Jeep Gladiator 3rd Brake Light Not Working

Jeep Gladiator 3rd Brake Light Not Working

A brake light is a bulb for safety. An illuminated brake light means your car is slowing down and requests your fellow drivers not to crash you. Jeep Gladiators have three brake lights on their backs. Sometimes, the third one may fail and cost you an accident or a traffic ticket. 

But why is your Jeep Gladiator 3rd brake light not working? Well, it could be due to 

  • A burned-out bulb
  • Faulty wiring
  • A damaged fuse
  • or a malfunctioning switch box

Don’t worry! You can troubleshoot all these errors. This article could save you from a traffic ticket because it discusses the common causes and solutions for Jeep Gladiator 3rd brake light failure. 

A Quick Overview of Jeep Gladiator 3rd Brake Light Failure: Causes and Fixes

Jeep Gladiator 3rd Brake Light Failure

The following table summarizes all common issues that cause the Jeep Gladiator 3rd brake light failure and how to fix them. 

Burned out bulb Replace the damaged bulb with a new one
Faulty wiring Check and repair damaged wiring and connectors 
Fuse damage Replace the fuse with the correct amperage 
Malfunctioning switch box Adjust or replace the brake light switch as needed 

Common Causes and Fixes of 3rd Brake Light Failure 

Common Causes and Fixes of 3rd Brake Light Failure

You can’t leave your 3rd brake light malfunctioning and run on the highway. So, let’s see why your Jeep Gladiator 3rd brake light is not working and how to fix it. 

1. Burned-Out Bulb

One of the most straightforward reasons for a malfunctioning 3rd brake light is a burned-out bulb. This common issue can occur over time due to regular wear and tear. 

Thus, it causes a third brake light not to illuminate and significantly impacts your vehicle’s visibility to drivers behind you.

Jeep Gladiator Burned-Out Bulb

Fix: Replace the Damaged Bulb

Follow these simple steps to replace the bulb. 

#Step1: Prepare the Equipment

Collect some handy tools before starting the procedure.

  • Gloves
  • 10 mm Socket 
  • Torx T-30 Screwdriver 
  • Torx T-20 
  • Safety glasses
  • New bulb 

#Step2: Access the Brake Light

Open the tailgate of your Jeep Gladiator. Look for the screws or bolts securing the third brake light assembly to the vehicle.

#Step3: Remove the Brake Light Assembly

Use the screwdrivers and 10-mm socket to remove the screws or bolts. Gently pry the assembly away from the vehicle, taking care not to damage the paint or the surrounding trim.

#Step4: Disconnect Wiring

Carefully disconnect the wiring harness connected to the brake light assembly.

#Step5: Replace with New Brake Light

Take your new third brake light assembly and connect the wiring harness. Align the assembly with the mounting holes and gently push it into place.

#Step6: Secure the Assembly

Put the screws or bolts back into place and tighten them to secure the brake light assembly.

#Step7: Test the Light

Have someone press the brake pedal while you observe the new brake light to ensure it’s working correctly. Or you can do it too by placing your car near a big mirror. 

For a visual guide on replacing the bulb in your Jeep Gladiator’s 3rd brake light system, you can watch this helpful YouTube video:

2. Faulty Wiring

Another common culprit behind a malfunctioning 3rd brake light is faulty wiring. Over time, the wiring or connectors that transmit the electrical signal to the brake light can become damaged, leading to intermittent or complete loss of brake light function.

Fix: Check and Repair Damaged Wiring or Connectors

Identifying and repairing faulty wiring requires a bit more effort and technical know-how, but it’s a critical step in ensuring your vehicle’s safety. Follow the process. 

  1. Safety First: Before you begin, ensure the vehicle is parked in a safe location and the ignition is turned off. Disconnect the vehicle’s battery to prevent any electrical accidents.
  2. Access the Wiring: Locate the wiring that connects to the 3rd brake light. This might involve removing panels or trim to access the wiring harness.
  3. Visual Inspection: Carefully inspect the wiring and connectors for any signs of damage, such as fraying, exposed wires, or corrosion.
  4. Repair or Replace: If you find damaged wiring, you have a few options. You can carefully splice and reconnect the wires using proper connectors and insulation. 
Jeep Gladiator Faulty Wiring

For severe damage, it’s advisable to replace the damaged section of the wiring with a suitable replacement.

  1. Secure Connections: Ensure all connections are securely fastened and insulated to prevent future damage.
  2. Testing: Reconnect the vehicle’s battery and test the brake light to confirm that it’s functioning correctly. Have someone press the brake pedal while you observe the 3rd brake light to ensure consistent illumination.
Read:  Brake Lights Not Working But Third Light Is: Here Are The Causes And Fixes

3. Blown Fuse

If your Jeep Gladiator’s 3rd brake light is not functioning at all, a blown fuse might be the culprit. The fuse protects the electrical circuit, and when it blows, the circuit is interrupted, leading to a non-operational brake light.

Jeep Gladiator Blown Fuse

Fix: Replace the Blown Fuse With the Correct Amperage

Here’s how to do the process: 

  1. Locate the Fuse Box: The fuse box in your vehicle contains multiple fuses that protect different electrical systems. It’s located in the engine compartment near the battery. 
  2. Identify the Brake Light Fuse: The park light fuse is in the F90 cavity, which is a 20 amp blue fuse. 
  3. Turn Off the Ignition: Ensure the ignition is turned off and the vehicle is in the park.
  4. Remove the Fuse: Carefully grip the blown fuse and pull it straight out using a fuse puller tool or a pair of needle-nose pliers. Do not use excessive force.
  5. Inspect the Fuse: Check the fuse’s metal strip to see if it’s intact or broken. A broken strip indicates a blown fuse.
  6. Replace with Correct Amperage: Always replace a blown fuse with one of the same amperages to avoid electrical issues or potential damage to your vehicle’s systems.
  7. Secure the Fuse: Gently push the new fuse into the slot until it’s securely seated.
  8. Test the Brake Light: Turn on the ignition and have someone press the brake pedal to test if the 3rd brake light is now operational.

4. Brake Light Switch Malfunction

If your 3rd brake light fails to illuminate when you apply the brakes, the brake light switch might be malfunctioning. This switch is responsible for activating the brake lights when the brake pedal is pressed.

Fix: Adjust or Replace the Brake Light Switch as Needed

If you suspect the brake light switch is causing the issue, you can try adjusting it before considering a replacement.

Steps to Adjust the Brake Light Switch:

  • Step 1. Locate the Switch: The brake light switch is usually located under the dashboard, near the top of the brake pedal arm. It’s connected to the brake pedal mechanism.
  • Step 2. Check Switch Position: Observe the switch’s position when the brake pedal is not depressed. If the switch seems misaligned or not fully engaged, an adjustment might be necessary.
  • Step 3. Adjust the Switch: Carefully adjust the switch position by loosening the mounting nut and moving the switch closer to the brake pedal arm. 
Jeep Gladiator Brake Light Switch Malfunction

Ensure that there’s a slight gap between the switch and the pedal arm when the pedal is not pressed.

Step 4. Tighten the Nut: Once the switch is properly adjusted, tighten the mounting nut to secure it in place.

Step 5. Test the Brake Light: Press the brake pedal to confirm that the 3rd brake light activates when the pedal is pressed. Make sure the brake lights deactivate when the pedal is released.

Read:  One Brake Light Not Working But Bulb Is Good: 4 Reasons and Fixes

Replace a Faulty Brake Light Switch:

If adjusting the brake light switch doesn’t resolve the issue, a replacement might be necessary. And follow the instructions below.

  1. Safety Precautions: Disconnect the vehicle’s battery to ensure safety while working on electrical components.
  2. Remove Old Switch: Disconnect the wiring harness and any retaining clips securing the switch in place. Carefully remove the old switch from its mounting location.
  3. Install New Switch: Install the new brake light switch in the same position as the old one. Ensure that it’s properly aligned and secured.
  4. Reconnect Wiring: Attach the wiring harness and any retaining clips to the new switch.
  5. Test the Brake Light: Reconnect the vehicle’s battery and test the brake light to confirm that it activates when the brake pedal is pressed. 

Why You Shouldn’t Drive a Jeep Gladiator Without the 3rd Brake Light?

Why You Shouldn't Drive a Jeep Gladiator Without the 3rd Brake Light

The 3rd brake light, also known as the center high-mount stop lamp (CHMSL), ensures road safety and prevents accidents. Here is why you should not drive without it.

  • Enhanced Visibility: It signals braking intentions to drivers behind, especially in low light.
  • Prevents Collisions: 3rd brake light reduces rear-end collisions by providing extra warning.
  • Legal Compliance: Required by law in many places; driving without it may lead to fines.
  • Aesthetics and Value: Maintains vehicle appearance and resale value
While Jeep Gladiator owners have experienced 3rd brake light issues, it’s not a problem restricted to just one vehicle brand. If you’re diving deep into troubleshooting, you might be intrigued to know that Chevrolet Silverado owners have faced their own challenges with the Silverado 3rd brake light not working. In a similar vein, Dodge Ram enthusiasts have also reported instances of the Dodge Ram third brake light malfunctioning. By studying these problems across various models, one can gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in brake light maintenance and repair.


If you still have some further askings left regarding Jeep Gladiator 3rd brake light, have your eyes here.

Q: Can You Drive with Only One Brake Light Working? 

No. In the USA, almost every state prohibits operating a motor vehicle without all functioning stop lamps. Several laws are there to ensure this. 

For example, Federal Regulations in the USA dictate that motor vehicles must be manufactured so that the third brake lights are steady-burning when they are in use. Plus, all other stop lamps must be functioning to drive the vehicle. 

Q: Why is My Rear Brake Light Flickering? 

Well, it could be due to a short circuit anywhere in the car’s lighting circuits. You can easily identify which one is the faulty circuit by disconnecting the circuits one by one. Start removing the wires. Once the flickering stopped, that was the culprit circuit. 

Bad voltage regulators may also cause flickering. But it will lead to the flickering of all bulbs. 

Q: What is the Cost of 3rd Brake Light Replacement? 

It depends on the type of your vehicle, the type of bulb, and whether you’ll take professional help or not. For average, bulb replacement costs range from $6 to $65. It can be less if you can cut off labor costs by doing it yourself. We’ve already guided you through the procedure. 

Final Words 

The 3rd brake light of your Jeep Gladiator isn’t just a minor detail; it’s a vital safety component. Historically, it was developed by a psychologist, John Voevodsky, to make US highways safer. 

From preventing collisions to complying with regulations, its role is crucial. Neglecting it risks accidents, legal consequences, and impacts on your vehicle’s value. 

Prioritize its maintenance, ensuring that all brake lights work harmoniously. By doing so, you’ll contribute to safer roads, avoid potential penalties, and uphold your vehicle’s safety standards and aesthetics.

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