Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Light Switch

brake light switch

The brake light switch is the electrical switch that is responsible for activating the brake lights. When the pedal is pressed, the brake light switch makes contact, and the the brake lights are illuminated. While the exact designs of brake switches can vary, they all serve the same purpose of activating the brake lights when the pedal is pressed. As the brake lights are what alerts the drivers behind you that you are slowing the vehicle, the brake lights and the switch that activates them become inherently important to vehicle safety. When the brake light switch does fail, usually the vehicle will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver that a problem has occurred.

Brake lights stay on

One of the symptoms commonly associated with a bad brake light switch are brake lights that stay on at all times. If the brake light switch shorts internally it may cause the brake lights to stay illuminated, even when the pedal is not being pressed. This will cause the brake lights to burn out sooner than they should, as well as create a parasitic drain on the battery.

Brake lights do not function

The other symptom commonly associated with a bad brake light switch are brake lights that do not function at all. If the switch fails, it will not be able to activate the lights when the pedal is pressed, and as a result the lights will not function.

Because brake lights are what alert the vehicle’s behind you that you are slowing, if there is any problem with the switch that activates them, the overall safety of the vehicle is compromised. For this reason, if you suspect that your vehicle’s brake light switch may be bad or failing, have the brake lights inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if you need a brake light switch replacement.

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

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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!

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.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.

Related questions

Q: After brake switch & assembly replacements, brake lights stay on

Hello. This sounds like you may have a short in the wiring that goes to the brake light switch. I would recommend having a qualified professional use a digital multimeter to test the brake switch circuit for excess resistance. If...

Q: How do I use the power windows?

Each of the four windows has a power window switch on the inside of the door. To roll down the window, press and hold down the button until the window is at the desired height. To roll up the window,...

Q: Ignition cylinder wobbly

Hi, if the ignition cylinder is able to move around I would suspect the wiring connection inside the steering column. This piece should only rotate and small movements over time can bend wires and cause shorts. I would have the...