Symptoms of a Bad or Failing 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.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(158,996)

Rating Summary
149,057
5,399
1,100
778
2,662
149,057
5,399
1,100
778
2,662

Matthew

33 years of experience
1084 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Pontiac Firebird V8-5.3L - Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection - Newport News, Virginia
Arrived on time, very professional and knowledgeable - especially about my old car.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Car is not starting - Hampton, Virginia
My experience with Matthew was awesome his performance was outstanding and very professional. My plans for future mechanical needs are to contact the profession service of your mechanic preferably Matthew once again you’ll have one great team player .

David

16 years of experience
633 reviews
David
16 years of experience
Nissan Altima L4-2.5L - Oil Change - Fairfield, California
On time, very professional, and did the job well.
Ford Transit Connect - Oil/Fluid Leak - Vallejo, California
Great.

Chris

6 years of experience
51 reviews
Chris
6 years of experience
Chevrolet Cavalier L4-2.2L - Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting Inspection - Jonesboro, Georgia
Genuinely seemed to care about meeting the expectation of me (the customer) with a corrective remedy to my automobile's electrical issue. Genuinely seemed to want to deliver long-term issue-free results.

Marco

29 years of experience
178 reviews
Marco
29 years of experience
Ford F-150 V8-5.4L - Vehicle Body Electrical and Lighting - Highland, California
Great experience! Marco showed up right on time and was very polite and pleasant. He got right to work and assessed my problem quickly and made recommendations for repair which I was able to take care of myself later. Very good experience and would definitely use Marco again!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Coolant Vacuum Valve Switch Last?
The The coolant vacuum valve switch opens when the heater is turned on, and allows coolant from the engine to enter the heater core. This warm air coming off of the engine is what provides you with heat to the...
How to Replace a Fog Light Switch on Most Cars
A fog light switch goes bad when the lights do not come or are dim or flickering. A blown fuse may also cause the fog light switch to fail.
How Long Does a Dome Light Bulb Last?
The The dome light bulb is located on the ceiling of your vehicle and is also called the courtesy light. It normally turns on and off when you enter and exit the vehicle. This automatic switch can be turned off...

Related questions

How do I use the express windows?

The express power windows make it easier for you to open or close your windows. To use the express power window feature, press the window switch all the way down, or pull the window switch all the way up, and...

Full power but no turn over when key is turned

Hey there, I believe you are correct. The most likely cause of this issue you are having would be the ignition switch. The ignition switch is responsible for sending power from the battery to the starter when you turn the...

drivers side power window will not go down on 1999 buick Century

Hello, thank you for writing in. The window motor may have failed, and replacing it is a good idea. If you have a voltmeter, you can test that the motor is receiving power when the switch is pressed to go...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com