Why Your Brake Lights Stay on When Car Is on (Easy Fix)

A faulty brake light is typically the culprit behind why your lights won’t turn off. Your brake pedal could also be stuck, or you could be experiencing electrical issues.

You can also check if your bulbs have blown or if the brake pedal bumper has deteriorated.

Here are some of the reasons for brake lights that stay on and how to fix them.

Why Your Brake Lights Stay on When Car Is on

Why Do Brake Lights Stay on When Car Is On?

Here are the top reasons why your brake lights won’t turn off.

The Brake Light Sensor or Switch Is Malfunctioning

Your brake light switch is attached under the dash close to the brake pedal. If you notice that your brake lights stay on, it could be because there’s a shortage in the electrical circuitry of your brake light switch.

Your Brake Pedal Is Stuck

If you push the brake pedal down and it doesn’t come back up at all, or it only comes up partially, it can cause your brake lights to stay on while driving.

Sometimes it gets stuck, and you can tap it a few times to get it to come back up, and other times it won’t budge. It can damage the rotor and brake pads if you don’t correct the issue promptly.

Malfunctioning Electrical System

You can have multiple problems if your electrical system is faulty. It may be due to wire shortages, old sockets, and any place in the electrical panel where there’s a disconnect or signals are misfiring.

It’s best to have a professional mechanic look over your car if you think this is the issue, especially if you don’t have any experience.

Blown Bulbs

If your bulbs have blown, it seems counterintuitive to think it would make the brake lights stay on, but it’s true.

When your bulbs get burnt out, it can cause the light not to turn on indefinitely or stay stuck on because of a circuit error.

Deteriorated Brake Pedal Bumper

If your brake pedal bumper deteriorates, it’ll signal your brake light switch to activate. The pedal bumper sits atop the pedal assembly.

If it’s missing, it can also have the same effect. In this case, it’s not too expensive to replace.

Why Your Brake Lights Stay on When Car Is on

How Do You Fix a Brake Light That Won’t Turn Off?

These are simple ways that you can get your brake light to turn off if they’re stuck on:

Replace the Brake Light Switch

If the brake light switch is defective, you’ll have to replace it immediately because this small part completes the circuit in the electrical system.

You should make sure that the car battery is detached before you start and that you wear a protective eye covering.

The pigtail harness should be put safely to the side before removing the brake light switch. Check it for defects beforehand, as that’s likely the culprit.

Don’t misplace the mounting hardware because it’s integral to installing your new light switch.

Some cars have a compartment that allows you to snap the switch in and out of place easily, so some of the instructions depend on the make and model of your car.

Check for Debris Under the Pedal

The braking systems can be susceptible to corrosion or debris. When it comes to debris events, a minimal amount can cause difficulty.

Take a second and check your brake lights, lines in between, and pedal to ensure that nothing has been affected by corrosion, dirt, leaves, or any other contaminants.

If you find that your efforts fail to fix the problem, then it may be better to enlist the help of professionals to diagnose the problem.

Replace Old Sockets or Wiring

Faulty wiring can cause several problems for brake sockets. It can result in intermittent connections and brake lights that remain stuck. To keep the lights from sticking, be sure to clean out your brake sockets.

If cleaning the brake sockets is no longer viable, replace them by cutting the old wires and intertwining them on new sockets.

Luckily these parts are usually inexpensive and easy to install.

Replace Your Bulbs

Of course, if you come across blown light bulbs, you can attempt to fix them yourself, or you could take your vehicle to a professional to ensure that you don’t accidentally mess up the wiring.

On another note, if you own an older-model vehicle, you will likely have to replace your bulbs more often. This mostly has to do with the fact that older models still have traditional bulbs, not newer LED lights.

Replace the Brake Pedal Bumper

To examine whether the brake pedal bumper is the reason your brake lights are stuck, observe the floorboard underneath the pedals for yellowish or bluish rubber crumbles.

Any signs of crumbs indicate that there’s a deteriorated bumper as a result of age and heat which means it’s the reason for the problem as well.

As soon as you can, replace your missing bumpers with new ones so that you can close out the brake circuit.

What Do You Do When Your Brake Lights Stay On?

When you notice that your brake lights are stuck while driving, you want to check for all the most common problems first. It’s a hazard to drive with your lights on, as it confuses other drivers.

If it’s not a serious issue, try to get it fixed and replace any defective parts right away.

If it costs a bit more, try to avoid driving the vehicle until the problem gets resolved.

How Long Can You Drive With Your Brake Light On?

Several variables factor into how long brake pads can last after the warning light activates. However, you can generally expect efficient braking for up to 1000 miles (1600 km).

Is It Illegal To Drive With Brake Lights Stuck On?

The law mandates that at least one of your brake lights must work.

Drivers may be unaware that one or both of their brake lights are out, and this can lead to potential car wrecks.

Some police officers are known to give warnings for this infraction, depending on the circumstances.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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