Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off (Top 5 Reasons)

Are you scratching your head, trying to figure out why your car brake lights won’t turn off? If so, then you’re not alone! Many drivers have experienced this annoying problem – and it can be quite irritating when they don’t get any answers.

But the good news is that there are actually a few common causes behind this issue, and once you know what these are (or if one of them applies to your situation) then resolving it becomes much easier.

How Do Brake Lights Work?

When you press down on the brake pedal, it releases contact with the brake light switch, triggering your lights to shine brightly. This switch communicates with the lights via the wiring components, alerting drivers behind you that you’re slowing down or stopping. It’s a simple concept, but if the striker or brake light switch is damaged, it could lead to problems with your brake lights. For example, if your brake lights stay on when your car is stopped, it can quickly drain your battery.

Why Your Car Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off?

If your car’s brake lights won’t turn off, it could be due to a faulty brake light switch or sensor, a defective brake pedal spring, a stuck brake pedal, incorrect light bulb installation, or a malfunctioning electrical system.

Faulty Brake Light Switch or Sensor

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Brake-Lights-Won’t-Turn-Off (1)

This small but vital component is responsible for detecting when you step on the brake pedal and activating your vehicle’s brake lights accordingly. If the switch fails, your lights may stay on all the time or refuse to come on at all – both of which can be dangerous while driving.

There are several possible reasons why your car’s brake lights stay on even when you’re not pressing the brake pedal. Here are five common reasons that could cause the brake lights to stay on:

Defective Brake Pedal Spring

The spring is designed to allow the pedal to return to its original position once you have released it, but as it ages it can become weak. This causes the pedal to not return fully to its natural position, thus keeping the brake lights on. This issue not only poses a safety hazard, but it can also cause additional wear and tear on your brake pads and rotors if left unchecked.

Stuck Brake Pedal

Unfortunately, this is a worse-case scenario because the issue could be a defective pedal itself. When you push the brake pedal down, it should return to its original position. If it doesn’t, the switch won’t close and the lights won’t turn off. This means that your brake lights will appear as if you’re always braking, which can not only be a nuisance but potentially dangerous too.

Incorrect Light Bulb Installation

It might sound unlikely, but it can occur if you’ve recently replaced your tail or brake lights. Two different light bulbs cater to either one or two circuits. If you install a light bulb meant for one circuit in a socket for two circuits, it can short the circuit, causing the brake lights to stay on.

Make sure to check the socket and light bulb to ensure they are the correct type and replace any wrong bulbs to solve this problem.

Malfunctioning Electrical System

When there is a defect in your vehicle’s electrical system, it can affect various crucial components, including the brake lights. The impact could cause the lights to stay on, prevent them from illuminating, or worse still, cause them to work intermittently. The electrical system is complex, and it should only be investigated once all other causes have been ruled out.

How To Fix Brake Lights That Won’t Turn Off

If you’re experiencing an issue with your brake lights staying on even when your car is not in use, there are a few steps you can take to try and resolve the problem. One possible solution is shown in the brief 1 minute and 30 second video below.

What Should I Do If My Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off?

If your brake lights remain illuminated after releasing the pedal, there could be several causes that need to be investigated further. You should start by checking the switch or sensor, spring, and light bulbs. If none of these appear to be the cause, then you may want to consider taking your vehicle to a professional mechanic for assistance in diagnosing and repairing the issue.


FAQs about Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off

Why wont my brake lights go off when my car is off?

The most common culprit is a sticky brake light switch. This switch is triggered by the pressure of your foot on the brake pedal, but if it becomes stuck closed, it will keep the brake lights illuminated even when the car is off.

To troubleshoot, try disconnecting the plug from the switch at the brake pedal. If the lights turn off, then voila – you’ve identified the issue. You’ll need a replacement switch to get your brake lights back to normal.

How much does it cost to fix brake lights that won t turn off?

According to industry experts, the price tag for a brake light switch replacement ranges from $77 to $95. This may include labor costs ranging from $40 to $50, with any necessary parts costing anywhere between $37 and $44.

Can bad brake pads cause brake lights to stay on?

If you’re wondering whether bad brake pads can cause your brake lights to stay on, the answer is yes. In fact, worn brake pads can cause a cascading effect of issues. Not only do they make your brake sensor wire touch the rotor and illuminate the brake light, but they also reduce the brake fluid level. This is because the caliper pistons need to stretch further to contact the rotor, which triggers the brake warning light.

Can a faulty alternator cause brake lights to stay on?

Yes, a faulty alternator can indeed cause your brake lights to remain illuminated. The reason for this is that a failing alternator has difficulty supplying enough power to other electrical components in the vehicle, including the brake light switch. This lack of power causes the switch to get stuck in the “on” position and prevents it from shutting off even when your foot leaves the pedal.

Can I drive my car with the brake lights on?

You should not drive your car with the brake lights on, as this can be a distraction to other drivers and potentially cause an accident. It’s important that you address this issue as soon as possible to prevent any potential accidents.

Why are my brake lights stuck on?

The most common cause of brake lights staying on is a faulty switch or sensor, a defective spring, the pedal being stuck, or a malfunctioning electrical system. You should investigate these issues further to find out which one applies to your situation and take corrective action.

Should I replace my brake light switch myself?

Replacing the brake light switch yourself is usually quite straightforward and can save you time and money compared to taking it into a mechanic. However, you should make sure you have the right parts and follow the instructions carefully to ensure that everything is installed correctly.



Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on brake lights won’t turn off!

In conclusion, if your brake lights won’t turn off, the culprit could be a faulty switch or sensor, spring, light bulb, or electrical system. You should investigate further to identify the exact cause and take corrective action as soon as possible. If you’re not comfortable handling this repair yourself, it may be best to take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for assistance.

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