BMW E36 Blog

Fixing BMW E36 Window Switch Light . . . DIY!

31st October 2008

Fixing BMW E36 Window Switch Light . . . DIY!

posted in Do It Yourself, Electrical, Interior, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized |

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I’ve been looking for a way to fix my windows switches. The switches work just fine, but the problem is that they don’t light up at night. So, I thought they would look great if I could fix them. I did a lot of search for information about how to do that, but all I could find is one solution that is to replace my switches. Of course that was an option, but I wanted to fix the problem myself because I thought it would be very easy and I would have a chance to spend more time with my beautiful babe (I hope my wife doesn’t hear this :p ). Anyway, This DIY (Do It Yourself) will definitely help you fix the window switch light problem. I hope you’ll find it useful.

Disclaimer: Use this info at your own risk!! The author is not responsible if this didn’t work for you :-).

First, you’ll need to pull the switch out of the center console. You can do that by simply removing the gear boot and pushing the switch from below. After that, unplug the light wires attached to the switch. Then, use a flat screwdriver to remove the button cover. It’s very easy, but you should be gentle with it in order not to break it. After that, you’ll be looking at the switch which should look similar to this:

This orange or amber light bulb is what needs to be replaced and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. To get access to that bulb, we need to remove the green plastic that is attached to the switch bottom. Using a flat screw driver, push these carefully to remove that piece.

And on the other side as well

Now that the green plastic piece is out of your way, you’ll be able to see the electronic board that is holding the switch buttons and the light bulb.

Push the board to remove the black plastic case as well. Be careful not to break anything.

Now, we have access to the board itself. This is the light bulb that needs to be replaced.

There’s a plastic piece that is used to hold the light bulb. You should remove that carefully while trying to get the bulb out. Remember to be gentle with it.

This is the light bulb that I’m going to use as a replacement for the original one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the part number for it. Anyway, the light bulb should be:

1. As small as possible in order to fit inside the white plastic base that we removed previously.

2. It should not have a strong illumination, otherwise, your switches will look very odd and they’ll start to heat.

3. These bulbs give a yellowish color. You may want to use your wife’s or girlfriend nail paint (red preferably) to change its color to amber (orange).

Using a soldering iron, you can put the new bulb instead of the old one. Don’t forget to put the plastic white base again before soldering the new bulb.

Put the board back inside the black plastic case.

Reattach the green plastic base to the switch.

Put everything back as it was when you disassembled the switch.

Now, connect the switch to your car and test it. Make sure everything is working fine. I know I didn’t paint the bulb using the red nail paint because it was my first attempt. After I saw the result which is shown in the last picture below, I decided to repeat the whole process again and paint it with red.

This is the result I got after using the yellow bulb without painting it. I’m sure you’ll like the switches more if you paint them.



Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual

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There are currently 9 responses to “Fixing BMW E36 Window Switch Light . . . DIY!”

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  1. 1 On November 3rd, 2008, Angelo said:

    hi, i leave this question the other day with no answer, but maybe i will get it this time, am really interested in changing the color of the light for switches, temp controls(basically all the interior ilumination) from the amber to a blue one, i saw some pictures of a car that did that with the exeption of the obc and the odometer(both lcd that i dont really think you can change it), any sugestions? right know am trying with some leds but not sure if somebody did it or read somewhere how to do it please help out.

  2. 2 On November 4th, 2008, Angelo said:

    here are the pics of what am trying to do
    the page is in german so i dont really undestand

  3. 3 On November 4th, 2008, Tony Sticks said:

    @Angelo: Did you look at my post BMW E36 with blue interior LED lights . . . Wow!? Make sure to look at the comments below that post and put your question there. Maybe Matt Rowe can help. I’m sorry but I didn’t try this myself, so I can’t be of much help to you.

  4. 4 On November 4th, 2008, Angelo said:

    Thanks tony i saw that post b4 but forget to fallow up comments, very helpfull pictues, thanks again i will be working in that and post some pictures if everything goes well
    thanks again

  5. 5 On November 4th, 2008, Angelo said:

    Thanks tony i saw that post b4 but forget to fallow up the comments, very helpfull pictues, thanks again i will be working in that and post some pictures if everything goes well
    thanks again

  6. 6 On January 15th, 2009, Jesse said:

    What if you lose the little metal pieces in the switch? Does anybody know where to buy them cause i lost them by not paying attention. Please and Thank YOu! =]

  7. 7 On January 15th, 2009, Tony Sticks said:

    @Jesse: I’m not sure you’ll find them easily. I suggest you get the switches instead. They’re not very expensive.

  8. 8 On January 15th, 2009, Jesse said:

    ok thank you

  9. 9 On February 6th, 2011, paul clooney said:

    my 316 1995 bmw front 2 window do not work lights switches not on its not a fuse can anyone help please