Whenever you step on the brake pedal, you're not just engaging your brakes, you're also activating a switch that lights up the brake lights at the rear of your vehicle and warns motorists behind you that you're slowing down. Not only that, your brake light switch is also responsible for disengaging your vehicle's cruise control system every time you depress the brake pedal. A damaged or defective brake light switch can spell disaster for you and your family. If you find nothing wrong with your brake light bulbs yet they refuse to light up when you press the brakes, you should replace your brake light switch right away. Fortunately, doing so is a job you can easily do yourself.
Difficulty level: Easy
Here's what you'll need:
- Wrench and socket set
- Phillips screwdriver
- Replacement brake light switch
- Vehicle owner manual
Step 1: Open the driver door of your car and locate the brake light switch underneath the dashboard, near the top of your brake pedal. Usually, the brake light switch is attached to a small bracket that holds it in position.
Step 2: Check if your brake light switch is out of position and if its electrical connection is securely attached. It's possible the switch could just be stuck in the "on" or "off" position.
Step 3: After verifying that the brake light switch itself is defective, use your Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws holding the electrical cover in place behind your brake pedal.
Step 4: Remove the electrical cover. Use your socket wrench to remove the bolts holding the brake light switch in place.
Step 5: Remove your brake light switch and disconnect all electrical attachments.
Step 6: Install your new brake light switch by plugging the electrical connector into it and using the same bolts you removed eariler to secure your brake light switch in place.
Step 7: Screw the eletrical cover back into place. Test your new brake light switch by pressing your brake pedal. If you're alone and have difficulty seeing your brake lights, turn the ignition key to the "ON" position, shift to reverse, engage the parking brake, then step out of your vehicle and come around back for a look.