How to Remove and Replace Headlight Switch?

It is always a thrilling matter to be able to replace any part of your vehicle with a new one. Like every other part, the headlight switch needs removal and replacing if the previous one gets faulty.

As a newbie, you may think it is somewhat a complex project to do. However, the process is pretty easy and quick that you can complete in your garage.

Instead of spending some money behind the mechanic, how about you learn how to remove a headlight switch and do it yourself every time.

We have added step-by-step guides to make it more understandable to you. So, without any procrastinating, let’s get into the main topics.

The Headlight Switch Removal Process

Keep in mind that the procedure of changing your headlight switch can be different based on the model of your vehicle. However, the steps that we mentioned below are appliable to most of them.

  • Detach any negative cable of your battery. It will take around 5 to 10 minutes for the capacitors to discharge. Leave it for that amount of time.
  • There will be some screws on the bezels around the switch based on the vehicle model. Remove them with corresponding screwdrivers. In most cases, it may need a 7 mm socket. On some models, you may need to detach the retainer ring from the switch shaft by unscrewing it.
  • Next, you will need to slide the switch from the dashboard out gently. There should be some wire plugs that you need to remove. The wire plugs can fall into the dash, which will cause a hassle to bring them out. Hence, we suggest using a spring clamp to hold the wire plugs.
  • Pull out the headlight switch to the on position. Push onto the headlight release button and detach the headlight switch simultaneously. Some models have more than one release button. In those cases, you can use a screwdriver or similar tool. Also, there can be a nut underneath the shaft on the bezel that will need removal beforehand.
  • You have now finished removing the headlight switch.

If you want to replace it with a new headlight switch, check the following steps.

  • Place the new headlight switch in place of the old one into the housing. You can also add a new bezel and nut, which we recommend.
  • Reconnect the wire plugs on their positions. Try to avoid bending any connection. Without twisting the wires, carefully place the housing and headlight switch in the dash.
  • Put all the screws back in their position around the switch.
  • Attach all the negative cables to the battery.
  • Check if the headlight switch is working perfectly with its high and low beams.

Removing Headlight Switch on a Toyota Camry 2007-11

This process will have many similarities with the previous one. For this, you will need three screwdrivers- Phillip head, Torx, and flathead and a 19 mm nut driver. Follow the steps below:

Initial Step

  • Disconnect the negative cables from the battery as before.
  • Push the driver’s seat back and pull the steering wheel as high as possible. You will find two silver panels on two sides of the center airbag. Get them out.
  • Inside the silver panel will be two Torx screws. Unscrew them and take the center airbag out gently.
  • Detach the electrical contacts on the back of the central airbag.

Second Step

  • Now you got to separate the steering wheel assembly from the steering column. There will be a 19mm nut that you must loosen a bit without totally removing it. It is because the steering wheel will pop out fast that can hurt you, but the nut can prevent that.
  • Hold the steering wheel with both of your hands and shake it gently. It will loosen up after some wiggling.
  • Remove the nut totally from the steering column as well as the steering wheel assembly.

Third Step

  • This step is about removing the steering column. Unscrew the column by taking the two Philips screws out.
  • Take the tabs out from both left and right of the steering panel.
  • There is a clip at the top of the column. Pull it off.
  • Pull out both sides of the steering panel.

Final Step

  • The headlight switch is held by a clip with some screws. Remove them all.
  • Plug off the electrical contacts.
  • Now you can slide out the headlight switch without any problem.

The reinstallation process of a headlight switch is almost like reversing all the steps above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you change the headlight switch?

The headlight switch can be easily changed by removing the headlight assembly and then unscrewing the old switch. Make sure you have a spare set of headlight bulbs, as you’ll need to install them after replacing the switch.

How do I know if my headlight switch is bad?

You can check for a bad headlight switch by looking at the headlights. If the switch is worn out, the headlights will no longer turn on or off. In addition, you should always get your car inspected if it has been parked for a long time.

Besides that, you can check if your headlight switch is bad by testing it with a multimeter. If it fails to turn on, then the headlight switch is bad. If it works, then your headlight switch is fine.

What causes headlights to turn off while driving?

In most cases, when you stop for the night, the headlights of your vehicle automatically switch off. This is because the vehicle’s engine runs off the main battery, which stores the electricity needed to light up the headlight. When you start moving again, the headlight automatically switches back on. 

However, there are several instances where headlights do not automatically switch on and off, especially during winter. If the headlights of your vehicle don't turn on or off when you start or stop, then it's best to check the following issues: 

  • Check the fuse in the tail lamp.
  • Ensure that the fuses for the headlights and turn signals are not blown.
  • Check if the car has been plugged into the outlet continuously for over 10 hours.
  • Check if the battery of the vehicle is fully charged.
  • Make sure that the vehicle is in good working condition.

How do you check headlights with a multimeter?

You can check headlights with a multimeter, if they have LEDs or halogens as bulbs. If the bulb has a filament, then you will need a tester to check the continuity. Make sure that you don't touch the bulb or the sockets, since they could be damaged and cause a short circuit.

Epilogue

When separating or tacking something on any vehicle part, never use too much force without enough knowledge of the matter. The part can break or malfunction, and you may have to spend a lot on the repair cost. The same applies when replacing headlight switches.

Aside from that, we also recommend removing the headlight switch knob to either check or replace it occasionally.

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