Sep 25 , 2019

What Is a Brake Light Switch and When Should You Replace It?

The brake light switch on your vehicle serves an important safety function. When you press the brake pedal, it supplies power to the signal lights at the back of your vehicle to warn other drivers you have slowed.

Where is a Brake Light Switch Located?

As part of the brake-pedal assembly, you can find this switch under the dashboard or on the firewall near the top of the pedal lever. Replacing one is easy.

What should I do when the brake warning light comes on?

Once driven by hydraulic pressure in the brake line (a system prone to failure), vehicle manufacturers transitioned to the more reliable mechanical brake light switch by the end of the 1960s. Now, it is rare for a switch to fail. Current designs employ a relay, allowing a lower-voltage control circuit to operate the main power supply switch for the brake lights. This configuration creates a reliable switching mechanism with a long lifespan.

Here are 14 ways to get your car ready for winter.

How Do You Know if Your Brake Light Switch is Bad? Diagnosing the Problem

You won’t get much warning before a brake light switch fails, possibly some flickering or inconsistency in light stability. Most likely, the brake lights just stop working.

Chances are, someone else has alerted you to the issue. Check for yourself at night. Looking through your side mirror. Light intensity should increase behind the vehicle as you engage the brake. Alternatively, you can back up to a wall or garage door, put the car in park and watch through the rear-view mirror as you engage the brake. Or fashion a device like this that will apply pressure on the brake pedal.

Learn 10 easy DIY car upgrades.

Broken Brake Light?

Identify a faulty brake light switch through a process of elimination. Check the light bulbs for cracks or broken filaments. Make sure the bulbs and wiring harnesses are connected and seated tightly. Did both lights fail at the same time? If so, a bad switch is more likely.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Brake Light Switch?

A replacement brake light switch generally costs around $30 to $75, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Getting a brake light switch fixed at a shop will add typically $80 to the repair.

Yes, you can change your own brake fluid. Here’s how.

Learn the things you should never do to your car in the video below.

Family Handyman10 Things You Should Never Do To Your Car
If your goal is to keep your car in great shape, don’t even consider doing any of these things or you’ll regret it.
See the 105 Super-Simple Car Repairs You Don't Need to Go to the Shop For
1 / 105

Related Posts

How The Coronavirus Will Impact Handyman Businesses And What to Do About It
Updated: 4/27/20 Everyone has Coronavirus on their mind, and rightly so. This could be the most important event in ou...
Read More
Save Time and Money During Tax Time With This One Simple Tip
Filing your taxes can either be a huge pain in the ass or just a small pain in the ass, depending on how organized yo...
Read More
Here’s How Much You’ll Save In Taxes With an S Corp (Hint: It’s a LOT)
One of my favorite things about having a business is that making small changes can lead to big jumps in profit. In th...
Read More