Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Backup Light Switch

Backup Light Switch

The backup light switch is the electronic switch on a vehicle that is responsible for activating the vehicle’s reverse lights. The switches work by activating the lights when the transmission is put into reverse gear. In some vehicles, such as large trucks or vans, the backup light switch may also activate the backup alarm, which beeps to notify pedestrians and other drivers that the vehicle is traveling in reverse. Backup lights are an important safety feature installed on all vehicles to promote safety and prevent accidents. When the switch that activates them fails, this safety feature is disabled and the vehicle may be more susceptible to accidents. When the switch does fail, usually a few symptoms will be produced that can alert the driver that a problem has occurred and should be serviced.

1. Reverse lights function intermittently

Intermittent functionality of the reverse lights is a symptom that the backup light switch may be having a problem. If the contacts in the switch are worn or have failed, then this may cause the lights to function intermittently. You may notice that the reverse lights will come on sometimes and not others, or that they may flicker on and off rapidly or randomly.

2. Reverse lights stay on at all times

Another symptom of a failed backup light switch are reverse lights that are on at all times. If the switch shorts internally, this may cause the lights to stay on permanently. This will not only be a problem in that it will make the vehicle appear that it is in reverse gear when it is not, but it will also cause the bulbs to burn out much more rapidly than they normally would.

3. Reverse lights fail to come on at all

The most obvious symptom that the backup switch has failed are reverse lights that fail to come on at all. The backup light switch is what directly controls the lights, so if it fails, then the lights will cease to function. This will leave the vehicle without a visual cue to notify pedestrians and other drivers on the road that the vehicle is traveling in reverse, which is unsafe.

Because reverse lights are an important safety feature that is mandatory on all road going vehicles, if the backup switch fails, this important safety feature will be disabled. For this reason, if you suspect that your vehicle’s backup light switch is having a problem, have a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, diagnose the vehicle’s lights to determine what the best course of action may be. If needed, they will be able to replace your backup light switch for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

More related articles

How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...

Related questions

Q: What does the high beam indicator mean in a 2012 Honda CR-V?

The high beam indicator is located on your instrument panel. The light illuminates when the high beam lights are turned on.

Q: How can I tell if my car switches are dying?

Different switches can start to fail in different ways. Something like a window switch, for example, won’t be as crisp as it used to be and start to feel rough and have glitches whenever you use it, but continue to...

Q: WITHOUT ACC HEADLIGHT DOOR LIGHTS NOT WORKING

I am sorry, I do not fully understand your question. However, you are most likely experiencing a problem with one of the main fuses or relays in your electrical system. I am unable to determine exactly which component is faulty...