How to Replace a Headlamp Switch on a 1998 Ford Explorerby Gregory Crews
A faulty headlight switch will cause headlights to fail to operate. The 1998 Ford Explorer has the headlight switch mounted to the dash on the left side of the steering wheel. This switch can be removed by taking the dash and kick panel off to access the bolts and the actual switch. The headlight switch contains the switch that powers the headlights, parking light and the interior lights. Replacing the switch is a fairly simple job that requires few tools. You can find a replacement switch at auto-parts stores and Ford dealers.
Open the hood to disconnect the battery. Unbolt the negative cable with a socket wrench.
Open the driver's side door for extra room to work. Locate the two bolts that secure the kick panel under the steering wheel. Remove the two bolts with a socket wrench. Take the kick panel off and place it to the side.
Pull the headlight switch knob off by hand. This will make the switch easier to remove.
Detach the panel around the headlight switch by removing the two bolts securing it on both sides of the steering wheel. Take the panel off.
Unscrew the two bolts at the bottom of the headlight switch. Pull the switch down and away from the dash. Pull off the wiring harness on the back by hand.
Push the wiring harness onto the new switch and lock it in place.
Bolt the switch to the dash with a socket wrench. Place the panel around the headlight switch.
Tighten the panel with a socket wrench. Place the kick panel under the steering wheel and tighten it to the bottom of the dash with a socket wrench.
Connect the negative cable to the battery to restore electrical power. Close the hood.
Reattach the knob to the switch. The knob only pushes in one way so you may need to turn it until it pushes in all the way.
Test the headlight switch by turning it on. Turn the knob to the right to activate the headlights. Raise the side wheel to ensure the dash lights dim and the interior light turns off and on.
- Use caution working around the electrical system. The battery has to be isolated to prevent risk of electrical shock.
Items you will need
- Socket wrench
- Socket set
- "Ford Explorer and Mazda Navajo Haynes Repair Manual (1991 thru 2001)"; John Haynes; 2005