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The column switch, which is also known as the steering column switch or steering column control module, is a rod that protrudes from the steering column of the vehicle. The column switch is used to control a variety of different operations in the car. Most vehicles have at least two column switches, although some have three or four. They are positioned to permit easy access to the controls of the vehicle without losing contact with the steering wheel. They also encase the electrical wiring that operates the various operations that they control.
There is a range of uses for a vehicle’s common switches. Originally they were used to shift (or switch) gears on automatic cars. This then progressed to controlling the vehicle’s indicators and windscreen wipers. Most frequently, column switches are now used to control windscreen wipers, headlights, the headlight beam, the horn, the indicators and screen washers. However, more sophisticated versions of the column switch, in higher range vehicles, can control audio systems, cruise control systems and the vehicle’s onboard computer.
The most likely causes of malfunction of a column switch are loose wiring or a blown fuse. However, if the steering column switch itself fails or is damaged it can be easily replaced. All major motor parts suppliers can access the appropriate replacement part specific to the model of vehicle concerned.