Here Is How To Fix a Brake Lamp Bulb Fault (Step by Step)

Brake Lamp Bulb Fault

The brake light is one of the most important lights on your vehicle. It is going to get used very frequently (if you are a safe driver), and it is very liable to breaking.

In fact, other than your headlights, your brake light runs the greatest chance of breaking. Thankfully, it tends to be a pretty easy problem to rectify. You may not even need to head to a mechanic.

On this page, we are going to tell you the most common causes of brake lights breaking, and how to fix the problem. 

How To Tell If Your Brake Light Is Failing 

Obviously, the biggest telltale sign that your brake light is failing is the fact that it just isn’t working. There is also a chance that the bulb will start to dim.

Unless there is a serious problem with your vehicle, it is not going to happen with all of the brake lights at once. Chances are, only a single set of them is going to go.

If all of the brake lights go at once, then you are probably going to want to take a trip to the mechanic. This is a pretty serious issue.

If you have a more modern vehicle, then there may also be an indicator on your vehicle that lets you know that your vehicle’s brake light is failing. This will pop up on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Get That Brake Light Replaced Immediately

The brake lights are, without a doubt, some of the most important lights on your vehicle. If your brake lights are failing, then it is dangerous.

Nobody is going to know when you are slowing down, and this can lead to some rather nasty accidents.

If your brake lights are broken, then you need to get off the road as soon as you can. You are going to need to replace those brake lights. Do not drive until you have managed to get them working again.

If you can’t fix the problem yourself, then you are going to need to call in a mechanic.

Remember, in many places, it is 100% illegal to knowingly drive with broken brake lights. You run a serious risk of getting a criminal charge against you if you continue to drive your vehicle. 

Replace The Brake Light Bulb

The first thing that you will need to do is check that brake light to ensure that it isn’t broken. Chances are that if only one bulb doesn’t appear to be working, then it is just a bulb that needs to be replaced.

If you pull out your vehicle’s manual (or access the manual online), then you should be able to find a guide on how to remove the brake light on your specific vehicle model.

In most cases, you need to do nothing more than unscrew the bulb housing, remove the old bulb, and slide the new one into place. It is going to take around 10-15 minutes to do.

However, before you go out there and buy a new bulb, it may be worth checking whether the bulb needs replacing in the first place.

To do this, you are going to need to access the bulb that isn’t working, unscrew it, and have a look at the bulb. If the bulb looks brown or smokey, then there is a good chance that it has blown.

Once you have confirmed that the bulb has blown, you can go out and pick a new one up. They aren’t too expensive.

Although, make sure that you purchase a like-for-like replacement for the bulb. If you do not, then it won’t fit in the slot.

Make sure that you always buy the highest quality brake light bulb that you can afford.

In most cases, this is going to fix the problem. 

BRAKE LAMP BULB FAULT: SOLVED – Changing Brake Light Bulb on 3rd Gen Ford Escape >> Check out the video below:

Replace The Fuses For The Brake Light

If the brake light doesn’t appear to have blown, or replacing the bulb doesn’t seem to have helped, then you can check the fuses for the brake light.

The location of the fuses can vary based upon your vehicle’s model so, once again, you are going to need to access your vehicle’s manual to find out exactly where the fuses are located.

You can probably tell whether the light fuse has blown by a cursory glance at it. Just like the bulbs, they may appear brown or smokey.

If the fuse is see-through, then you may notice that the filament inside is broken.

Once again, the replacement should be pretty easy to do. Automotive fuses tend to be fairly affordable, and you should have no issues finding stores that sell them. However, you will need to ensure that you get a like-for-like replacement here.

You can’t just go putting any old fuse in the brake light. It could blow and you will be back to square one. 

At this point, most issues with a brake lamp bulb should be fixed. Beyond this, you are starting to get into the realm of needing a mechanic to fix the problem for you.

There is one more thing that you can try, though. Beyond that, it is probably beyond your capabilities unless you know how to deal with vehicle wiring. 

Check The Battery On Your Vehicle

The last thing that you can do is check the battery on your vehicle. This is unlikely to be the problem.

Chances are that if the battery on your vehicle is failing, then there will be a ton of warning signs before you even notice the brake lights failing.

This includes warnings on your dashboard.

Still, a car battery that has started to drain or isn’t pumping out the right voltage may cause there to be less power to supply the brake lights. If there is not enough power in the vehicle, then the brake lights just won’t work.

However, it is much more likely that the vehicle will allocate power slightly differently, and the brake lights will always have enough power, no matter what your battery is doing.

Still, it may be worth checking that your battery is outputting the correct voltage. You can do this with a multimeter. If it isn’t, then you may need to charge the battery, or even change it.

Check The Wiring On Your Brake Lights

At this point, if you still can’t rectify the issue, then we suggest that you don’t attempt anything else. Instead, you are going to need to get in touch with a mechanic.

In some cases, there may be a problem with the wiring around your brake lights. There are a variety of things that can cause the wiring in your vehicle to short out. Although, it is going to be incredibly rare.

If you are comfortable dealing with wiring, then you can have a look at your vehicle’s brake lights wiring to ensure that there are no shortages. If there are, it isn’t going to be a particularly tough repair job.

You just need some new wire, a soldering iron, plus various wire cutters and wire stripping tools. However, as we said earlier, this isn’t really something that you are going to want to tackle if you do not have that much experience with electronics, you could end up making the problem a lot worse.

Contact a Mechanic

While it is highly likely that the bulb or the fuses for your brake lights are the problem, this isn’t the only thing that can cause your brake lights to short out.

There may be deeper problems with the braking system. Unfortunately, this is another problem that you cannot deal with yourself.

If you have followed the steps that we gave previously and there still seems to be a few issues with your brake lamp bulbs, then you are going to need to talk to a mechanic as soon as possible.

They will be able to carry out a few diagnostics on your vehicle to determine what the problem is.

In some cases, it may be because the brakes are not sending the proper signal to the brake lights, or there may be some serious wiring issues in the vehicle.

Most mechanics should be able to fix the problem. Although, of course, if your vehicle is still under warranty, then you may want to head to the dealer to get the problem dealt with instead. 


There are a variety of reasons why you may have a brake lamp bulb fault. However, most of the time it is going to be a problem with the bulbs or the fuses.

Both of these should be easy problems to deal with, and you should be able to swap out both without that much knowledge about vehicles.

If you still can’t get the brake lights to work, then you could have an issue with your vehicle. This isn’t something that you will be able to deal with alone, particularly with a modern vehicle.

You will need to reach out to a mechanic. 


Steve P.

Steve is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Riviera. Steve is based in Boise, Idaho.

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