Brake lights are an important safety feature on any vehicle. Not only do they help other drivers know when you are slowing down or stopping, but they also help prevent rear-end collisions. If your brake lights are not working, it is important to find the cause and fix the problem as soon as possible. There are a few common reasons why brake lights may not be functioning properly. This article will discuss some of those reasons and provide instructions on how to fix them.

brake lights not working - common reasons and how to fix

Faulty Brake Light Switch

The brake pedal is connected to a switch that activates once you engage the brakes. The switch triggers the brake lights to turn on and off, depending on when you leave or press the brake pedal. It is a constant battle between the switch and the brake pedal.

Sometimes, dirt or other contaminants get in the way and hamper the switch’s performance. Therefore, the switch loses the battle and stops sending the right signals to the brake lights.

Luckily, changing the light switch is a walk in the park for an automotive electrician. It is a straightforward process that requires no special equipment or expertise. The test to diagnose a faulty switch is quite simple too.

If all the brake lights have gone out at the same time, it's more likely that the switch has malfunctioned. In such cases, you have to go straight to an auto repair shop or learn how to change a brake light switch from the many YouTube videos online.

Burnt Out Bulb

A burnt-out bulb is, understandably, the most common reason behind a faulty brake light. After all, the light bulb goes through a lot in its lifetime. When you press the brake pedal, the light turns on, and it must turn off when you release it. A bulb's on-and-off cycle can wear it out over time, especially if it is a regular halogen. Most people have switched to LED bulbs that last longer and provide better illumination.

If this is the case, your solution is to simply replace the bulb. It is no secret that LED brake light bulbs last relatively longer than bulbs. If you drive an older vehicle that uses a bulb for the brake lights that are no longer turning on, you might want to consider replacing them to fix the issue. Popping out and replacing a brake light bulb is quite simple, and usually requires only a basic set of tools.

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Defective Brake Light Socket

The brake light socket is the component where the bulb is attached to produce light. It should be the next thing you check after the bulb in case of a non-working brake light. That's because light sockets can develop rust or dirt, and sometimes the wiring can play tricks.

So, suppose there is a lot of corrosion on the socket, and you see the brake light flicker intermittently. In that case, there is probably something wrong with the brake light socket.

Usually, it is easier to clean the socket and check its functionality. But if that doesn’t work, you have to either replace the socket or inspect the wiring for damage.

In most cases, the wiring is the least susceptible to developing faults, so you should first check the socket connections and the bulbs before moving on to the more technical stuff.

Blown Fuse

The bulbs, sockets, and switches of a brake light are all governed by a fuse. The small component controls the amount of electricity going into the brake lights. If the flow of electricity exceeds the recommended limit, the fuse absorbs the excess and ‘melts’ instead of transferring the damage to the components. The electricity going to the brake lights is cut; the only part affected is the fuse.

Luckily, replacing a blown fuse is not rocket science. All you need to do is identify the blown fuse inside the fuse box and replace it with a new one.

Why Are Brake Lights Not Working but Tail Lights Are?

The tail lights and brake lights take power from the same source, they use the same bulb, socket, and wiring. So, the reasons behind the brake lights not working while the tail lights are working could be due to:

v Bad light bulb

v Faulty wiring

v Blown fuse

v Malfunctioning socket

v Faulty turn signal switch

v Faulty brake light switch

Among the causes stated above, the most probable is a faulty brake light switch. That’s because the tail lights and brake lights are essentially the same, apart from one big difference – the brake switch.

The brake lights illuminate only when you press the brake pedal. So, if the taillights are working fine and only the brake light is not working, the brake light switch is the culprit. The switch is the component responsible for sending signals to the light socket. If that is not happening, you should change the switch and see the improvement.

Are there Different Bulbs for Taillights and Brake Lights?

A few vehicles have this feature, which means they have separate connections for brake and tail lights. However, such a thing is very rare and hardly found in popular vehicles. Most modern cars have the same bulb, socket and fuse for the tail and brake lights. You can click our guide: Tail Lights vs Brake Lights: Are They the Same Bulb to learn more information regarding this problem.

The only way to check if your vehicle is one of the unique ones is to go through the car’s user manual. This document has all the information about your car. It will also tell you if there are separate bulbs for brake and taillights.

You can also check online forums and learn more about your vehicle. But if none of the other resources provides an answer, you can visit the nearest mechanic and ask them to check your vehicle. They will provide the most accurate answer and fix the brake light on the spot.

Best Brake Light Bulbs to Buy

If you are looking for the best LED brake light bulbs in the market, you have come to the right place. These brake light bulbs by SuncentAuto should satisfy your desires.

Ø Torchbeam 3157 Brake Light BulbThis bulb is compatible with brake lights, but it can also be used for turn signals, taillights, parking lights and more. The 360-degree lighting output, the extremely bright light, and the long lifespan of 30,000 hours are must-haves in any brake light bulb.

Ø Sealight 3157 Brake Light BulbThis bulb is loved by many of our customers for its ultrabright light, long life, and 360-degree output. You can't go wrong with the 3157 red brake light bulb with its error and interference-free bulb technology.

Final Words

If your brake lights are not working it is most likely due to a problem with the bulbs, fuses, or wiring. However, there are a few other less common reasons why your brake lights may not be functioning. If you still have problems diagnosing and repairing the brake lights, be sure to take your car to a mechanic.