page title icon Reasons Tail Lights Stay On When Car Is Off and How to Fix it!

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Do the tail lights stay on when the car is off? Read on to know all.

If you have the problem mentioned above, you can follow this guide to find possible causes and solutions. However, it is best to visit a qualified mechanic to fix the issue.

Brake lights or tail lights are important parts of your car. These lights work with the help of a switch that activates the tail lights when you press down on the brake pedal. Hence, brake lights serve as important warning signs to other cars that you have activated your brakes, due to which your car will soon slow down or come to a halt.

Why Tail Lights Stay On and How to Fix it!

However, if these lights are not working properly, they cannot give timely warnings to other motorists. This can pose a risk to your safety and that of others.

Some of the most frequent causes of tail lights not switching off when your car is off included; low brake fluid levels, brake assembly issues, and circuit problems.

Here is how to remediate your tail lights if they stay on even when your car engine is switched off.

1. Inspect the Brake Light Switch for any Damage

Before you commence work on your automobile’s electrical system, make sure that you first disconnect the battery. You can avoid getting shocked through this safety measure.

You can do this by slipping the cable off and tucking it to one side of the battery. You should then find the negative terminal and have it disconnected. Using a socket or hand wrench, you can unfasten the nut that secures the ground cable to the battery.

It is strongly advised, that you put on eye protection when locating the brake pedal switch. You should remember to check the switch to make sure that it is working as intended.

2. Replace Blown Fuses

Use the driver’s manual to find out which fuse box has the blown fuse that needs to be replaced. Depending on your car model, you may have to take out the pieces of the interior trim to reach the fuse box. You may have to inspect the fuses to find out which one is activating the brake lights.

If you don’t have the service manual of your automobile, you can go to the manufacturer’s website to get further instructions.

3. Install Another Brake Light Switch

The brake light switch comprises a 2-way system close to the brake pedal. Often, it is marked. The brake light switch is what completes the circuit. Hence, if it is defective, it should be replaced.

First, disconnect the pigtail harness. Keep it in a safe place before you go about detaching the brake light switch.

You will also have to make sure that the brake switch is disconnected from the brake pedal linkage. Keep the mounting hardware in a safe place. If you accidentally damage the harness release, you can use some electrical tape for holding the pigtail harness in the right place.

4. Check to Ensure that the Pedal Bumper is Working Correctly

If the brake pedal bumper has deteriorated, then the brake light switch will be activated. The same will happen with a missing bumper. To confirm the reason why brake lights remain switched on, check out the floorboard below the pedals for rubber pieces.

If you find small pieces of rubber, this could be due to deterioration owing to heat and age. Whatever it is, you must confirm what is causing the problem. Put new bumpers in place of deteriorated bumpers so that the brake circuit can close.

5. Replace Bulbs that Have Burnt Out

Burnt-out bulbs are one of the most common reasons for brake light problems. Pumping the brakes while you are driving can eventually deteriorate the brake lights. Two things can possibly happen as a result of this. Either the brake lights won’t work or they will be stuck in the switched-on position.

If your car is an older model, then you can expect this problem to happen more often. This is because older cars have traditional bulbs that are more liable to deteriorate than LEDs.

6. Detach Your Car Battery

If the brake light is stuck in the on position, it will keep consuming battery power. A short-term fix for this issue is to detach the car battery while you are having this problem.

This short-term fix will switch off the brake lights temporarily and will prevent your battery from draining unnecessarily. Before disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery, check to see that the hood latch is not electric.

If the brake lights do not turn off even when the ignition is turned off, then you should check the brakes immediately.

7. Clean the Brake Pedal

The brake light could remain in the stuck position if the brake pedal is not closing the switch or if it is stuck. This can happen due to a bad rubber stopper or it could be from the debris that has collected between the pedal and the brake switch.

To avoid this from happening, you should make sure that the brake pedal is free of corrosion and dirt. Even if cleaning the brake pedal does not remediate this issue, then there is no option besides professional servicing.

8. Make Sure the Brake Pedal Pushes the Switch the Right Way

In certain cases, a brake light that won’t turn off is not due to an electrical fault. At times it happens that the switch or brake pedal is not correctly aligned. This can lead to the brake light remaining stuck.

An easy way to get around this is to check under the dashboard over the brake pedal. Follow the pedal arm till you find the switch. The stoplight switch should be aligned correctly with the arm and pushed to turn off the brake lights. If this is not the case, then have the brake switch adjusted so that the connection gets opened.

If you don’t find any success, then this could be due to a short in the brake wiring, a faulty switch, or a spring that is not working properly.

Bottom Line

If the tail lights stay on when the car is off, it is best to take your car to a professionally qualified person who can fix the problem.