How to Replace a Brake Light Switch

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What You'll Need
Set of basic wrenches
Replacement brake light switch

The brake light switch of your vehicle is actually a relay switch. When the brake pedal is pressed, the switch signals the brake light to turn on. It is a fairly simple switch that is powered by a single electrical cable. The brake light switch can fail over time and, when that occurs, the brake lights will not switch on. Without the brake lights you can easily cause an accident. You may also find yourself getting ticketed and having to pay fines. Always check the brake light bulbs first for damage because if they are broken it will mimic a bad switch. If the bulbs on the car are fine then the brake light switch is most likely to blame. Replacing the brake light switch is cheap and easy to do. The following article will show you how to do it.

Step 1 - Find the Brake Light Switch

The brake light switch is often found in the same location on all vehicles. You will need to open the driver’s side door all of the way and remove the mat if present. Get down on your knees in order to properly reach it. A headlamp is also a good idea as it can be dark under the dashboard area and it also allows you to have both hands free. Reach under the dashboard where the brake pedal is and feel around until you locate where the brake pedal connects. This is where the brake light switch is located.

Step 2 - Access the Brake Light Switch

There is a cover under the dashboard that covers the switch. It will be attached with several screws which are usually Phillips-head. It is a good idea to use a power screwdriver that can be angled. Use the screwdriver and remove each of the screws found on the cover. Place the screws off to the side and then snap the cover off.

Step 3 - Remove the Brake Light Switch

Under the first cover is another that covers the brake light switch. This particular cover is attached with bolts. The actual number of bolts varies by model of vehicle. Use the socket wrench to remove each bolt. Place them off to the side with the screws. You can now remove the brake light switch covers and see the actual switch. Disconnect the connector on the switch by sliding it off the contact. This supplies the switch with power.

Step 4 - Replace the Brake Light Switch

The new brake light switch is very easy to install. Connect the power cable you removed in Step 3 to the new switch. Make sure it is pushed all the way on the new switch. Put the switch back under the dashboard with the plate cover. Hold it in place with one hand as you replace the bolts you removed previously. The cover you removed in Step 1 can now be replaced. Snap the cover on over the brake light switch and then replace the screws you removed. Test to see if brake lights now work.