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Fog Light Switch Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Fog Light Switch Replacement is between $57 and $160. Labor costs are estimated between $26 and $56 while parts are priced between $31 and $104. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Fog Lamp Switch?

Many vehicles today come equipped with fog lamps. These front-mounted lights are placed near to the ground in the front bumper cover and are used when the vehicle is driven in foggy conditions where visibility is a problem. Light reflecting off of the fog significantly decreases visibility during driving. Because fog tends to be less dense near the ground, the fog lamps illuminate the road better than the headlights that are mounted higher up on the vehicle. The fog lamp switch is used to turn the lamps on and off and it is usually housed in the dashboard. It may instead be located on one of the arms mounted to the sides of the steering column.

How do Fog Lamp Switches work?

The fog lamps, like many other vehicle components, require a 12-volt power supply to operate. To save cost and weight, the manufacturer tasks a relay with the job of turning the fog lamps (or headlamps, cooling fan, etc.) on and off. The fog lamp switch sends a much lower voltage signal to the relay. The relay, sensing the signal, switches the power to the lamps on or off. This arrangement also allows an Electronic Control Module (ECM) to oversee lighting operations and control various functions.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Fog Lamp Switch?

The symptom most often encountered with a bad fog lamp switch is inoperative fog lamps. The lamps simply will not turn on. It is also possible that the fog lamps work intermittently. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. A faulty switch could also cause a fuse to blow, so a blown fuse could be a symptom. Some aftermarket fog lamp installations may omit the use of a relay. In those cases, dim or flickering lamps can be a symptom of a faulty switch. But, because factory fog lamps are operated through a relay, dim or flickering lamps are more likely due to loose or worn out bulbs, a corroded electrical ground, a broken wire, or a dirty connection.

Can I drive with a bad Fog Lamp Switch?

Many vehicles do not come equipped with fog lamps, so it is reasonable to drive without them. However, if the fog lamps are not working properly, visibility while driving in foggy conditions will be reduced, but ultimately it is up to the owner of the vehicle when they prefer to repair the fog lamp switch.

How often do Fog Lamp Switches need replacement?

A fog lamp switch is not a maintenance item on a vehicle and does not have a scheduled replacement interval. It should last the lifetime of the vehicle. In some cases, however, it will wear out and need to be replaced. When left on one single setting, the fog lamp switch has no reason to fail except for road vibrations causing deterioration to the contacts within the switch.

How are Fog Lamp Switch issues diagnosed?

To diagnose a bad fog lamp switch, a technician will first rule out other possible causes of intermittent or inoperative fog lamps. Simple causes, such as a blown fuse, are checked first. The bulbs in the fog lamps will wear out and need replacement eventually, so the technician will check those. If the fuse and the bulbs are good, the technician may check the relay to make sure it is operational and that there is voltage to the relay. The wires to the switch will also be checked to make sure it is getting voltage. If voltage is present at the switch, the technician will test the switch for continuity - whether or not it is capable of transmitting electrical current when operated - and possibly bypass the switch to see if the relay will turn the lamps on. If the switch has power but will not operate, the switch is likely to be defective. In some cases, the problem might originate in the body control module or lighting control module. In these cases, the technician will look for a diagnostic trouble code (a fault code) that can be read with a scan tool.

How are Fog Lamp Switches replaced?

To replace a bad fog lamp switch, a technician will disconnect power to the switch (usually by removing the fuse or disconnecting the battery) and carefully remove the dashboard trim panel that houses the switch assembly. The switch is unplugged from the wire harness connector and disassembled from the trim panel. The new switch is installed in its place, plugged in, and returned to the dashboard before the fuse is replaced and the system tested. On vehicles where the switch is located on an arm connected to the steering column, disassembly of the steering column trim will be necessary for access. The arm will likely contain switches that control multiple vehicle functions and the whole module will need to be replaced.

RepairPal Recommendations for Fog Lamp Switch issues

We recommend thorough and proper diagnosis of the fog lamp issue prior to purchasing replacement parts for the vehicle. If not, properly functioning components can be replaced erroneously. Also, wiring around the switch is not advised as a means of bypassing a faulty switch or relay. Homemade switches can lead to vehicle fires or electric shock.

What to look out for when dealing with Fog Lamp Switch issues

The dashboard trim can be tricky to remove without damaging the panels. On some higher-end vehicles, the trim components can be extremely expensive to replace, and, in some cases, can only be replaced as a complete set costing thousands of dollars. Care should be exercised when disassembling components on the dashboard.

Can I replace the Fog Lamp Switch myself?

In many cases, the fog lamp switch can be replaced by a person with intermediate DIY experience as long as the problem has been properly diagnosed and the switch is easily accessible. Special tools may be required on some vehicles to avoid damage to the dashboard and trim panels. If the switch is mounted on the steering column, the procedure will likely be more complex and may best be left to a repair professional who understands how to disassemble a steering column.

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