Dodge Ram's Third Brake Light Working

Why Isn’t My Dodge Ram’s Third Brake Light Working? 

The third brake light in your Dodge Ram alerts the drivers behind you that you are going to hit the brakes. This reduces the chances of rear-end collisions by 4.3 percent. Therefore, fixing the light as soon as possible is crucial if you notice that the light isn’t functioning correctly.

So, why is your Dodge Ram’s third brake light not working? Your car’s third brake light can fail to work due to several reasons, such as:

  • A burnt-out bulb
  • Damaged bulb socket 
  • A Blown fuse (15 amp)
  • Cracked wires
  • Corroded connectors
  • Disconnected ground wires

In this article, we will help you identify why your Dodge Ram’s third brake light might not be working. We will also discuss how to diagnose this issue and fix it. Let’s start!

How Does The Third Brake Light Work In Your Dodge Ram?

The third brake light is known as the “center high mount stop lamp” and is located above the window at the back of your Dodge Ram. It is placed higher than other brake lights and wired to the same brake light switch. 

How Does The Third Brake Light Work In Your Dodge Ram

The third brake light illuminates every time you step on the brake pedal. This added light makes your truck more visible on the road. Additionally, it alerts the driver behind you that you are slowing down or coming to a stop.

Dodge Ram Third Brake Light Not Working: Potential Causes 

Dodge Ram Third Brake Light Not Working

There could be multiple reasons why the third brake light on your Dodge Ram is not functioning. They include,

1. A Malfunctioning Light Bulb

The filament wire inside your third brake light burns out, and electric current cannot flow through the circuit. This means that the third brake light won’t illuminate when you step on the brake pedal. 


To fix this issue,  you should replace the damaged bulb with a new one.

2. Installation Of New LED Bulbs

Many Dodge Ram owners faced issues with the third brake light when they tried changing their normal brake light bulbs to LED lights. This happens because LED lights and regular lights don’t work the same way. 

When you change to LEDs, they use less power than regular bulbs. Because of this, your car might think the LED bulb is burnt out even though it’s not. This can confuse the system and cause the third brake light to malfunction.

Dodge Ram Installation Of New LED Bulbs


To avoid this issue, you can add resistors to the LED bulbs. The resistors will allow the LED bulbs to function like the previous light bulbs in your vehicle.

3. Cracked Wires

The third brake light in your Dodge Ram is connected to your truck’s electrical system using a wiring harness. This harness contains wires that transmit signals from the brake pedal to the light bulb. And this causes the high-mount stop lamp to light up when you hit the brakes. 

But, if one of these wires gets damaged or cracked, it can cause the circuit to break and stop the electricity flow. 


  1. You should carefully repair them by removing the damaged parts and joining the wires back together.
  2. After that, wrap up the fixed parts using electrical tape to protect them. 
  3. Additionally, you should attach the wires correctly in their appropriate places because a poor connection can also prevent the brake light from working properly.

4. Blown Fuse

The fuse panel in your automobile has a 15A fuse specifically for the third brake light. If the 15 amp fuse blows, the flow of electricity to the third brake light will be interrupted. This indicates that the circuit is not complete, and when you press the brake pedal, the light won’t receive power to turn on.

Dodge Ram Blown Fuse


If you want to solve this problem, you should check the brake light fuse. If it has blown, you have to remove the damaged fuse and replace it with a new one that has the same size and ampere rating.

Read:  Brake Light Not Working On One Side? Here's How To Fix It!

5. A Short Circuit In The Brake Light System

When two electrical points that are not supposed to be connected touch, it causes a short circuit. If a short circuit happens in the brake light system, the electrical current will not flow through the usual wires to the third brake light.

As a result, the electric current won’t reach the third brake light and it won’t light up. 


You need to examine the wires around the brake light. Check if anything is out of place or touching incorrectly. If you find anything like that, you should separate the wires and cover them with tape so they don’t touch again.

6. Faulty Brake Light Switch

In most cases, the brake light switch is close to your Dodge Ram’s brake pedal. When you put pressure on the brake pedal, the brake switch sends an electrical signal to the brake light. Thus, the third brake light turns on.

However, if you have a faulty brake light switch, it could cause the third brake light to stop working. Thus, you should use a multimeter to check if it operates appropriately. 

Dodge Ram Faulty Brake Light Switch


In case it does not work correctly, you must replace it with a new one. You should take your car to a local mechanic to change the faulty brake light switch.

7. Disconnected Ground Wire

A disconnected ground wire in your truck will stop the third brake light from working properly. This is because the ground wire completes the circuit, allowing electricity to flow to the brake light when pressing the brake pedal. 

A disconnected ground wire could also lead to voltage fluctuations. Therefore, you might notice the brake lights flickering randomly. 


To resolve this problem, you need to take off the light cover and look for the wire that is not connected. Once you have found it, use a wire stripper to remove the insulation from the end of the wire and connect it back to the electrical system.

You can watch this YouTube video to learn how to fix a disconnected ground wire.

How To Replace A Defective Third Brake Light In Your Dodge Ram?

If you want to replace the third brake light in your truck, check out the instructions we have provided below. 

  • Step 1: You will need to purchase a new bulb and a screwdriver.
  • Step 2: Then, open the back door or tailgate of your truck. 
  • Step 3: You need to find and remove the screws on the inside edge of the tailgate that holds the third brake light in place.
  • Step 4: Take the screwdriver and gently remove the screws.
  • Step 5: Remove the old bulb by twisting it clockwise.
  • Step 6: Take that fresh bulb and slide it into the socket. Make sure the bulb fits tightly in the socket.
  • Step 7: After that, put the third brake light back in its original position and reattach the screws.
  • Step 8: Now, close the tailgate, sit on the driver’s seat, and press the brake pedal to ensure the third brake light is working correctly.

For more information, you can watch this YouTube video.

What Is The Significance Of The Third Brake Light In Your Car?

A psychologist named John Voevodsky conducted a study in 1974 to evaluate the effectiveness of third brake lights in vehicles. He discovered that cars that had the third brake light experienced 60.6% fewer rear-end accidents compared to those without it.

Read:  How to Replace a Brake Light Bulb? 7 Easy Steps

Therefore, starting in 1986, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made it compulsory for all newly manufactured vehicles to have a third brake light. 

As per a report in Deseret News, installing this brake light has helped prevent 92,000 car crashes per year and lowered the number of rear-end crashes by 4.3%. 

What Is The Significance Of The Third Brake Light In Your Car

Furthermore, studies have revealed that most car accidents occur due to the following reasons: 

  • The driver’s inattentiveness
  • The driver’s incorrect response
  • Delayed reaction time 
  • Tailing other vehicles too closely
  • Distracted driving habits.

In light of this, researchers discovered that flashing the third brake light can improve the driver’s reaction time and help prevent car accidents. They found that flashing the third brake light at a rate of 7 times per second can reduce brake reaction time by 323.42 milliseconds.

When Does The Third Brake Light In Your Dodge Ram Work Best?

A research study found that the third brake light is most effective in simpler accident situations. Below, we have listed the specific scenarios when the third brake light works the best.

  • The third brake light works better during daytime accidents than at nighttime accidents.
  • The center high-mount stop lamp works better in locations without traffic signals compared to locations with them.
  • Since 1989, the third brake light has been more effective at preventing crashes involving only two cars than crashes with multiple cars.
  • The light works better on wet roads compared to dry roads.
  • It is more effective when the driver maintains a complete focus on the road and avoids getting distracted by traffic.
When Does The Third Brake Light In Your Dodge Ram Work Best
While Dodge Ram owners have encountered their share of third brake light issues, they’re not isolated in this experience. Chevrolet Tahoe drivers have also expressed concerns with the Tahoe third brake light not functioning as expected. Additionally, some motorists face even more complex problems, where multiple indicators are at fault. An example of this is when both the brake light and ABS light illuminate while the speedometer fails to work. By understanding these varying issues, vehicle owners can better prepare for potential challenges and know where to seek solutions


For more information on a third brake light malfunction, you should read the FAQs we have provided below.

Q: How often should I check the Dodge Ram’s third brake light?

You should check your Dodge Ram’s third brake light every time you use the truck to ensure it is working correctly. Additionally, you should have a mechanic inspect it annually during regular maintenance.

Q: Does a faulty Dodge Ram’s third brake light affect my truck’s performance?

No. A faulty third brake light doesn’t directly affect your truck’s performance. However, it can hinder its overall safety and visibility on the road.

Q: Can using LED bulbs affect the third brake light’s performance?

LED bulbs can sometimes improve the performance of the Dodge Ram’s third brake light by producing brighter light. However, you should install LED bulbs that are compatible with your truck’s electrical system.

Final Words

In conclusion, if you are experiencing issues with your Dodge Ram’s third brake light, it is important to take care of the problem as soon as possible. A malfunctioning brake light can increase your chances of getting involved in a rear-end collision. 

Several factors can lead to brake light failure, like corroded wiring, a defective brake light switch, a faulty fuse, or a damaged bulb. If you find it challenging to pinpoint the root cause of the issue, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic.

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