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Cooter

Funky brake lights on my car

Question

Cooter

Sometimes I have both, sometimes one, sometimes neither brake light on my '96 Lumina. Replaced bulbs, and don't think its the switch on the brake pedal since the light in the rear windshield works. I'm assuming wiring? And if so where to start looking?

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Scott K

Multifunction switch would be a start, is your emrgency flasher button pressed, wiggle it, push it in and retry it, see if it starts working.

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Jeremy airjer W

I'll vote for the Turn signal swith. The brake and turn signal are one the same bulb. The power from the brake switch will split one wire will go directly to the third brake light the other will go to the turn signal switch. If the switch is in the nuetral position it will allow the the power to go to the left and right brake light. If the switch is in the right or left position then it will allow the power to the brake light to flow thru the switch to the oppisite side of what ever way the switch is engaged and will interupt the power to the brake light for the other side and instead allow the power from the flasher to flow through the switch which makes the turn signal flash.

This symptom is pretty common on many makes. The third brake light working and the other brake lights not working is the first clue that the turn signal/multifunction switch may be going bad. Usually when they act up (like 4wandering mentioned) you can wiggle the lever or the 4 way and get the lights not working to come back on. If this happens then it is almost always the switch.

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Macgyver55

 Originally Posted By: 4wanderingeyes
Multifunction switch would be a start.

Not just a start, its the problem!

To verify have someone watch the brake lights while you pull and wiggle the dimmer switch. More than likely they will go on and off. I've done several of these, its fairly common. I have found a way to repair these switchs, but its fairly involved and delicate.

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Cooter

Thanks much, you guys are great and probably have saved me lots of time and headache!

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Jeremy airjer W

Just wait until you try to replace it! grin.gif

If you don't have a steering wheel puller set than I probably wouldn't start. After the wheel comes off you'll need to remove the clock spring for the air bag. Then you'll need to compress a spring to remove a lock ring that retains the steering wheel locking plate. The set will have this tool as well. After all of that is out of the you'll be able to see the switch. They really are not that hard but you do need the right tools and not be afraid of an airbag if equipped.

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Cooter

Don't worry, I won't be doing it...having a mechanic for an uncle comes in handy!

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