Remove the multifunction switch
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Photo 1: Take off the cover
Remove the screws from the bottom half of the steering column cover and note the length, thread style and location of each screw. They have to go back in the same place. Disengage the plastic snap clips and separate the two halves of the
steering column cover.
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Photo 2: Pull the switch
Remove the switch retaining screws and pull out the switch. Disconnect
the electrical connector.
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Photo 3: Check the resistance
Connect a multimeter to the wiper contacts on the switch to check the resistance readings. Clean the variable resistor (if possible) or replace the entire multifunction
Once known as a turn signal or blinker
switch, this lever now also controls
headlights, high beams, emergency
flashers, wipers and washers. No wonder
it’s called the multifunction switch
(MFS) these days. Unfortunately, the
MFS has a fairly high failure rate. The
two most common failures are a broken
turn signal “canceling” mechanism
that won’t shut off the “blinkers”
after a turn, and a partial or complete
loss of intermittent wiper control. To
fix these two problems, you’ll need a
shop manual, a digital multimeter and
possibly some Torx bits.
On most late-model vehicles, the
MFS is located under the plastic covers
behind the steering wheel. In that case,
you can do this repair in about an hour
and save the cost of an hour or two of shop time by doing it yourself.
But some older vehicles require
the removal of the airbag and steering
wheel, and that’s a job for a pro. Refer
to a shop manual to see where your
MFS is located (you can find shop manuals with an online search).
Always disconnect the negative battery
terminal and wait 15 minutes for
the airbag system to power down
before starting work on the steering
column. Then remove the screws and
lift off the plastic covers.
The MFS is usually held in place by
hex-head or Torx screws. Remove
them, pull out the switch and disconnect
the electrical connector. If the
problem is a broken canceling mechanism,
you must replace the entire MFS
(auto parts store or dealer). If the problem
is faulty intermittent wiper operation,
use a multimeter to check the
connectors on the back of the MFS for
resistance (ohms) readings for each setting
on the intermittent wiper dial.
Then compare them with the manual.
If the resistance readings are off, the
shop manual will tell you to replace
the MFS. But you may be able to save
big bucks by disassembling
the MFS and
variable resistor contacts
yourself. Search the Internet for
“multifunction switch repair.” If you
can’t disassemble the MFS or the
cleaning doesn’t work, replace the entire unit and reinstall the covers.
Multifunction switch levers control headlights, flashers, wipers and intermittent windshield washers.