Steps To Troubleshoot Your Brake Lights
Your brake lights help keep you safe when you are out on the road. They alert other drivers to when you are slowing down or when the flow of traffic changes dramatically. Having a brake light that is out is not only dangerous; you can even get a ticket if a police officer spots it.
There are lots of reasons other than a bad bulb for why your brake light might be out. Here are some troubleshooting steps to help you figure out what the problem is.
Check The Fuse
The first thing you should check is the fuse for your brake light. You will need to refer to your owners manual to figure out where the fuse box is located in your vehicle. Generally, the fuse box is located under the driver's side of the dashboard. Use your owner's manual to figure out which fuse belongs to the brake lights. Check the wires, if no wires are broken, frayed, or burned, then you just need to purchase a new fuse and your brake lights will be working again.
Check The Bulb And The Socket
The easiest thing to fix is a burned out bulb. You will probably need a screwdriver in order to remove the brake light lens. Once you remove the lens, check and see if the filament is broken. If it is, all you need to do is replace the bulb and reattach the brake light lens.
You should also check out the bulb socket at this time. If water has been able to leak in, the socket may be corroded. This would cause the bulb not to work correctly. In that case, you can try to clean off the corrosion, or you can replace the socket.
Check The Brake Light Switch
If those steps do not help you fix your problem, it is time to check the brake-light switch. This is located near the top of your brake pedal. You may need to position yourself down under your steering wheel and get out a flashlight to find this. There should be a square box connected to your brakes. Make sure all the wires are connected.
You can also use a multimeter to see if this connection is being made. You will need to set the multimeter to at least 15-volt range. Then you will need to place the probes on the wire. If it is connected properly and getting the power it needs, you should get a reading of around 12 volts. If you do not get a reading, you need to connect the wires again.
Generally, the light bulb or the fuse for your brake light is what needs replacing. However, your brake lights are connected to a larger system, and the problem could lie within the system, so it is always a good idea to check all the connections to figure out what the problem really is. If, after trying these fixes, you find that your brake light still doesn't work, don't hesitate to take your car to an auto repair shop.