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HomeTips & GuidesBrake Light Socket: Should It Be Blamed For The Brake Light Failure

Brake Light Socket: Should It Be Blamed For The Brake Light Failure

About the Brake Light Socket, If you fail to check that your brake lights are fully operational, you might be driving around with faulty brake lights. 

Sometimes, it could be that your lights are always on or they function unreliably. Despite the problem, driving a car with faulty brake lights is unsafe.

Before you panic and rush your car to the mechanic, it’s best to find out what’s wrong with your brake lights. 

You might find that the problem isn’t so complicated, and you can fix it yourself, especially when there is something wrong with the brake light socket.

Read the article to troubleshoot any brake light issues.

Troubleshooting whether it is a problem with the brake lights socket

Brake light systems aren’t so complicated because on one end are the bulbs in their respective brake light socket connecting to the wiring harness

On the other end is your brake switch, where the brake pedal is pressed, creating contact to complete the circuit.

To troubleshoot your brake lights, you should focus on all the components that might interfere with the entire circuit.

Check the Condition of the Bulbs

It’s possible to access your brake lights by removing some screws on the lens or the trunk. If necessary, you can check your car’s manual for further details.

To remove the bulb, push it down and twist it counterclockwise about a quarter of a turn, then pull it out.

You’ll have to examine each bulb for any issues. If the bulb appears dark, the bulb has likely failed, and all you need to do is replace it. 

Also, confirm that the filaments are in good shape (not burned or broken). 

If you decide to replace it or them, it’s best to choose OEM products or ones with the same type and wattage as the OEM products. 

If you’re unsure what bulb you need to get, you can check your car’s manual. 

Also, you can run the faulty bulb to an auto repair shop to get a match for the new one.

Brake Light Bulbs

Brake Light Bulbs

Checking the Fuse

For this step, you’ll need to find the fuse. Find the stop lamp fuse if you know where the power distribution center or fuse panel is in your car. 

However, if you’re unsure where the fuses are, you can simply check your car’s manual.

Often, the fuse panel is under the dashboard, on the passenger or driver side, or under your hood.

You’ll need to remove the fuse panel lid and check for descriptions of every fuse to know the one you want. 

After finding the fuse, you’ll have to pull it out. Most cars have a fuse puller on the box panel. If not, you can use pliers to pull out the fuse. 

Today, fuses come in a clear, small plastic box with spade connectors on both ends. The fuse element is a narrow metal strip that connects both connectors.

Normally, you can determine if you have a blown fuse by observing the element through the plastic box. However, if you’re unsure, you can use a digital multimeter to confirm the fuse is okay if you’re not sure how to, follow the steps below.

  • Set the multimeter to a low setting or continuity in the Ohms scale.
  • Touch every fuse connector with the multimeter lead.
  • You’ll hear a beep if the fuse is okay (no resistance). However, no sound indicates the fuse is blown (infinity resistance).

If you have to change the fuse, ensure the replacement is of the same amperage. Check the fuse case for a label of the amperage. 

Furthermore, if you have a blown fuse, it’s a good idea to find the cause, as you might be dealing with a short circuit.

Checking the Brake Light Switch

If your fuse is okay, the next component to check is the brake light switch.

When checking your brake light switch, having your car’s manual close by is a good idea. 

The manual will have the brake light switch position, brake light circuit diagram, and identity of every connection and wire. 

This is important, especially if your switch communicates with other auxiliary devices such as traction control, transmission, cruise control, and BCM (body control module). 

  1. Find the switch in your car. Often, the switch is found towards the top of your brake pedal arm. Also, you might find it on the firewall in the engine compartment, around your brake master cylinder, or on the driver’s side. If your car has cruise control, it might have two brake light switches. However, you can always refer to the car’s manual if you’re unsure.
  2. Find the electric connector for the switch. 
  3. It’s advisable to check the switch with a test light.
  4. Connect your test light to a good round beneath the dashboard. If your switch connects to a module like BCM, it will actually provide the ground connection to the module. Therefore, you can connect the test light to a power source like the battery. If you have any doubts, refer to our car’s manual.
  5. If you have access to the switch connector, back probe the terminals at the connector without unplugging it. However, if you don’t have access, simply unplug the connector, use a short jumper wire to reconnect the terminals and probe the terminals.
  6. Press on the back pedal while back-probing the switch connector. If the test light turns on while probing only one terminal, it means there is something wrong with the switch. And you might need to adjust the brake light switch or replace it.
  7. If the test light fails to turn on, the ground or power side of the circuit, depending on your setup, has a short or open circuit. Refer to your manual to find the side of the circuit and find the problem. 
  8. If after the light turns on, you can proceed.
Fixing the Brake Light Switch Under the Hood

Fixing the Brake Light Switch Under the Hood

Checking the Turn Signal Switch

For some cars, the brake light circuit is part of the back section of the turn signal circuit. Therefore, you might need to check the turn signal switch.

  1. Check your car’s manual for the wiring diagram for the turn signal switch.
  2. Gain access to your turn signal switch electrical connector by removing the case on the steering column.
  3. Find the wire that goes from your brake light switch to the turn signal switch.
  4. Use a test light to back probe the brake switch at the signal switch connector.
  5. Depress your brake pedal.
  6. The test light should turn on unless there’s an open wire between the signal switch and the brake light switch.
  7. Then, back probe the terminals carrying current from the signal switch to the right and left turn signal lights. If the test light doesn’t turn on, your signal switch is faulty. If the test light turns on, check the connectors and wires going from the signal switch to your brake lights.

Check for the Switch Grounding

For models with the switch providing ground, if there’s nothing wrong with the brake light switch but the brake light bulb is not working, check for bad ground.

Using a jumper wire, connect the switch to a good ground and press on the brake pedal. If your brake light doesn’t work, try fixing the ground connection at the switch. 

Check the wire at both ends for a loose connection, corrosion, or damage. Also, if possible, try checking for continuity at both ends of the ground wire connecting to the switch.

Check for the Socket

If the above components seem fine, you can use a DMM (digital multimeter) to confirm the voltage at your socket.

Brake lights may use a common ground or sometimes a separate wire to ground each socket and bulb.

Ensure your multimeter is set to DC voltage, then hold down the tip of the red lead on a contact in the bulb and the black lead to a socket wall.

You might need some help with depressing the brake pedal. 

If voltage is present, you likely have a faulty light bulb. However, if voltage is absent, redo the test, but this time attach the black lead to the chassis ground (could be a bracket, bolt, or unpainted metal surface).

Replace the Brake Light Socket

If the brake repair issue is with your brake light socket, you might need to replace one or more. 

Connecting the wire to your brake lights might be simply unplugging the existing socket and replacing it with a new one. 

However, it might involve changing the wiring with the new socket. 

With the right tools one can disconnect the wires from your existing socket and directly connect them to our new socket. 

However, this is an intricate job and is normally not done in such a way. 

You’ll likely have to cut the wires leading to the existing socket and splice the new socket onto the existing wires.

Some brake work might involve the center brake light, which is normally mounted around the rear window. 

Instead of standard incandescent bulbs, often center brake lights use LED. 

They might have a plug for the new socket, or one might have to individually rewire every LED socket depending on your model and type of vehicle.

Also, if you connect the sockets and bulbs correctly to the wiring harness, it should take care of the ground. 

The last step to assist in maintaining the lights is applying dielectric grease to your sockets where the bulbs plugin. The grease helps prevent corrosion and seal out moisture.

Conclusion

All in all, it’s essential to find out the exact problem before you jump into purchasing repair parts. 

Buy a new brake light socket if the issue is with the brake light grounding. Also, if you need a plug-and-play socket/pigtail wiring harness, feel free to contact Cloom Tech.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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