How to Change the Dimmer Switch in Explorer

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The Ford Explorer mid-sized SUV debuted in the 1991 model year. By 2011, the Explorer entered its fifth generation, twenty years later, reaching its sales pinnacle in 2000 when Ford sold 445,157 Explorers. No matter the year, each Explorer has interior lights you can control from the dashboard mounted dimmer switch. If the switch burns out, you'll need to purchase a new one and change out the old one. This repair requires a little mechanical inclination and roughly 25 minutes of your time.

Things You'll Need

  • Trim tool
  • Socket wrench
  • 6 mm socket
  • Pry the dimmer switch trim bezel off the dashboard with a trim tool. Use care when prying on the bezel as plastic trim breaks easily.

  • Remove the hex-head screws holding the dimmer switch to the dashboard frame using a socket wrench and an 8 mm socket.

  • Pull the old switch out of the Explorer's dashboard. Disconnect the old switch from the dashboard wiring harness by depressing the retaining clip on the harness connector and then pulling the connector away from the switch.

  • Plug the dashboard wiring harness into the new dimmer switch. Set the new dimmer switch in position and thread the hex-head screws in by hand. Tighten the screws with the socket wrench and 6 mm socket.

  • Place the dimmer switch trim bezel in position and push firmly to snap it back into place. Make sure the bezel is flush with the surrounding dash trim on all sides.

Tips & Warnings

  • The dimmer switch is located just to the left of the steering column, on the dashboard. The size of the trim bezel surrounding the switch varies by model year.

References

  • "Ford Explorer and Mazda Navajo 1991 thru 2001: Haynes Manual"; Ken Freund; 2001
  • "Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer 2002 and 2010: Haynes Manual"; Ken Freund; 2010
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