What Is a Toggle Switch and How Is It Used in Cars?

Toggle switches are a common feature on many machines and equipment, including cars.

Toggle switches are a common feature on many machines and equipment, including cars. These switches are simple yet versatile and are used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit. In the automotive industry, toggle switches play a vital role in controlling various functions and systems within the vehicle.

In this article, we’ll explore what a toggle switch is, how it works, and its various applications in cars.

What Is a Toggle Switch

What Is a Toggle Switch and How Does it Work?

A toggle switch, also known as a rocking switch, is mainly composed of the crank, copper head, fixed bracket, plastic shell, contact piece, PIN, etc. The handle of a toggle switch is usually made of metal material, and some toggle switches are designed with plastic handles due to ESD considerations.

There are many types of handle shapes for toggle switches, including round handles, conical handles, flat handles, plastic handles, locking lever handles (handles designed to prevent accidental operation, and need to be pulled upward when switching), etc. There are generally three types of PIN pins for toggle switches: soldering pins, PC pins, and SMT pins.

Toggle switches are mainly used for on-off control of AC or DC power circuits. The working principle of the toggle switch is to touch and disconnect the internal movable contacts and static contacts by turning the crank to achieve the on and off functions.

The Different Types of Toggle Switches

BITUO ELECTRIC can offer full range of toggle switches as follows:

Single pole toggle switch with instantaneous action(SPST)

This type of switch can achieve a momentary switching function, that is, when the switch is pressed, the switch will immediately disconnect the circuit, and when the switch is released, the circuit will be reconnected. This type of switch is usually used in situations where a certain function needs to be briefly triggered, such as the power switch in handheld power tools.

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Single pole toggle switch with instantaneous action
Single pole toggle switch with holding action

Single pole toggle switch with holding action(SPDT)

This type of switch can achieve a hold switch function, which means that when the switch is pressed, it will remain in the on state until it is pressed again to disconnect the circuit. This type of switch is usually used in situations where a certain state needs to be maintained for a long time, such as power switches in household appliances.

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Bipolar single pole toggle switch(DPST)

This type of switch has two electrical contacts that can simultaneously control the on/off of two circuits. This type of switch is usually used in situations where two circuits need to be controlled simultaneously, such as the left and right channel selection switches in audio systems.

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Bipolar single pole toggle switch
Bipolar Double pole Toggle Switch

Bipolar Double pole Toggle Switch(DPDT)

This type of switch has four electrical contacts that can simultaneously control the on/off of two circuits, with each circuit having a switch contact. This type of switch is usually used in situations where two circuits need to be controlled simultaneously, such as the front and rear fog light selection switches in cars.

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Other Types of Toggle Switches

Other types of toggle switches mainly include flat toggle, LED toggle, mini-toggle, and toggle switch with a cover which are explained below.

LED Toggle Switch

These switches are typically equipped with an LED located on the toggle’s tip. The primary purpose of this LED is to indicate the switch condition, whether it is ON or OFF. These switches find applications in handheld devices, front-panel interfaces, and other similar electronic systems.

LED Toggle Switch
Mini Toggle Switch

Mini Toggle Switch

Mini toggle switches are commonly referred to as snap-action switches or micro switches and are available in smaller sizes. They feature a spring-loaded toggle that responds to applied force, activating the spring and shifting the contacts into position. This design makes them ideal for use in domestic and industrial equipment.

Toggle Switch with Cover

These switches are equipped with covers or caps that serve the purpose of safeguarding the internal lever mechanism and preventing accidental triggering. They are designed for controlling various supplementary lighting features in the vehicle, such as Chassis Lights, Fog Lights, Off-Road Lights, Extra LED Lights, and more.

Toggle Switch with Cover

Components and Connection of Toggle Switches

In general, a toggle switch has three wiring terminals: one is the common terminal (COM), and the other two are the switching terminals (T1, T2). The wiring method is as follows:

For single pole single throw toggle switches, generally only the common terminal and switching terminal need to be connected.

For a single pole dual throw toggle switch, it is necessary to connect the two switching terminals to two different circuits.

For a bipolar single throw toggle switch, it is necessary to connect one polarity power supply to a switching terminal and the other polarity power supply to another switching terminal in order to control the on/off of both circuits simultaneously.

For a bipolar dual throw toggle switch, it is necessary to connect the positive and negative poles of each circuit to different switching terminals in order to control the on/off of both circuits simultaneously. The specific wiring method is shown in the following figure.

The wiring method of the toggle switch may vary depending on the specific model, so it is necessary to pay attention to the wiring method of different models when wiring. In practical applications, it is also necessary to choose the appropriate toggle switch type and wiring method based on specific circuit requirements.

Components and Connection of Toggle Switches

Advantages of Toggle Switches

Toggle switches offer several advantages that make them popular for various applications. Here are some of the key advantages.

The toggle switch has a bright and eye-catching colour

Its surface has undergone advanced processing technology, resulting in a unique design and stunning appearance. Thanks to this special treatment, the toggle switch can maintain its pristine condition and color even after extended use. Additionally, the toggle decoration ring showcases an internationally popular stamping metal color treatment, adding to its overall appeal.

The toggle switch has excellent flame retardancy

Due to the use of imported nylon in the shell of the switch toggle, it exhibits exceptional flame retardancy. Given that electricity poses a significant risk, with malfunctions potentially resulting in fires and accidents, the flame retardancy feature of toggle switches becomes highly advantageous. These switches demonstrate outstanding resistance to catching fire under specific conditions, thereby enhancing circuit protection.

The 3-toggle switch features a distinct wiring terminal design that prioritizes safety and eliminates the risk of contact. Improper use of electrical switches can potentially lead to dangerous electric shock incidents, posing a significant threat to personal well-being. However, the wiring terminals of our rotary switch have been meticulously engineered to prevent electric shocks in any scenario, providing users with peace of mind and utmost reassurance when utilizing our product.

It has certain waterproof and dustproof properties

Water poses a significant threat to circuits, often resulting in short circuits and other related issues that can potentially damage the circuitry and pose risks such as electric leakage. However, with the utilization of toggle switches, these concerns become obsolete. With its robust waterproof and dustproof properties, the toggle switch guarantees a protection level of IP65, effectively safeguarding against water-related damages. Additionally, when equipped with a protective cover, the toggle switch further enhances its dust-proof capabilities to achieve an impressive protection level of IP67.

The torsion spring is composed of three components: contact module, frame, and toggle head. These three components are connected using internationally recognized self-locking connections without fasteners, which are safe, reliable, and easy to disassemble. It can be operated by a single person and has a long service life.

Disadvantages of Toggle Switches

While toggle switches offer several advantages, they also have some disadvantages that may make them less suitable for certain applications. Here are some potential disadvantages:

  • These types of switches will make some clicking sounds while operating them,
  • These are larger & bulkier as compared to rocker switches.
  • It requires a toggle lock washer.
  • It is applicable in low-voltage circuits only.

The Applications of Toggle Switches

Consumer Electronics

Toggle switches are widely used in various consumer electronics products, such as mobile phones, tablets, televisions, speakers, etc. Among them, the toggle switch in handheld devices is relatively small and can be used for functions such as power on/off, volume adjustment, and screen lock. In large equipment such as sound systems and televisions, toggle switches can be used to control functions such as power, volume, and channels.

Industrial Automation

Toggle switches play a crucial role in the realm of industrial automation, serving as essential tools for controlling and monitoring production equipment and processes. From regulating robots in factories to managing conveyor belts on production lines, toggle switches are integral for maintaining control and making necessary adjustments. Moreover, special toggle switches designed with features like wear resistance, waterproofing, and explosion-proof capabilities are imperative within the field of industrial automation.


The toggle switch in the car is mainly used to control the equipment and functions inside the car. For example, electric windows, rearview mirrors, air conditioning, speakers, headlights, etc. in cars all require toggle switches for control. At the same time, the automotive industry also has high requirements for the durability and reliability of toggle switches.


In the aerospace field, toggle switches are mainly used to control and monitor various systems and equipment of aircraft. For example, the cockpit, wings, and tail of an aircraft require toggle switches for control and adjustment.

Medical Equipment

The primary purpose of toggle switches in medical equipment is to regulate and modify the operations of different medical devices. These switches are essential for controlling and adjusting functions in monitors, surgical instruments, infusion pumps, and various other equipment used in the medical field. The availability of toggle switches ensures efficient control and smooth operation of these devices.


Overall, the design and conditions will ultimately determine which switch is appropriate for your project. From a design perspective, some prefer the look of a toggle whereas others prefer a more universal look with the rocker switch. Conditions will also impact your decision. For example, if the product belongs to the marine industry a toggle switch may be more appropriate due to its IP rating. View our TOGGLE SWITCH range here for your information.

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