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Ignition switch light


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Excuse my ignorance but what is the purpose of the ignition switch light. I don’t see how it illuminates anything as it’s behind the dash. 

also doesn’t help that it turns out the bulb has been burnt out since I’ve owned the car.



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One of those little "GM niceties" that the higher line cars had. Like those lighted green jewels Olds and Cadillac put over the dash ashtrays.


I suppose it was nice when shutting the car off at night, but always made more sense to me to turn on the dome lights to find the ignition switch when first getting into the car at night.


But yes, repair it. That's the way it was designed. Look in the ignition switch dash recess and you should see a small slot or pinhole that the lamp will shine thru to illuminate the switch.

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I did not put a bulb in this light when I recently redid my interior. (My interior looked much like yours.)


Let me first explain how it works and how it is intended to help you:

  • If you turn on the parking lights and turn the headlight switch knob to make the instrument panel lights bright, this bulb on the side of the key switch will light up the slot, the keyhole, that the ignition key goes into.
  • It helps you see where to stuck the key in to start the engine. That's it.

I do not have a problem finding the keyhole in the dark. I can do it by touch. And as others have said, if you turn on some of the inside courtesy lights, that can help you see the keyhole, too.


Once the key is in the ignition switch, you can't see the light any longer.  I did not find it very useful. So I left the bulb out.


Hope this helps you decide what you want to do with your car.


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12 minutes ago, Pat Curran said:

In later years, GM had the same feature for the exterior door locks.

My 1990 Riviera has a fiber optic ring around the key lock on the exterior of the door. Don’t know why it’s there, I always use the remote fob to unlock the doors. 

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