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Brights Stalk Switch

Posted by alanrw 
September 20, 2013 10:37PM
Just noticed a problem with my bright light stalk switch. When I push it forward, the stalk clicks/locks and the brights come on. When I pull the stalk towards me, nothing. It used to be when I pull the stalk towards me, the brights came on and stay on as long as I maintain pressure on the switch. My question is can the switch be taken apart/diagnosed/repaired or is it just a swap out sealed unit?

I am assuming the issue is with the stalk switch and not the relay as the brights do come on when I push the switch towards the firewall.

September 21, 2013 12:13AM
I would opt for the simple solution first...check/swap the relay. This is free and costs nothing...tracking down something sinister always costs money and angusish.

Man oh man; you guys with your E30 woes just make me so jealous winking smiley
September 22, 2013 11:12PM
My turn signal switch stopped working on one side, but the flashers worked all around, so I knew the trouble was in the switch, similar to your problem with the brights. I have a small spray can of electrical contact cleaner, which is some sort of solvent that's not as harsh as brake cleaner. I took the switch off the column so I wouldn't make a mess in the car and I sprayed the contact cleaner into every place on the switch I could find that looked like it might let the solvent get inside. Lots of dirty solvent ran out for a while. I sprayed until it started coming out clean. I sprayed a little silicone lube in there after that. My turn signals have been working fine ever since. I've had that electrical contact cleaner so long I can't remember where I got it. Auto parts stores might have it, or maybe a place like Radio Shack.

Try a spray can repair before you replace the switch.

September 23, 2013 03:15PM
Thanks for the tip John. I did study the wiring diagram and the stalk switch appears to feed the headlight relay from 2 points, the continuous (click lock) side and the momentary(pull side) so I guess it is time to dive into the steering column.

John, is the stalk switch a sealed unit or is there a cover that is held on by screws?

September 23, 2013 06:20PM
If your car has the airbag steering wheel, be sure and disconnect the battery before starting the job. The ignition switch has to be turned on to get the steering wheel off. The error code for the airbag is difficult to reset even with the correct tool...

Bob in Everett
September 24, 2013 02:14PM
Oh man that sucks, the most important feature on a BMW not working. A BMW that can't flash its brights just isn't a BMW.
September 24, 2013 06:45PM

John, is the stalk switch a sealed unit or is there a cover that is held on by screws?


The turn signal switch was a sealed unit, at least in terms of whether you could open it up. It had plenty of openings to spray solvent in.
I just realized we're talking about the same switch. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

I was just at O'Reilly Auto Parts and I saw electrical contact cleaner among all the spray oils and cleaners.

September 25, 2013 05:05AM
This is what you'll need: Contact Spray
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