Why Do My Brake Lights Stay On: 5 Reasons And 7 Solutions

One of the most questions from car owners is “why do my brake lights stay on all the time”. There can be several reasons, we will share the top five ones here and also some solutions.

One of the main reasons your brake lights stay on can be a faulty brake light switch that got stuck. The faulty brake light sensor can be another possible cause of your brake light malfunctioning. 

A malfunctioning brake pedal or any shorts in the electric circuit can also cause the brake light to stay on. Brake lights are one of the main components of a vehicle. They turn on when you press the brakes to alert the driver behind you that you are slowing down or stopping so that they can adjust their speed accordingly. 

Driving with a faulty brake light can be very dangerous, so it is essential to fix this problem as soon as it arises. Read on below to find the main reasons behind brake lights staying on and what you can do to fix them.


Why Do My Brake Lights Stay On


5 Reasons Why Your Brake Lights Stay On

#1 A Malfunctioning Brake Light Sensor And Switch

This is the most important and common reason why brake lights always stay on. A faulty brake light sensor or switch, that is responsible for turning the brake lights on when you press the brake pedal, can malfunction and signal brake lights to always stay on. 

If you have a faulty brake light switch, it can result in brake lights not turning on or the brakes not working. You can find the brake light switch right under your dashboard, close to the brake pedal. If your brake lights are staying on, the switch must send the wrong signals to the lights.

#2 Damage To The Striker

A striker in a vehicle is responsible for switching off the brake lights once you stop applying the brake. Removing your foot from the brakes should disengage the striker from the brake light switch, resulting in the lights turning off. A worn-out or damaged striker also results in the brakes lights of a vehicle staying on.

#3 Defect In The Brake Pedal

When you press or release the brake pedal on your vehicle, you notice its motion. It shifts downward while you press it and returns to its place once you release it. This mechanism happens due to spring, and with time this spring can get damaged and not function properly. 

Because of a damaged spring, the brake pedal doesn’t return to its spot, which can signal the brake lights to stay on. Not only that, but a faulty brake pedal spring can also result in brake pads wearing out faster.

#4 A Wrong Set Of Bulbs

Another reason your brake lights stay on would be using the wrong set of bulbs in your brake lights. If the problem of the brake lights always staying on starts after you have had some work done on your vehicle, like getting your tail or brake lights changed, then it might be due to using the wrong set of bulbs.

Brake lights are of two types, single filament, and double filament. If your vehicle supports dual filament brake lights and you replaced it with a single filament bulb, then the chances are that the bulb shorted the two circuits, and thus brake lights remain on.


Why Do My Brake Lights Stay On


#5 Fault In The Electric Circuit Responsible For Brake Lights

It is probably the most troublesome reason behind your brake lights staying on. Faulty wiring can also be why your brake lights do not work correctly. A vehicle with shorts in the electric circuitry can have brake lights staying on or not working.

Any issue in the electric circuitry of your vehicle is not an easy problem to fix. Before looking for issues with the wiring inside your vehicle, make sure that you have ruled out the other reasons for your brake lights to malfunction.

Now that we have all the reasons for a brake light to stay on let us look at the possible solutions to fix the issue.

7 Solutions To Fix Brake Lights That Stay On

Before trying out any of these solutions to fix the brake lights that stay on, disconnect the vehicle’s battery to avoid getting shocks or damaging any parts.

Also, a brake light that stays on constantly drains the vehicle’s battery fast, and to avoid this consider unplugging the battery as a temporary solution. At the same time, you figure out the real reason for the brake lights to stay on.

#1 Check The Brake Light Switch

A brake light switch is under the dashboard and near the brake pedal. It is responsible for turning the brake light on and off when it engages and disengages. Check the brake light switch on your car to see whether it is functioning. 

Check the switch to ensure that it is depressing to its full extent. If it is not, consider replacing it as it is the main reason your brake lights stay on. Try to set the switch correctly if you find that it is stuck even when the brake pedal is released.

#2 Check The Brake Light Bulbs

If your brake lights stay on, you should check the brake light bulbs. A burnt-out or wrong bulb can also cause the brake lights to malfunction, and the lights will not work or stay on always. 

Most vehicles support a two filament bulb for the brake lights, and if you have replaced the bulb with a single filament, then the bulb will short two circuits, which can cause the brake light to stay on. Check whether the bulb you are using is a single or double filament, and replace it with the correct one.


Why Do My Brake Lights Stay On


#3 Check The Brake Pedals

A brake pedal is responsible for applying brakes that switch on the brake lights. Any problem with any component of the brake pedal can result in brake lights malfunctioning. Check the brake pedal stopper and ensure it is intact and works properly.

The brake pedal spring is responsible for the pressing and releasing motion of the brake pedal. If the spring has worn out and is not working properly, then the brake does not revert to its position, and that can keep the brakes engaged, which signals the brake lights to remain on. Replace the brake springs if they are worn out.

Check the brake pedal striker. If it is broken or worn out, replace it to fix the issue of malfunctioning brake lights.

Check for dirt in the brake pedal. First, dust inside the brake pedal can cause it to get stuck, keeping the brake lights on. It is important to always clean your brake pedal and remove any dirt from them. 

Not cleaning the brake pedal at appropriate intervals can cause corrosion, resulting in malfunctioning brake lights. Clean your brake pedals and get your vehicle serviced at regular intervals to ensure every part is functioning properly. While cleaning brake pedals, clean and keep the brake socket corrosion-free.

#4 Check Brake Fluids

Check for brake fluid level in your vehicle. Insufficient brake fluids in the brakes can also result in the malfunctioning of the brake lights and brakes. It is essential to keep the brake fluid levels sufficient for all the brake functions to work correctly. 

Check the brake fluid tank on the vehicle. There are the minimum and maximum indicators. If the brake fluid is below the minimum mark, empty the reservoir and fill it with new brake fluid.

#5 Check The Electric Circuitry

If you have tried everything else and the brake lights are still not working, then only you should resort to checking the electric circuitry for any faults. It is one of the most complicated solutions for fixing your brake lights. If there is a problem in the electric circuitry responsible for the brake lights, then the brake lights can stay on.

Follow the instruction manual that comes with your vehicle to check for faults in the wiring. However, if you do not know about automobiles, it is unlikely that you will find a solution. It is better to get your vehicle’s circuit checked by a professional mechanic.


Why Do My Brake Lights Stay On


#6 Disengaging The Parking Brake

An engaged parking brake can also cause your brake lights to stay on, and simply disengaging them will unstick the brake lights and turn them off.

#7 Get Your Car Checked At A Mechanic

Brakes are the most imperative part of your vehicle for safe driving, and you should not take chances with that. Having a stuck brake light is not just confusing for the drivers behind you, but it is also causing brake parts to wear quickly. 

Also, if the brakes are not repaired in time, it may leave you at risk if the brakes fail. When you have tried all the other solutions and the brake lights still stay on, getting your car checked at a mechanic should be your final step.


Driving with brake lights that stay on always is as dangerous as driving with brake lights that don’t turn on. A faulty brake light switch or sensor is the main culprit behind the brake lights malfunctioning in most cases. 

Using a wrong set of brake lights, problems with brake pedals and any shorts in the electric circuitry are other possible reasons for a brake light to stay on constantly. 

Thank you for reading the article, we hope this answered some of the questions that you were searching for. You might also like to read the following articles: Do Brake Lights Work When Car Is Off and Why Does My Brake Light Fuse Keep Blowing

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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