Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off

Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off (9 Common Causes And Fixes)

Continuous illumination of the brake light can increase the power load on the car. Which in turn slowly damages the electrical components of the car. Thus, the brake light does not go off sometimes, even when the car is off.

So, why the brake light stays on when car is off? The common causes are 

  • Brake light switch failure
  • Faulty brake pedal system
  • Low brake fluid
  • Deteriorated stopper
  • Unmatched bulbs
  • Faulty fuse and electrical connection

Adjusting and replacing the damaged parts can solve the problem.

The brake light staying on is not a good sign as it can lead to failure in associated electrical connections. In order to fix the brake light, you can follow the below section, where a detailed discussion on the topic is included. Let’s go through it!

Table: Common Causes And Fixes For Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off

Common Causes And Fixes For Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off

Below, the common causes and fixes for brake lights on when the car is off are discussed. 

Causes Fixes 
Switch failure Replace the brake switch 
Unaligned brake switch Align the brake switch with the pedal
Faulty brake pedal spring Change the spring 
Stuck brake pedal Clean the pedal
Adjust the brake fluid level
Adjust the brake pedal in place
Faulty electrical connection Change the damaged wires
Change the sockets if necessary
Damaged striker Replace the striker
Insufficient brake fluid Add sufficient brake fluid in the master cylinder
Faulty fuse Replace the fuse with a new one
Unmatched bulbs Place the correct bulbs in the correct sockets

Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off: 9 Causes And How To Fix It?

Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off

To get a further detailed view of the causes mentioned above and solutions, follow the below section.

1. Switch Failure 

The brake switch regulates the brake light depending on whether the pedal is pressed or not. Switch failure would give a faulty indication to keep the brake light on even when the engine is not running.

This is the most common problem when the brake light malfunctions. The switch is located near the brake pedal arm and is easily replaceable. 

Brake Light Stays On When Car Is Off


Here’s how you can replace the brake light switch:

  1. Disconnect the battery
  2. Remove the panel from the steering column by unscrewing the bolts. Now, remove the pedal arm by pulling it
  3. The switch becomes visible and you can remove it
  4. Place a new brake light switch and reassemble the parts
  5. Lastly, place the panel and secure it

In order to solve any complication while changing the brake light switch, you can follow the below YouTube video.

2. Unaligned Brake Switch 

When the switch is not aligned with the pedal arm, the switch can get stuck. The brake light does not go off because the pressure is not released due to the unalignment. 


An unaligned brake switch can be fixed by assembling the switch along with the pedal arm. Tighten or loosen the switch and hook according to the need and align the parts.  

3. Faulty Brake Pedal Spring 

The brake pedal spring can become damaged or loose due to frequent use. As a result, it can get stuck in the place and not work at all. And it cannot press the switch as it is not able to move due to the spring. Thus, it keeps the brake light on till it is fixed.

Car Faulty Brake Pedal Spring


The spring is located in the pedal assembly system. Check the spring to see if it’s working fine. 

  1. First, check whether the brake arm is moving perfectly or not. If it’s working fine, there is no problem with the spring.
  2. If not, change the spring and place the new one through the holes. 
Read:  Why Does My Oil Light Come On When I Brake? 

4. Stuck Brake Pedal 

The brake pedal can stick if dirt accumulates between the switch and the pedal arm. Thus, the pedal remains pressed and stuck, causing the switch to keep the brake light on. 

Well, the brake pedal can also get stuck if the motor, rotor, and brake assembly parts are faulty. At the same time, the brake can get stuck further lower due to common functionality. 

Car Stuck Brake Pedal


Here’s how you can fix the stuck brake pedal:

  1. Clean the brake pedal and remove the dirt
  2. Adjust the brake pedal position
  3. Correct the brake fluid level

Here’s how you can adjust the brake pedal:

  1. Remove the brake light switch 
  2. Adjust the push rod where the height of the pedal should meet the manufacturer’s condition. Mostly, the pedal height is kept between 152-166 cm from floor
  3. Tighten the lock nut 
  4. Now, reassemble the parts

5. Faulty Electrical Connection 

Besides the brake pedal parts, the incorrect electrical connection can also prevent the brake light from turning off. 

If the connection is broken or damaged, fixing the wiring can solve the problem. 

Car Faulty Electrical Connection


Here are the possible measures that can solve the problem:

  1. Check the wires. If they are damaged, replace them.
  2. Check the socket to see if the wires are damaged or burnt. Afterward, change the sockets if required.

Here’s how you can change the socket:

  1. Disconnect the battery connection.
  2. Open the tailgate to find the bolts and unscrew them.
  3. Next, take the help of the trim tool to remove the brake light.
  4. Flip the brake light bed and you will find the bulb connector. Now, remove it.
  5. Afterward, remove the bulb.
  6. Finally, the socket becomes visible. Check if it’s damaged or not. 
  7. You can place the bulb on the new socket and assemble the parts again.  

6. Damaged Striker 

A damaged striker would not let the switch go in the off position, resulting in the brake light staying on. Moreover, the striker is a rubber pad that deteriorates with time. That’s why sufficient resistance is not available due to the absence of the striker, which acts as a switch stopper. 


  1. Replace the damaged striker. 
  2. First, push the brake pedal. 
  3. Place the new striker in the grommet where the brake switch gets pressed. Now, secure the striker after removing the old one. 
Read:  4runner Brake Light Not Working [ 5 Common Problems And Solutions]

7. Insufficient Brake Fluid

When the brake fluid level becomes low, moving the pedal becomes troublesome because it becomes soft and spongy. Also, the pedal system gets affected as low fluid disrupts functioning. Deterioration in the parts becomes more obvious, which results in brake system failure.  

Car Insufficient Brake Fluid


To adjust the brake fluid, fill the master cylinder with fluid up to maximum. Generally, the fluid level should be 1 liter. However, the cylinder comes with a mark indicating the maximum filling fluid level. 

8. Faulty Fuse 

A blown fuse can also cause the brake light to stay on. The system signal is disrupted due to the blown or faulty fuse, resulting in keeping the brake light on.


Change the fuse after inspecting it.

  1. In order to inspect, open the fuse box. Find the brake light fuse. Follow the user manual. Generally, the manual should have the location of the fuse. 
  2. Now, pull off the fuse and look for broken or burnt signs. 
  3. If you find such signs, change the fuse to a new one. 

9. Unmatched Bulbs 

Installing the right bulb is required to let the brake lights work. When the wrong bulbs are installed, the electrical signals are not detected. Also, a short circuit can lead to the bulb not turning off. 

Car Unmatched Bulbs


Place the right bulb on the socket. Go through the manual to find out if the socket allows a bulb with two circuits or one circuit.

Afterward, place the correct bulb in position. Also, check if the socket is in good condition or not. 

If you’re facing a situation where your brake light stays illuminated even when the car is turned off, our article on how many brake lights are required by law might provide insights that could be relevant to your concern. Additionally, if you’re a Jeep Wrangler owner dealing with a non-functional third brake light, our guide on Jeep Wrangler third brake light not working could provide solutions. We recognize the importance of maintaining proper vehicle lighting and being aware of legal requirements, and our comprehensive resources are designed to help you navigate and address any challenges you may encounter.


Let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions that can provide further vision on the topic. 

Q: Is it okay to drive a car with the brake lights on?

No, you should immediately fix the brake light problem. Otherwise, the battery would get drained sooner and can cause possible damage to the brake pedal system. 

Q: Can the brake light switch affect transmission? 

Yes, a faulty brake light switch can affect the transmission and not let the engine start. Moreover, it can disrupt the normal performance of the car. 

Q: Can the OBD2 scanner be used to detect the cause behind the brake light staying on?

Yes, you can use the OBD2 scanner to detect the cause. To proceed, you need to connect the scanner to the OBD port and start the ignition. Afterward, decoding the code would let you know the cause. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the brake light stays on when car is off is mainly caused by the faulty switch. Furthermore, the fault in the brake pedal system can also be a cause. Small fixations and changes are mainly required to tackle the problem.  

Nevertheless, leaving the problem as it is can lead to further damage to the car system, resulting in higher costs to fix the associated problems. Lastly, if the problem gets severe, there would be no other choice but to take the car to the professionals. 

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