Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off: Causes & Solutions

Suppose your brake lights won’t turn off even after you’ve taken your foot off the pedal. In that case, you’re probably already familiar with how annoying this can be. Not only is it illegal in many states for your brake lights to be illuminated when they shouldn’t be, but it also keeps other drivers from being able to tell when you’re braking or taking off. So if your brake lights are stuck ON, you must find out why and address the issue as soon as possible.

Fortunately, you can do a few different things to troubleshoot this issue and get your brakes working properly again. In this article, we’ll discuss what could be causing the problem and provide comprehensive advice for getting your brakes back up and running in no time!

Let’s get started.

Causes Why Your Brake Lights Won’t Turn Off

The most common cause of a brake light that won’t turn off is a faulty brake light switch. This switch is responsible for turning the brake light on when the brakes are applied and turning it off when the brakes are released. To fix the issue, you should replace the faulty switch with a new one.

Identifying and resolving the cause of why your brake lights won’t turn off can save you time and money in repairs down the line. Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes:

1. Faulty Brake Light Switch

One of the possible causes why your brake lights won’t turn off is a faulty brake light switch. This switch helps to control and regulate the lights when you apply the brakes. If it’s not working correctly, the electrical connection will be affected, and thus, the brake lights may stay on.

In order to identify if this is the cause of your issue, you’ll need to check out the switch itself. Start by checking that all of its wiring connections are properly connected, and none have come loose or become corroded.

2. Defective Brake Pedal Spring

The second cause of brake lights not turning off may be a defective brake pedal spring. The spring is responsible for returning the pedal to its resting position. If broken or otherwise faulty, the brakes may remain engaged even when they are not being used. This can lead to the brake lights staying on constantly. 

Replacing the spring should be relatively straightforward as long as you have access to the necessary tools and parts.

3. Stuck Brake Pedal

A stuck brake pedal is our third potential cause of brake lights not turning off. This is when the pedal gets stuck in place, stopping it from returning to its initial position and preventing it from disengaging the brakes. It can be caused by dirt or corrosion on the brake cable, as well as problems with the linkage connecting the pedal to the brakes.

If this is what’s happening, you’ll likely be able to tell just by pushing down on the pedal while your foot is off of it. If it doesn’t quickly move back up once you let go, then there’s a good chance that the brake pedal is sticking.

You can either try cleaning and lubricating the components yourself to fix this issue or take your car to a mechanic for repair.

4. Wiring Issues

Finally, wiring issues are also a common cause of brake lights that won’t turn off. This can be a tricky issue to diagnose, as it could be a variety of different things. It could be an issue with the wiring harness itself or a problem with one of the connections along the wiring path.

Suppose you’re not comfortable working on your vehicle’s electrical system. It may be best to take it to a certified mechanic for diagnosis and repair. They’ll have the experience and tools necessary to correctly identify the fault to solve this issue quickly and safely.

In some cases, faulty wiring can cause other issues besides the brake lights not turning off. A qualified technician can spot any related problems and ensure everything is running smoothly before returning your vehicle to service.

How To Fix Brake Lights That Won’t Turn Off

It can be incredibly frustrating when your brake lights won’t turn off. It’s important to take action and try to fix the issue promptly. Here are a few steps you can take to try and resolve this problem.

Step 1: First, check the fuse box for any blown fuses that could be causing the brake lights to remain on after you’ve stopped. If there are any broken fuses, replace them with new ones of the same size and amperage rating. 

Step 2: Next, inspect the wiring harness that connects your brake light switch to the fuse box and make sure it’s firmly connected and undamaged. 

Step 3: Look for discoloration or signs of the light switch being overheated in any way, such as melted wires. Also, check for any corrosion.

Step 4: If the wiring appears in good condition, try jiggling the brake light switch itself, as this may help reset it and cause it to turn off. Ensure the piston on the brake switch is working and that your brake pedal is properly returning to its original position.

If all else fails, you may have a defective switch that will need to be replaced. When replacing a brake light switch, ensure you use one that is compatible with your vehicle model and year.

When Should I Take My Car to a Mechanic?

If you tried the steps above and the problem persists even after replacing the brake light switch with a new one. In that case, it’s best to seek professional help from an experienced mechanic. He or she will be able to properly diagnose and repair any underlying issues preventing your brake lights from turning off correctly.

Surely this will mean spending a few bucks on the repair, but before stressing about it, you can take comfort in the fact that it’s usually not that costly. It’s often a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with a fixed device.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Brake Lights That Won’t Turn Off?

For example, the cost of a brake light switch typically falls between $30 and $75, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. If you take your car to a shop to get it fixed, you can expect to add an additional $80 to the bill. 

Sadly, there is no single answer to the cost of fixing brake lights that won’t turn off. However, in most cases, replacing the brake light switch will fix the issue. The cost of doing so typically falls between $30 and $75, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. If you take your car to a shop to get it fixed, you can expect to add an additional $80 to the bill. 

If the issue lies in the wiring, such as the light switch connector, the cost can range from $150-$400, depending on the complexity of the repair.

For those who wish to save some money and tackle the repair themselves, it’s fully doable to replace a brake light switch for most people. However, if the issue is more complex, such as wiring, the cost of tools and parts can quickly add up, and you might want to leave it to a professional.

What Happens If I Don’t Fix Brake Lights That Won’t Turn Off?

If one fails to fix brake lights that won’t turn off, they are putting themselves at risk of being pulled over by law enforcement. Furthermore, this means you could be subjected to a citation or, even worse, depending on the situation. 

The brake lights being stuck ON can distract other drivers and even cause an accident if the driver is unaware of the situation.

Additionally, failing to properly address brake lights that won’t turn off could drain the battery. Not many things are as frustrating as a dead battery when you’re in a hurry for work in the morning.

Overall, it is important to take the time to address brake lights that won’t turn off, as it is a safety hazard and can potentially lead to more costly repairs in the future.

How Do Brake Lights Work?

Brake lights are a crucial component of any vehicle. They alert the drivers behind you when you’re slowing down or stopping, helping to reduce the chances of an accident. But how do brake lights actually work?

When a car is on, electricity flows from the battery through wires to components like the brakes. When pressure is applied to the brake pedal, it pushes against a switch that breaks the circuit and stops the flow of electricity. This sends an electrical signal to the brake light bulb, turning it on and illuminating the rear of your car with red light.

The same mechanism works when you turn off your car. The break in the circuit is reversed, and current flows back through the wires, powering off all electrical components – including your brake light bulb. However, if there’s a problem with any of these elements, such as a wiring issue or faulty switch, your brake lights may not turn off properly.

In order to fix this issue, you’ll need to locate where exactly in the system there’s a problem and replace or repair it accordingly. It’s important to ensure everything is working correctly before returning to the road again. After all, your brake lights are one of those features that keep everyone safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Illegal to Drive With Brake Lights Stuck ON?

Yes, driving with brake lights stuck on is illegal as it can lead to confusion on the road. Depending on the state, this violation can result in a fine, points on your driver’s license or both. It is important to have brake lights that function properly to ensure your and other drivers’ safety on the road.

What Does It Mean If Your Brake Light Stays On?

If your brake light stays on, it usually indicates an issue with your vehicle’s electrical system or brake pedal assembly. This could be anything from a faulty brake switch, wiring issues, or a faulty brake pedal spring not assisting in returning the brake pedal enough. You’ll want to have your vehicle inspected.

Can You Drive If Your Brake Lights Don’t Work?

No, you should not drive if your brake lights are not working. It is illegal in most states and puts you and other drivers at risk. The driver is responsible for ensuring that their vehicle is roadworthy before they operate it. So always check your brake lights before driving to avoid a ticket or other risks.


In conclusion, brake lights that won’t turn off can be caused by many things, such as faulty switches, defective springs, stuck pedals, and wiring issues. Understanding how brake lights work is important to properly diagnose and repair the issue. 

In most cases, a quick check of the fuse box and a few simple repairs can have your brake lights working as intended. If these efforts prove unsuccessful, it’s important to seek professional help from an experienced auto mechanic who can diagnose and address more complex issues. These steps will ensure you can safely operate your vehicle with functioning brake lights.

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Rickard Cefalk

Rickard is the owner of and a dedicated and avid do-it-yourselfer who has always enjoyed working on his own vehicles since childhood. He now devotes his time to sharing his expert knowledge of car maintenance and other car-related information through his website.

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