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Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off (Top 7 Reasons)

Are you trying to figure out why your car brake lights won’t turn off? 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.

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How Do Brake Lights Work?

The brake system linked to your lights consists of various components, including the brake pedal, striker, brake light switch, lights, fuses, and wiring. Stepping on the brake pedal engages the brake light switch by breaking its contact, which in turn, lights up the brake lights.

This system ensures that your brake lights respond when the pedal is pressed, thanks to the circuit made by the wiring. The striker plays a crucial role in this process by disengaging the brake light switch as you lift your foot off the brake pedal, causing the brake lights to switch off. While this explanation of the brake light mechanism is simplified, any issues with the striker or the brake light switch can affect the functionality of your brake lights.

A useful hint: Continuous illumination of your brake lights when your car is parked can lead to battery drainage. It’s vital to address any brake light problems immediately to prevent your battery from draining.

7 Reasons Why Your Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off

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1)Faulty Brake Light Switch or Sensor

A prevalent issue causing car brake lights to fail to illuminate is a malfunctioning brake light switch. Within the braking system, various switches and sensors play a crucial role in signaling whether the brake pedal is engaged or not. You’ll find this vital component tucked away beneath the dashboard, right next to where the brake pedal is situated.

In instances where this switch or sensor malfunctions, it leads to a miscommunication, resulting in the brake lights not activating as they should. The brake pedal switch isn’t just crucial; it’s also adjustable and sits close to the brake pedal itself. Should your brake lights cease to function, the issue could stem from the switch being permanently engaged or outright failure of the component.

Addressing this issue generally involves the straightforward task of replacing the switch. This component is usually found directly behind the brake pedal.

2)Worn or Missing Striker

Numerous cars are equipped with a striker situated atop the brake pedal linkage. This part is responsible for turning off the brake light switch when you lift your foot from the brake pedal.

Sometimes, due to wear, damage or a shift in position, the striker can fail. Such failures can lead to the brake light switch not being turned off, causing the brake lights to remain on even when you’re not braking. If you observe any fragments on the floorboard of your vehicle, it could indicate that the striker has broken.

3)Having issues with a brake pedal that won’t budge can be alarming

If you’re finding that your brake pedal doesn’t spring back to its default position after you press it down, it’s likely you’re dealing with a sticky brake pedal situation. There might also be the possibility of corrosion or debris getting trapped between the pedal itself and the brake light switch. Neglecting this problem could not only continue the inconvenience but might also lead to further damage to your brake pads and rotors over time.

In many cases, this problem can be resolved by clearing out any obstructing debris or by manually working the pedal until it moves freely again. However, if these steps don’t remedy the issue, it’s advisable to take your vehicle in for professional maintenanc

4)Circuitry Problems

Brake lights failing to activate or deactivate might be due to issues with the wiring. Should your brake lights persistently refuse to work properly despite your efforts to fix them, wiring problems could be the culprit. It’s advisable to have a skilled technician from your nearest Brad’s Car Tunes examine your vehicle to confirm whether a wiring problem is affecting your brake lights.

5)Weak Brake Pedal Spring

The spring mechanism within your brake pedal is essential for ensuring the pedal returns to its initial position after use. Over time, this spring may lose its strength, leading to a spongier pedal feel and causing the brakes to remain partially engaged. This malfunction can keep your brake lights illuminated continuously.

Beyond this, constantly engaged brakes can lead to accelerated wear of your pads and rotors. It is crucial to have your brake system checked and serviced promptly if you notice that the brake pedal spring is failing to reset the pedal to its proper position.

6)Issues with the Electrical System

Electrical system issues in your car can lead to various complications, one puzzling problem being brake lights that refuse to switch off. It’s essential to exclude simpler causes before concluding it’s an electrical glitch. Should you believe your vehicle might be grappling with electrical troubles, Brad’s Car Tunes’ service center is ready to assist. Our skilled professionals are committed to diagnosing and ensuring your vehicle’s safety and reliability.

7)Wrong Light bulbs installed

It’s a situation that doesn’t occur often, yet it’s entirely possible, especially following the replacement of your vehicle’s tail or brake lights. Typically, these lights are powered by either single or dual-circuit bulbs.

Should you mistakenly fit a single-circuit bulb into a dual-circuit socket, you might inadvertently short-circuit the system. This can lead to your brake lights being unintentionally activated. To remedy this, inspect the socket to determine if it’s designed for one or two circuits. Then, compare this with the circuit type of your bulb. If there’s a mismatch, switching to the correct bulb type should solve the issue.

Get Brake Service and Repair

Experiencing issues with your brake lights? Whether they remain stubbornly lit or refuse to illuminate, consider this a sign to drop by your closest car maintenance center. Here, our seasoned mechanics stand ready to conduct a thorough brake check, offering you detailed diagnostics and suitable repair solutions to ensure your safe travel on the road.

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.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off (Top 7 Reasons)”

  1. The brake light switch, located on the brake pedal bracket, is the first place to check if all three brake lights are on. Occasionally, these switches are threaded, allowing for simple adjustments to turn off the lights.


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