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Old 4th February 2017, 23:11   #1
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Default DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)

Background
This is my first DIY work on my pre worshipped 2006 Skoda Laura L&K. Its actually quite surprising to know that there are absolutely no broken/non working gizmos in the car considering the fact that the car is packed with itty witty things everywhere. Its even more surprising to know that its a 10yr old one! Every single electronic feature on the car works flawlessly like its new out of the factory. However, there are signs of wear, like for example the writing "P" on the parking assist on/off switch is gone. I've seen newer Skoda Laruas having the same printing gone - a common problem perhaps?

The Problem
This DIY is about the central lock/unlock switch located in the centre console. It was working fine, but I had to press on a bit hard to get it to unlock. It is one of the most used switches on the car after the head lights and turn indicators I guess. Thought of getting it fixed at the Skoda A.S.S. But I felt their cost for replacing that switch was way too high (I know Skodas are costly, but that couldn't convince me enough to spend a fortune on a frigging switch!). I've seen the exact same issue on some other Lauras that I happen to drive, so this isn't an isolated case. I hope this post might help the brave ones willing to attempt DIY on a Skoda! One might think that its easier to get a replacement switch from UK and replace it, but the hardest part is getting the switch back into place without removing the center console. Hence the difficulty level remains the same even if you buy a replacement part.

The Reason
This particular switch (Maybe the others also) has the same technology used in console joysticks and hand held gaming consoles - a rubber piece having carbon coating pushes against PCB contact points making a closed circuit. After so many unlocks, the carbon coating on the rubber part gets transferred on to the PCB contact points making it harder to make a clean electrical contact, hence more force!

Disclaimer
This fix is not for the faint hearted I'd say considering the effort and patience that is required to put the switch back into place. DO NOT attempt if you have large palms. As always, I'm responsible for nothing!

The Fix
The process involves removing the switch, dismantling it, cleaning the PCB and refitting. Its a fairly simple DIY I'd say as there are no parts to buy or special tools to carry out the repair. The only requirements are a cleaning cloth and rubbing alcohol(or any deodorant) for cleaning the pcb contact points.

Step 1
1.1) Remove the ash tray located in front of the gear stick.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-1.jpeg

1.2) Lift the plastic fascia having the leather covering the innards of the gear stick well - its held in place by locks that will come loose on lifting the whole fascia up like in the picture.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-2.jpeg

Step 2
2.1) Press on the middle portion of the lock/unlock switch really hard to get it out of its holding locks. DO NOT push hard on the actual switches, just on the middle of the switch, refer below picture.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-5.jpeg

2.2) The switch will pop out underneath. Move the switch to the front by using your fingers/screw driver through the switch hole.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-6.jpeg

2.3) Disconnect the switch from the connector by pressing the connector unlock. Making sure that you won't drop the switch into the well
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-7.jpeg

Step 3
3.1) Dismantle the switch by prying out the top portion of the switch. The locks are on either sides of the switch. They're marked on the picture below. Use a flat head screw driver to pry out the top portion.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-8.jpeg
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-9.jpeg
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-10.jpeg

Step 4
4.1) Now, remove the rubber part of the switch. This rubber piece has the carbon contact points that are responsible for making the electrical contact when we push. Clean it slightly using a clean cloth, DO NOT use the rubbing alcohol here.
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-11.jpeg

4.2) On the picture below, you can clearly see the carbon transfer on the PCB contact pads from the above rubber part. Use rubbing alcohol here to remove the carbon from the contact pads. Clean the surface well using a cloth
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-12.jpeg

4.3) After cleaning the contact pads, reassemble the switch - you can't make mistakes in this, the switch will only go back in one way!

Step 5
5.1) Reconnect the switch connector, again making sure that you won't drop it into the unknown. After reconnecting, make sure that it works fine.
5.2) This is from where it gets tricky, push the switch and the connector back using your fingers.
5.3) Get the switch into its position by using your fingers through the gear stick well and the switch's hole.
5.4) Once the switch is in place and not in its position, it'll look like this from the inside
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-13.jpeg

5.5) Once the switch is in position, push the switch up from below by using your fingers through the gear stick well, you can make use of a screwdriver as a lever here for this. Once it locks into place, it'll look like this:
DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)-14.jpeg

Now, push the gear stick leather and its fascia into place and you're all done! This has cost me nothing other than about 45 mins of my spare time. I'd say its worth time
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Old 4th February 2017, 23:27   #2
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Default re: DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
4.2) On the picture below, you can clearly see the carbon transfer on the PCB contact pads from the above rubber part. Use rubbing alcohol here to remove the carbon from the contact pads. Clean the surface well using a cloth
Attachment 1604266
Alternately if the carbon has worn off you can buy carbon dots which are available at electronics spare parts shop and stick them to give a better contact. These dots have adhesive backing and come in various sizes. I have repaired car central lock & TV remotes with these dots successfully.

Last edited by RajeVenu : 4th February 2017 at 23:28.
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Old 4th February 2017, 23:33   #3
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Default re: DIY: Fixing the central locking / unlocking switch (Skoda Laura)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RajeVenu View Post
Alternately if the carbon has worn off you can buy carbon dots which are available at electronics spare parts shop and stick them to give a better contact. These dots have adhesive backing and come in various sizes. I have repaired car central lock & TV remotes with these dots successfully.
Thanks for the info RajeVenu! I didn't knew that carbon dots are available to buy! I remember crushing up pencil leads and sticking the powder to glued up carbon dots that were gone on a gameboy years back!
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