How To Replace A Plunger-Style Brake Light Switch

12 May 2016
 Categories: , Blog


If the brake lights on your vehicle stop working, or the lights still work, but you can't change gears from park to drive, check the brake light switch. The brake light switch is a mechanism that activates the brake light.

Most vehicles use a plunger-style brake switch light, which presses a plunger in and out,You should be able to replace a plunger style brake light switch yourself to avoid accidents. Here are some tips to replace a brake light switch on a vehicle.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • goggles
  • closed-toed shoes
  • flashlight
  • basic wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • non-contact multimeter
  • replacement brake light switch,

Before you replace the brake switch light, check fuses. Look for the fuse box in the hood next to the battery or on the ceiling of the dashboard. In older vehicles, look for the fuse box to the left of the brake pedal.

Run the multimeter (voltage tester) on the fuse box to test for current.The multimeter will light if it detects a current. If no current is detected, replace the faulty fuse, and test the brake light switch again.

The brake light switch is located on the driver's side under the dashboard attached to a bracket where the pedals join. Kneel down, remove mats, and use a flashlight to find the brake light switch.

Remove the Old Brake Light Switch

A brake light switch commonly has two or four Phillips screws securing a cover. Remove the screws with the Philips screwdriver. If the vehicle has 10mm bolts, remove them with a socket wrench. Lift the cover off, and place screws or bolts in a small container.

You should see another cover under the one you just removed held in place by bolts. The brake light switch is under this cover. Disconnect the bolts with the socket wrench, and place them in the container. Unhook the cable to the brake switch, and twist the switch until it is loose.

Install the New Brake Light Switch

Place the new brake light switch in the bracket, and make certain the threaded end touches the brake pedal pad. You should not see the break plunger after threading the brake light switch. Reattach the cable and covers. Give the switch a 1/4 turn with a wrench to allow clearance between the brake pad and threaded end of the switch.

Test your new brake light switch by getting an assistant to stand behind the vehicle to watch the light. If the brake lights work, you fixed the problem. If the brakes fail, or you don't trust your skill, consult a mechanic in your area.