Automobile Designs: Headlamp Switches

Thread Starter #1
Mar 19, 2011
future city
Its getting dark and you want to switch on headlamp and your hand goes to instrument cluster to switch on headlights - suddenly you start seeing street ahead more clearly due to headlights being turned on.Your mind now goes back to driving.

This is the daily routine we follow but we are least bothered to look at headlamp switch.The design of headlamp switch in over a period of 90 years has changed a lot and many different designs co - exist.This thread deals with automobile design we seldom appreciate
Let us know the variety of headlamp switches.

  • Pull ( Knob )type - In this type, one has to pull the knob to activate headlamps.It is seen in many cars of 1930 - 90s especially American cars.

Diagrammatic rrepresentation of working of of pull type headlamp switch

Pull type ( left side) headlamp switch in 1960s Chevrolet Impala

In India this was seen in HM Ambassdor mark 1-4.

See this video below - it shows how pull type headlamps are switched on

YouTube - 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible Start Up, Exhaust, In Depth Tour, and Test Drive

  • Dial type -This type of switch originated in late 1970s( IMHO) in European cars.It is mostly seen in European cars.
In India it is seen in VW Polo, Mercedes Benz etc.

This is vintage dial type of headlamp switch

You maybe suprised to know that headlamp switches in Maruti 800. alto are similar in operation to dial type but are in combination with indicator may say it is a variant of dial type

  • Toggle type - This type of headlamp switch is found in many trucks , buses and many 1950s cars like our Alfa Romeos

In India it was seen in Fiat 1100D, Premier Padmini of 1970s

  • Push Button - This type of headlamp switch is not very popular and found in some cars like Chevrolet Monte carlo.

Below is a video of 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with push button headlamp switch
YouTube - saabkyle04's Channel

P.S - This thread details only with different variety of headlamp switches and does not deal with fog lamps , combination switches , auto lamps, instrumental cluster switches.

NOTE: This is a independently researched article.Any similarties with any other articles is purely co- incidental.If any discrepancies in this thread please highlight in this thread. Also Please don't copy this article without permission.

Image Source - Google
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Core Team
Aug 10, 2009
New Delhi
Yet another classic and interesting thread from Cortina. [thumbswink] Pull type switches can be seen on older Indian cars like Ambassador. Personally I find stalks convenient.

Drive Safe,

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