Switch (1958-82 GM models), Crown Headlight Dimmer Switch (1946-86 Jeeps), Goodmark Dimmer Switch (GM 1961-81, 1960s-70s Ford & Chrysler), OER Headlight Dimmer Switch (1961-81 GM), Omix-Ada Headlight Dimmer Switch (1972-86 Jeeps or 1946-71 Jeeps), and the OPGI Headlight Dimmer Switch (GM 1959-88). If your vehicle wasn't mentioned on this list, we've got the universal-fit Painless Performance Floor Mounted Dimmer Switch that's designed to adapt for use on any car or truck.

Multifunction Dimmer Switchgear
Examples of different multifunction "dimmer" switchgear.

Dimming Switchgear for Turn Signal Pull-Back Dimmer Controls

During the 1970s, automakers created turn signal switches that doubled as dimmer switches when the stalk was pulled backward toward the driver. A backwards tug on the stalk would trigger a separate switch mounted behind the stalk. In some cases, this dimming switch would be integrated into the multi-function stalk itself. In other cases, the switch would be a separate piece underneath the steering column cover.

Dimming Switchgear For Turn Signal Pull Back Dimmer Controls

For example, the Omix-Ada Headlight Dimmer Switch (1984-89 Jeeps), the AC Delco Professional Headlamp Dimmer Switch and GM Original Equipment Headlight Dimmer Switch are replacements for this type of switching mechanism located behind the lever.

Ididit Universal Fit Headlight Dimmer Switch Kit
The Ididit universal fit Headlight Dimmer Switch Kit.

If you've got a classic car and would prefer a dimmer switch mounted on your steering column instead of the floor, the ididit Headlight Dimmer Switch Kit lets you make that conversion. This kit is a universal fit design for any vehicle, and includes a polished metal turn signal lever that replaces your existing one. Once installed, it doubles as a turn signal lever and a dimmer switch thanks to an included relay pack. Or, the lever can be connected to a tilt wheel coupling point.

Interior Light Switches

We didn't forget replacement switches for interior lights. Depending on your vehicle's dashboard and console layout, you may have one button for all overhead lights - or, you may have separate controls for dome lights and other individual lights. Note that many pull-out headlight switches also double as interior light controls when rotated.

Interior Light Switches

For vehicles with stand-alone interior light switches, there's the Original Equipment Light Switch (assorted 1973-2009 Mercedes, BMW, VW), Standard Intermotor Interior Light Switch (late model Honda), the Goodmark Dimmer & Dome Light Switch (1955-57 Chevy), the Motorcraft Courtesy Light Switch (1973-on Ford vehicles), and the URO Parts Interior Light Switch (1980s Jaguar & VW). We recommend checking the parts number of your original switch that needs replacing against what you select from us, to ensure your new part performs the function you expect. If you're not sure, contact us - we'll be glad to help.

Emergency Flasher Switches

Emergency flashers play too large a safety role to ignore when a malfunction occurs. If your emergency flashers aren't working but your turn signals are, the most likely reason is a faulty emergency light switch. We've got you covered with reliable replacement units that match the look, fit, and operation of your original. There's the Genuine Hazard Flasher Switch (assorted 1971-92 BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar, other imports through today), MTC Hazard Flasher Switch (1978-83 BMW), SWF Electrical Hazard Flasher Switch (1986-95 Mercedes), Standard Intermotor Hazard Warning Switch (wide range of 1982-today Asian & European imports), and the URO Parts Hazard Warning Switch (assorted 1980-2008 Mercedes, BMW, VW/Audi).

Emergency Flasher Switches

And if you've got a 1993-on Ford Motor Company vehicle, we've also got the Motorcraft Hazard Warning switch connector. It's not the actual emergency switch, but the wiring pigtail connector that joins to the switch itself.

Brake Pedal Switches

Brake pedal switches are located out of sight behind the brake pedal assembly, and are activated when the brake pedal is depressed far enough to come in contact with a button on top of the switch. These play a crucial safety role by completing an electrical circuit that turns your brake lights on at the right times. If your vehicle is equipped with a gearshift lock that requires the brake pedal to be pressed before shifting out of Park is allowed, brake pedal switches send the signal to release the locking mechanism.

Brake Pedal Switches

We offer a good selection of replacement brake pedal switches such as the Beck Arnley Brake Light Switch (various 1956-present import vehicles), Calorstat Stop Light Switch (Saab 900, 9000, 9-5), Forecast Stop Light Switch (assorted Asian imports 1985-present), Mopar Stop Light Switch (1993-present Chrysler vehicles), OPGI Stop Light Switch (1959-76 GM), Original Equipment Stop Light Switch (1986-2002 Honda/Acura, BMW, Land Rover, Isuzu), and the Professional Parts Sweden Stop Light Switch (1997-on Volvos).

Painless Performance Push Button Brake Light Switch
The universal fit Painless Performance Push Button Brake Light Switch.

If you didn't see your vehicle on this list, we've got the universal fit Painless Performance Push Button Brake Light Switch that's designed for use on any vehicle.

Reverse Light Switches

Similar to brake pedal switches, reverse light switches play an important safety role. Typically mounted underneath the vehicle, these switches are activated when linkages connected to a manual or automatic gearshift lever are moved into the physical detent position for reverse.

Reverse Light Switches

First, we've got the TCI Back-Up Light Switch for a wide range of Ford, GM, and Chrysler vehicles from 1946 through today. In addition, there's the Allmakes 4x4 Back Up Light Switch (1990s-2004 Land Rover Discovery), Beck Arnley Back Up Lamp Switch (assorted 1967-present Asian & German imports), Diamond Back Up Light Switch (1994-2007 Subaru), Febi Back Up Light Switch (1984-2006 VW), Forecast Back Up Light Switch (1988-present Toyota), Genuine Back Up Light Switch (2000-05 Porsche), Motorcraft Back Up Light Switch (assorted Ford models 1969-today), OPGI Back Up Lamp Switch (1960-72 GM), and Original Equipment Back Up Light Switch (1975-2009 VW).

And if you've got a classic muscle car with a B&M "Starshifter" or "Z-gate" racing style automatic gearshift lever, we've got the B&M Back-Up Light Switch Kit that includes new wiring, brackets, and mounting hardware along with the switch.

B&M Sport Shifter And Back-Up Light Switch Kit
Got a B&M sport shifter (left)? We've got the B&M Back-Up Light Switch Kit (right).

As you have now seen, if your vehicle has a switch-activated light, and you need to replace that switch, there's a pretty darn good chance that we have it. Be sure to accurately provide your year, make and model into our product search for best results. We all want to be sure that your ride's lights are working the way they should!

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