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5 Common Causes and Diagnosis Why Brake Lights Not Working

Driving a car whose brake lights don’t work perfectly is not only inconvenient but also extremely dangerous and risky. Brake lights are basically a safety tool that aids the driver in knowing whether the car is perfect for a ride or not. They work in a simple manner. Whenever the brake lights are illuminated, it means that the car is slowing down or is about to stop in sometime. This is an indication of the other cars on the road, even when in the daylight. 

Brake lights ensure the safety of not only the people in the car but also help other drivers on the road avoid getting into car crashes and accidents. As a matter of fact, a lot of times, vehicle owner ends up getting a traffic ticket if their brake lights are not working perfectly.

In this article, we will walk you through some major reasons why the brake lights of your car may not be working:

Causes of Why Brake Lights Not Working?

Here are some major causes why the brake lights may end up being inefficient in performing their task: 

Bad Bulbs

One of the most common causes of car brakes not working is bad bulbs. Burnt-out bulbs don’t light up when the driver pulls the brakes. Bulbs that are used frequently get burned too soon, hence there is a need to replace them soonest possible. The bulbs give various signals before they go bad. For instance, if the brake light is way too bright or dim than usual, it may be a hint of the bad bulbs. At the same time, when the bulbs respond slowly and there is a warning light that keeps coming and going, hints are that you need to change the bulbs. 

Bad Brake Light Switch

The brake light switch is of great significance and it has to be well-working for the brake light to work efficiently. This switch is basically a tiny device connected to the peddle mechanism. It doesn’t only turn the lights on when the driver puts pressure on the brake pedal but also sends signals to the computer of the car regarding the brake application. 

Blown Fuse or Broken Fuse Box

The brake fuse blows and it leading to the broken fuse box, causing the brake lights to stop working. This happens when the wire elements get burnt or melt away. This is owing to a higher-than-usual level of electric current. To see if this is the reason for the brake light not working, you need to use a multimeter. It’s a cost-effective tool that’s extremely easy to use. 

Bad Electrical Ground

A bad electrical ground could also be a reason for the brake lights not working properly. This can easily be monitored from a multimeter. Once you connect it with the brake, the reading needs to be at zero ohms. If there is a reading that is more or less than this one, there is an indication of the damaged ground wire. If this happens, replace the wire immediately. 

Faulty Wiring

The car brake system comes with three types of wires including the ground wire, power wire, and light wire. Where the ground wire is black in color, the power wire is red while the light wire is white. If there is a fault in any of these wires, the brake lights won’t work optimally. Hence, there is a need to check the entire wiring system if you find something suspicious with the working of car brakes. 

Risk of Driving Broken Lights

A major reason why cars crash on highways and regular roads is the callousness of the drivers showcased in terms of the broken brake lights. They don’t consider the brake lights to be of some significance and continue driving despite the fault. This leads to irreparable losses later on. 

Here are some major risks associated with driving with broken lights:

High Chances of Accidents

With broken brake lights the chances of car accidents augment to greater level. As other drivers on the road are not able to view and determine your driving actions, this leads to collisions and serious crashes. 

Shifting Problems

This is one major consequence of broken brake lights. The shift lock override of the car turns on whenever the brake lights of the car go out. In such a situation, the shift lock overrides the brake system and ensures the car doesn’t shift in cases of mechanical danger. If this happens, the car’s transmission system messes up quite drastically, leading to further problems. 

Danger During Harsh Weather

During intense weather conditions, the broken brake lights become disastrous. In these times, it gets impossible for other car drivers on the road to determine the speed of your car and predict your next move. Extensive hailstorms and excessive rain make things dangerous when coupled with broken brake lights. 

How to Diagnose Malfunctioning Brake Lights?

Realizing that your brake lights are broken is not difficult. Rather, it’s pretty straightforward and you can do that yourself. Here is how you can do so:

Check the Bulb and Fuses

First things first, you need to check all the bulbs and fuses to make sure they work properly before heading out on the road. Pushing the brakes frequently may lead to the bulbs fusing and in such situations, the bulbs don’t work when needed. However, if you have the new aged brakes, you may see LED lights as the brake bulbs which don’t fuse too soon. Replace the bulbs and fuses if you inspect them and find them unworkable. 

Check the Bulb Sockets

A single brake light not working when its bulbs are good may signify broken bulb sockets. Corroded or dirty bulb sockets are one major reason of the brake lights not working efficiently and you need to repair them. Buy a new socket, which would come inexpensive, and switch the old one with it. 

Check Ground and Voltage

The voltage of the car brakes needs to be optimum in order to get the brakes to work properly. The optimum input supply of the voltage is around 6V to 16V. During the load dump, it goes as far as 45V. Using a multimeter, you can check the ground and voltage of the brakes before hitting the road. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs about Brake Lights)

– How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Brake Light?

Just like all Car accessories, the brake lights can be replaced easily and their cost would be varied. On average, you may have to pay from $100 to $200 to replace the brake lights.  

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Brake Light?

Replacing car brake lights is pretty easy. It may take you from around 45 minutes to an hour. 

– Can I Drive with No Brake Lights?

You can drive with no brake lights but it would be extremely dangerous. It would put your life at stake and would even affect others on the road as well. As the drivers on the road won’t be able to anticipate your speed and moves, it would put everyone at risk. 

Final Thoughts

Driving with broken brake lights is extremely dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. Whenever you see some changes in the way these lights work, make sure to get them repaired soonest possible from an Autostore for your own safety and security.