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HomeTips & GuidesWhat Is a Glove Box Light Switch? Definition, Types, and Mounting Locations

What Is a Glove Box Light Switch? Definition, Types, and Mounting Locations

What is a glove box light switch? And how does it work? Let’s find out.

Most drivers use glove boxes to store insurance documents, registration details, and small personal items like sunglasses.

The light switch in this compartment allows you to turn on the light inside to locate the stored items in the dark. Read this article and learn more about this switch.

Table of Contents

What Is a Glove Box Light Switch?

A glove box light switch is the component that regulates power flow to the light inside the glove box. Its primary purpose is to activate the light when you open the glove box.

But it also deactivates the light when you close the glove box. On top of that, the switch cuts the power supply to the light bulb if you leave the glove box open for a long time.

An open glove box

An open glove box

This action is necessary to conserve battery power because the bulb can drain the battery if left open over long periods, such as through the night.

Glove Box Switch Locations

Glove box switches are usually in either of these three locations. It varies depending on the car’s make and model.

In the Compartment Door

Most vehicles have the glove box light switch mounted on the glove box door’s interior surface. 

Usually, it is a mechanical switch with a tiny lever or button with a spring inside that lifts to close the circuit when you open the door.

On closing the door, the inner surface presses the hidden button switch, depressing the spring that closes the circuit. So, the circuit opens, cutting the power flow to the bulb.

In the Locking Mechanism

Some vehicles have this switch integrated into the glove box’s locking mechanism. 

Therefore, when you close the door, the switch cuts power to the bulb. And when you unlock the door, the switch reconnects the power supply, turning on the bulb.

A glove compartment box with a touch lock

A glove compartment box with a touch lock

On the Side Wall

Sidewall switches function the same way as those on the door. The switch activates when you open the glove box and deactivates when you close it.

Types of Glove Box Light Switches

These switches can have either of the following operating mechanisms.

Mechanical Switches

This traditional switch design requires physical pressing to activate or deactivate the power supply.

Most manufacturers who use these jamb switches install them on the side wall or the door’s interior surface. So, opening and closing the door activates and deactivates the switch.

A person checking documents stored in the glove box

A person checking documents stored in the glove box

Magnetic Switches

Magnetic switches require magnetic sensors to detect the presence of the magnetic field. 

This switch is easier to implement than the mechanical type and more durable because it does not have moving parts.

Typically, manufacturers install a magnetic sensor on the plastic above the door and a tiny magnet on the door at a corresponding position.

When closed, the sensor detects the magnetic field and turns off the light. On opening the door, the magnet moves away from the sensor’s range, triggering it to turn on the light.

The connection can also be in reverse. You can position the sensor close to the door magnet when you open it.

So, when closed, the sensor won’t detect the magnet and keeps the light off. But when you open it, the door magnet moves close to the sensor, triggering it to turn on the bulb.

Proximity Sensors

Infrared, ultrasonic, and other proximity sensors can detect the presence of an object, such as the glove box door.

An open glove compartment with its light on inside

An open glove compartment with its light on inside

So, when you open the door, the sensor mounted on the plastic section above it senses no object within its range, triggering a circuit connection. 

And on closing the door, the sensor detects the object, opening the circuit.

Photoresistors (Light Sensors)

Like proximity sensors, photoresistors require a trigger to activate the on/off switching. The trigger here is the ambient light.

When you open the glove box, more light gets to the sensor, triggering it to activate the connection to the light bulb. 

Closing the compartments blocks ambient light, turning off the circuit.

A man opening a glove box (note the light inside)

A man opening a glove box (note the light inside)

However, this system requires careful implementation because the glove box light can provide the ambient light needed to keep the switch connection active.

Microcontroller Systems

Advanced vehicles can have microcontroller-based switching that takes inputs from various sensors, such as photoresistors and door position, to control the light activation.

 Although complex, this switch type can give customizable control or intelligent switching.

What if You Leave the Glove Box On?

As stated earlier, one of the functions of this switch is to prevent battery drain if you leave the glove box open. 

Without it, the glove box light will remain on, and you can imagine the current draw overnight. The car can even fail to start.

A glove box light

A glove box light

So, in addition to the switching mechanism, the glove box light switch features a timer. After the sensor or mechanical switch activates, a timer inside starts counting.

Manufacturers pre-program this timer to turn off the switch after a preset period. When the timer’s pre-set time lapses, it turns off the switch. 

But if you close the door before the timer’s duration expires, the sensor or switch halts the timing and resets the timer.

Wrap Up

Most people don’t consider the glove box light switch critical in vehicles because you can do without the light. 

You can have a flashlight inside the glove box to illuminate the compartment.

But this switch and the accompanying light bulb are convenient features that make it easy to see what’s inside the compartment. 

The switch is critical for the bulb lighting, and if you need to fix this light switch assembly in your vehicle, comment below or contact us, and we’ll help you find the most suitable replacement parts and wires.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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