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How to Install a Brake Light Switch on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The brake lights on your car are designed to warn the drivers behind you that your car will be slowing down or stopping. Most Vehicles come equipped with three brake lights--two lower rear lights and a roof brake light, sometimes called the "cyclops. " The brake light switch completes a circuit that sends a manual signal to all the brake lights, activating them by the use of the brake pedal. Simply depressing the brake pedal sends the signal; releasing it turns them off.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Brake Light Switch on a Golf Cart

Mark the spots on the rear of the golf cart where you would like the brake lights to be. The instructions that come with the tail light package should indicate suggested mounting locations. Drill into the markings with the 5/12-inch drill bit.

Push the lighting wires through the holes and mount them with the cable ties along the underside of the golf cart frame. Keep the wires high and away from the tires. The battery is located beneath the seats, so only mount the wires down to where the seats are located.

Screw the mounting harness onto the outer rear of the golf cart. This may be one piece or two smaller pieces depending on the kit. Set the lights into the harness by snapping them into place.

Drill a hole with the 5/32-inch drill bit into the dash panel of the golf cart. Slip the light switch wire into the hole and tighten down the switch with a nut and washer to the underside of the dash panel. Pull the switch wire back to the tail light wire and connect them via a snap. The kit is prepared so that the wires click together to form a connection.

Open the seat to access the battery and lift open the battery lid. Place the negative wire from the lights onto an open screw in the negative panel of the battery. Connect the positive wire from the lights onto a corresponding open screw in the positive panel of the battery.

Items you will need

  • 5/16-inch drill bit

  • 5/32-inch drill bit

  • Tail light set with switch, mounting harness and 36 volt-12 volt conversion capability

  • Drill

  • Nut

  • Washer

  • Cable ties

 How to Install a Brake Light Switch in a 1999 Chevy Suburban

Move the Suburban's driver seat as far back as it will go to allow better access to the driver's foot well. Lean into the driver's foot well and shine the flashlight above the brake pedal to illuminate the brake pedal arm and the brake light switch.

Disconnect the Suburban's brake light circuit pigtail from the body of the old brake light switch by hand. Remove the old brake light switch from the brake light switch mounting bracket with the box wrench set.

Pull the Suburban's old brake light switch off the brake light switch mounting bracket by hand and replace it with the new switch.

Tighten the Suburban's new brake light switch onto the brake light switch mounting bracket using the box wrench set. Plug the brake light circuit pigtail into the body of the new switch by hand.

Step on the Suburban's brake pedal while your helper looks at the brake lights to ensure they're all working as designed.

Items you will need

  • Flashlight

  • Box wrench set

  • Helper

 How to Install a Brake Light Switch on a 1997 Ford F-150

Park the truck and set the emergency brake. Open the driver's door and locate the brake pedal switch high on the brake pedal lever, at the junction of the brake pedal lever and the master cylinder pushrod.

Disconnect the electrical connector from the switch. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, grasp the looped end of the self-locking pin and remove it from the stud on the brake pedal lever. Slide the master cylinder pushrod and brake switch off the stud, and remove the spacer and bushing from the pushrod clevis. Inspect the bushing for excessive wear and replace it if necessary.

Install the new switch, bushing, spacer and pushrod clevis on the brake pedal stud. Install the self-locking pin and ensure that it snaps securely in place. Connect the electrical connector to the switch terminal. Test the brake lights.

Items you will need

  • Needle-nosed pliers

 How to Install a Brake Light Switch on a 1994 GMC

Place the vehicle in a well-lighted area. After setting the emergency brake and with the vehicle in park or neutral, disconnect the negative battery terminal.

Open the driver's-side door and lie backwards on the floorboard, looking up at the location of the brake pedal lever (the brake pad is connected to the lower part of the lever). Use a flashlight or drop-light to see it clearly. Toward the top of the lever you will see the brake light switch, a small, plastic, rectangular box that rests against the brake lever. The area can be tight to work in, so gently push any wires or small harnesses to the side (tape them temporarily, if needed).

Remove the retaining clip that holds the switch to the brake lever (the small metal clip). You can use small prying movements with the slot screwdriver--the clip will slide free.

Disconnect the electrical connector (the small flat loom). Depress the connector at its base and pull straight out. Position it so it goes back in the same way.

Remove the switch by disconnecting it from the push rod. It will unsnap when you pull back on it. Place the new one on the small guide shaft; run it forward and snap it to the push rod. Reconnect the electrical connector by pushing it down until it seats. Refasten the retaining clip.

Depress and release the brake pedal several times while an assistant stands at the back of the vehicle and confirms that the brake lights are all functioning. Note: the small switch nipple that rests against the brake lever arm can be adjusted by depressing it hard until it clicks into another position. This adjustment controls the "throw" or length of travel.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Slot screwdriver

  • Flashlight (or drop-light)

  • Assistant

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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