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Brake Lights Not Working But Tail Lights Are – Why Are My Brake Lights Not Working? 

Brake Lights Not Working But Tail Lights Are

You have an aggravating issue when you drive. Your brake lights are not working but tail lights are. Your brake lights are very important lights as they do what the name states: they signify to other drivers that you are braking or stopping. So, when these lights are not illuminated, you run the risk of accident or collision. We have the causes and fixes you need right now! 

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Several Reasons Why Your Reasons Why Brake Lights Not Working but Tail Lights Are

OK- so what is up with the brake lights not working, but the tail lights are? We have some common causes for this issue. 

What is The Difference Between Tail Lights and Brake Lights?

In many vehicles, both the tail lights and the brake lights are located on the same globe. This means that both share the same external covering. But on the other hand, your vehicle may be unique and have separate globes. You engage your tail lights when the you turn on your headlights or when you activate your parking brake. Your brake lights come on, once you apply pressure to the brakes. On most vehicles, the tail lights are red- while your brake lights are a bit brighter and are a more luminous red than the tail lights. Your rear lights also house your back up lights, which are white in color.


Why Are My Brake Lights Not Working? 

Check out these common causes! 

Blown Out Light Blubs 

Did you know that vehicle brake light bulbs that are just burnt out, are the most general reason for malfunctioning brake lights?  In order to remedy this problem with blown bulbs being the cause, just take off the bulb’s fastens (or screws) that are located on the bulb’s lens. You may have to go through the trunk of your vehicle- to gain access to the bulbs, or learn how to gain access in your car owner’s manual. Then, push your light bulbs. Next, take the bulbs and be sure that you use a counterclockwise motion, so that you can remove them from the socket. If the bulbs look dark or the filaments are blown, then it’s time to replace the bulbs. Be sure that you choose new bulbs that are the same size as well as the same wattage. In lots of European cars, the same bulb can do the job of both the brake and tail lighting. But there may be double filaments- which allows one set still working while the other set gets burnt out. 


Perhaps A Bad Electrical Ground Is To Blame 

If you have a functional brake light switch, then you will have to check for a bad electrical ground. In lots of car models, there is a switch provided ground. This faulty electrical ground can be due to a loose connection to the wire. Another reason for a bad electrical ground, could be due to damage or corrosion of the wire ends. To remedy this issue, be sure that you connect the light switch to a good ground, by using a jumper cable or wire. Then press your vehicle’s brake pedal. If the brake lights come on, then you have successfully fixed your ground connection. If not, then it’s time to take your car to a mechanic so that the issue can be resolved. 


Light Switch And Fuse Box Can Be To Blame 

Find your vehicle’s fuse box or the PDC which stands for the power distribution center. You will see the fuse panel located under the dashboard while the PDC should be located right under the vehicle’s hood. The brake light switch can also be found if you look under the dashboard. Next, you want to check and see if the plunger is touching the brake pedal arm. For any issues with your vehicle’s light switch and fuse box there will be an issue with your vehicle’s brake lights. For a fuse that’s blown, swap it out for a new one. Keep in mind that a new one has to have the same amperage that the old one had. Take the time to find the cause of the blown fuse. If you don’t, you’ll have a recurring issue.


Do You Have a Damaged Tail Switch? 

The brake light circuit may be a part of your vehicle’s turn signal circuit. This is the case for many vehicle models. The brake lights will not come on or respond if the switch is bad or damaged in any way. So, you want to look at the switch and check the wiring diagram. Then, look for the single wire that establishes a connection between the turn signal switches and the brake light and. Next, locate the electrical connector. Then be sure that you carefully activate the brake light switch by taking your foot and depressing the vehicle’s brake pedal. Then probe the wire with a test light. If the test light doesn’t come on, then it’s time to change this wire.


Check For Issues With the Wiring 

If everything we have mentioned above is working well, then you may have an issue with the wiring located in the fuse panel- that leads to the break light switch.  The wiring from the fuse panel that connects to the brake light switch and to the bulb lights as well as sockets could be frayed or loose. The connection coupled with the bulb housing may be damaged and corroded.  


What Will it Cost Me To Get my Brake Lights Fixed? 

OK- So, now you have a handle on possible causes as to why your brake lights are not working but the tail lights are. So, how much will it cost to get those brake lights fixed? We break it down for you below: 

What Should I Expect? 

Now is the time to take your car to an accredited and certified mechanic. You may even find one that may come to your home, or location. That mechanic will hear you discuss the issue and then test the brake lights as well as tail lights. She or he will check to see what works and what doesn’t. She or he will also take the time to inspect any wiring issues that you have. 

What Will The Mechanic Check For? 

The mechanic will first see if there is an electrical issue that is causing your brake lights not to work. If the issue is electrical, the mechanic may determine exactly where there is a lack of electricity by using a volt meter. 

How Important Is This Brake Light Service?

You are certainly not going to damage your vehicle by driving it with malfunctioning brake lights. But it IS unsafe for you to drive without brake lights that aren’t functioning properly. Think about it. How will the drivers behind you know when you are braking? You are really putting yourself at risk with malfunctioning brake lights. You also run the risk of getting a ticket. In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to have brake lights that are not working. So, you could rack up some serious fines and tickets, due to driving with burnt out brake lights. 

What is the Cost of Getting This Issue Fixed? 

If you cannot figure out how to replace your brake light bulb and you just need a replacement of a regular bulb that is out, then you’re looking at a relatively inexpensive problem. Sometimes, we can become so busy and flustered with life that just finding where to replace a bulb on our car, can be a bit difficult. So, take your car to a mechanic and allow him or her to replace the brake bulb. Replacing one brake or tail light bulb will cost around $50 dollars- with labor included. You may find someone who will do it cheaper if it is an easy replacement.  If you are looking an electrical issue, then you may be looking at a repair that may cost you a few hundred dollars. You want to get a complete and thorough diagnosis of the issue. 

What Are Causes Of The Third Brake Light Not Working? 

That third working third brake light, has the technical term of “center high-mounted stop lamp” and you will find this third brake light on lots of SUVs, trucks and vehicles. It is designed to help avoid rear-end collisions. This “center high-mounted stop lamp” is a great way for drivers to see that you are stopping. So, if the light fails to work, then it could be bad or burnt out bulbs. 


But due to the location of this third light, there may be another reason that the light is not working. There is the possibility that some water or moisture has leaked inside of this third brake light assembly or connector, and has caused it to short or corrosion. If this is the issue, not only will the bulb/or bulbs have to be replaced, but the entire light assembly may have to be resealed. If a separate gasket or seal exists that has leaked, then it will need to be replaced. The connector should also be evaluated and checked for any possible corrosion too. To replace or fix that third center light that is mounted on your vehicle, might cost you between $150 and $350, parts and labor included. Of course, the final price will depend on what the problem is and the work involved to remedy the third brake light. 


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