How To Turn Off Interior Lights With Hatch Open? Easy Steps

When you have a car with an open hatch, and the interior lights are on, trying to turn them off can be challenging. However, there are several methods you can use to solve this light issue.

Each method has its risks and benefits, so it’s important to understand them before turning off the lights. How to turn off interior lights with hatch open? Let’s dive in.

Why Do We Need To Turn Off Interior Lights With The Hatch Open?

how to turn off interior lights with hatch open

Turning off the interior lights with the hatch open is important because when the hatch is open, the interior lights are likely to stay on, which can cause the battery drain issue.

It can be particularly problematic if the car is parked for an extended period.

Besides, turning off the interior lights helps minimize distractions and increases your focus on the task. Thus, it can help you stay safe and avoid accidents.

How To Turn Off Interior Lights With Hatch Open?

There are several ways, like changing or cleaning the relay, sticking a carabiner in the rear hatch striker or pushing the hitch.

Also, you can open and close the doors or activate the window latching mechanism. Cutting back wires and plugging them into the switch is another option.

Change The Relay

You can swap out the faulty relay with the rear defroster relay. It will be best to locate the power door lock relay first. Usually, it is located in the fuse box under the car’s hood.

The fuse panel also contains two smaller relays – the battery saver and the interior lamp relay – which can be swapped with their counterparts.

Clean The Relay

Besides, I always remove dirt and debris from the relay to ensure it works properly. First, disconnect the car battery to reset the GEM, a component that supplies power to the relay.

Next, use a small brush, a clean cloth, or compressed air to remove dirt or debris from the relays.

Open And Close Car Doors

Another way to try is to open and close your car’s front or rear doors multiple times. Repeat until you see the light inside go out.

I found that sometimes, slamming the door would turn off the hatch lights and other ones while the rear hatch was open, but be careful as it can damage some parts of the door.

Cut Back Wires And Plug Them Into The Switch

turning off interior lights ford explorer

First, ensure that the doors are closed, then peel off the tape used to join the wires together. Next, cut the white wires striped with purple, and you should see the light inside go out.

Insert the cut wire terminals into the switch, cover the cut wire ends, and make a hole to accommodate the switch.

Finally, test the switch by leaving the window or hatch open and flipping the switch.

Push The Hitch

Certain car models like mine have an automatic function that turns interior lights on while opening the car doors.

Whenever I lock the doors, the lights will automatically be back in the closed position.

However, you can still turn off the overhead lights, dash lights, and cargo area lights when the car hatch is open by pushing the hitch by a screwdriver.

Then, lower the rear hatch to around 75-80% and let the light switch off.

Activate The Window Latch

How to turn inside car lights off? Another easy method I used is to switch off the interior lights in your car while the hatch is open is to trigger the car window hatch latch to shut manually.

It is essential to take caution while doing this, as trying to close the window while the tailgate latch is already in a closed position can cause it to break.

Stick A Carabiner In The Hatch Striker

How to turn off interior lights if the other methods do not work? You can also use a simple carabiner on a piece of rope. Stick it up in the little striker, and all your interior lights stay off.

It is like a fake power hatch mechanism or a latch trick, making the lights notice a closed latch so that they will turn off.

Set The Light To Completely Off

Some car models provide 3 light mode settings: continuously on, on only when some doors are open, or completely turned off.

Therefore, I often select the mode completely off to close the cab lights and board lights with an open hatch. In other words, this mode will auto shut-off the lights.

Can We Apply The Tips For Turning Off Interior Lights On All Car Models?

how to turn off interior car lights with door open

No. Each car model will be designed with different functions and components, so some methods only apply to certain car models & trim levels.

For example, pushing the hitch is only effective when I want to turn off interior lights with hatch open Ford Escape and GMC Yukon, while setting the light to turn off completely is available in Honda Pilot, Toyota Prius, and Audi Q5.

Besides, you should also consider the best solution for your car to avoid unnecessary damage.


Is It Safe To Have The Interior Lights On With An Open Hatch?

Yes. Leaving the interior lights turned on when the hatch is open is normal and especially beneficial at night.

In addition, like lamp lights or rear lights, it helps other cars see you and keep a safe distance from your car, avoiding unexpected accidents.

Except for draining the car battery, causing battery dead, and sometimes distracting drivers when loading in day time, these open lights offer great safety benefits, especially at night.

What Are Some Risks When Trying To Turn Off The Lights With An Open Hatch?

If you’re unfamiliar with how to replace a relay safely, it’ll be a bad idea as you could accidentally cause a short circuit, blown fuse, or damage the vehicle’s electrical system.

I even mistakenly cut the wrong wire once. Modifying the vehicle’s electrical system this way could void the vehicle’s warranty or cause problems with its operation.

Also, pushing on the hitch to turn off the dome lights, cargo lights, and others could leave strain or damage to the vehicle’s hitch or frame.

Sticking a carabiner in the hatch striker can wreak havoc on the rocker latch or striker mechanism.

Thus, it’s best to take caution when doing any method. If you’re unsure how to do it safely, you should seek the advice of a professional mechanic or refer to the owner’s manual.

Can I Turn Off The Interior Car Lights When The Door Is Open?

Yes, you can turn off the interior car lights when the door is open in most vehicles.

Sometimes, you don’t know how to turn off interior lights when door is open or how to turn off Bronco interior lights.

Typically, a switch near the door or on the dashboard controls the interior and exterior lights (reverse light, single light, etc.).

This switch may have several positions, including “off,” and “on.” In this case, switch the light control to the “off” position.


How to turn off interior lights with hatch open? You can switch the relay, cut back the wire, stick a carabiner in the hatch striker, or push the hitch.

You also should be aware of the risks associated with some methods, so be careful when doing that.

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