McCullough NAPA Auto Care

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Serving Metro Atlanta Since 1969

Why are my brake lights not working?

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At some point, you may find yourself behind the wheel, puzzled by the reflection of your car in a storefront window or another vehicle’s reaction, realizing your brake lights are not working. Driving with bad brake lights is a safety hazard. The good news is that the common reasons brake lights don’t work can easily be fixed. 

Appreciating The Significance of Brake Lights

Brake lights are not just a legal requirement but a major safety feature. They communicate with other drivers on the road, significantly preventing rear-end collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for nearly 30% of all accidents on the road. Ensuring your brake lights are operational is a key step in car safety and maintenance. 

Reasons Why Your Brake Lights Don’t Work and How To Fix Them

Various issues, ranging from simple to complex, can lead to brake light malfunctions. Understanding these can help you resolve the brake light issues or know when to seek professional help.

Burnt Out Bulb

One of the most common issues you’ll encounter is a burnt-out bulb. Like all light bulbs, those in your brake lights have a finite lifespan. They’ll stop working when they burn out and must be replaced. Replacing a brake light bulb is a manageable DIY task. However, if you prefer professional help, McCullough NAPA Auto Care is local in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and happy to help.

Bad Brake Light Switch

The brake light switch activates the brake lights when you press the pedal. This switch is usually located near the brake pedal. If the brake light switch malfunctions, it disrupts the signal, and your brake lights won’t engage. This problem is a bit more technical and might require the diagnostic skills and tools available at McCullough NAPA Auto Care.

Blown Fuse

Fuses protect the car’s electrical system to prevent overloads. If your brake lights aren’t working, a blown fuse could be the culprit. While fuses are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace, locating and accessing the correct one might be confusing. Each vehicle model is different. If you feel certain that you know which fuse is blown, replacing the blown fuse on your own is doable. If you’re uncertain, our team will gladly help you. 

Bad Socket

Sometimes, the issue lies with the socket into which the brake light bulb is inserted. Corrosion, wear and tear, or wiring issues can all impair the socket’s effectiveness. The repair might involve cleaning away the corrosion or replacing the socket entirely. If you’re not confident in your auto repair skills, these are tasks best handled by a professional.

Schedule Service With McCullough NAPA Auto Care

If your brake lights are still not working after troubleshooting, it might be time for a professional inspection. McCullough NAPA Auto Care in Sandy Springs has been a family-owned auto repair shop since 1969. Our technicians are all ASE-certified and ready to help when you need it. We offer scheduled preventative maintenance plans to help ensure your vehicle remains healthy for a very long time. 

Contact our team today to get started.

FAQ About Why Brake Lights Aren't Working

Several issues can lead to brake lights malfunctioning, including burnt-out bulbs, a bad brake light switch, blown fuses, and faulty sockets. Wiring problems or issues within the brake light circuit can also be culprits.

Brake lights and tail lights are separate systems. If only the brake lights aren’t working, it’s likely due to a problem specific to them, such as a faulty brake light switch or a burnt-out bulb. The tail lights can still function correctly even if the brake lights are out.

The fix depends on the issue. Simple solutions can include replacing a burnt-out bulb or checking and replacing a blown fuse. Consulting a professional like McCullough NAPA Auto Care is recommended for more complex issues like a faulty brake light switch or wiring problems.

If both tail lights aren’t working, potential causes can be blown fuses, burnt-out bulbs, wiring issues, or a malfunctioning switch. It’s essential to troubleshoot each potential cause systematically to pinpoint the issue.

Signs of a bad brake light switch can include brake lights that stay on at all times, don’t come on at all, or only work intermittently. Other symptoms might include issues with the gear shifter or the cruise control not working properly.