DIY Home and Auto Repair and Maintenance

Home and Auto Repair and Maintenance

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Brake Light Switch

September 18th, 2007 · 57 Comments

In this article I digress from my main topic for a bit, but I feel it is somewhat related and could be useful information for others on the internet.  I would imagine that most anyone who becomes a homeowner would likely do minor car repair themselves.  Hence in this article I will demonstrate how I repaired a broken Brake Light Switch on an 93 Honda Accord.

The symptoms of the broken switch are that the brake lights stay on all the time.  When the car is turned off, the brake lights are still on.  This can occur because on this particluar model there is a peice of rubber that is attached to the brake pedal though a hole in the brake pedal arm.  When the brake pedal is up in its normal position, the rubber plug  presses agains the switch causing the brake lights to be off.  If the rubber plug is missing or the brake pedal is depressed, the switch button which normally is pressed by the rubber plug extends through the hole in the brake pedal arm and the switch defaults to the on position causing the brake lights come on.

In this particular case the rubber plug had deteriorated and parts of it were found on the floorboard of the car.  The mechanism was fixed with a small piece of plastic from a grocery store discount card and a piece of duct tape.  Simply tape the piece of card over the hole in the brake pedal arm and the switch will once again function normally.

Here is a photo of the end result.

Brake Light Switch

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Tags: 93 Honda Accord · Auto Maintenance

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57 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin B // Jul 21, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I just had the same thing happen to my 92 Honda today. The little piece of rubber or plastic was broken into several pieces.

    Thanks for the tip. I will give it a try and let you know if this strategy worked for me as well.

  • 2 Frank s // Sep 28, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    What a life saver. My girl’s 1991 prelude was seen with the brake lights on around 10pm. I pull out the wiring clip temp. Then I searched for answers and found this. Same things had happened. The picture was perfect help to find and fix the problem. Thank you very much.

  • 3 D. Chadbourne // Oct 4, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    A thousand thanks for the information and picture. It’s such a small but critical part. Who knew it could fall apart one day and make a simple trip home from work so unnerving.

  • 4 Bobby G // Dec 5, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks for the picture and the directions. I used a small plastic bottle cap which slipped over the top of the piston when the brake pedal was pushed in. It helps to have 2 people to do this. Secured the bottle cap with duct tape. This was on a 91 Accord.

  • 5 Dave B // Dec 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks for the tip…I found that there was grease smeared where the hole was, so I took a medium size plastic wall anchor, them shoved a smaller wall anchor into its hole on top and chopped off the bottom of the whole thing. Then when I went to put it in the whole in the brake pedal and it almost snapped into place. Working like a charm. I kept the pedal depressed with a wood board against the seat bottom to get access. Hope this helps!

  • 6 Mike O // May 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    This information allowed me to solve the problem in a matter of a few minutes. I put a bolt with a hex head through the hole with a nut on the opposite side to hold it in place. Felt like I had invented a better mouse trap!

  • 7 John A. // Jul 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the info and picture. This helped me solve my brake light staying on problem. 1990 Honda Accord. Good job :)

  • 8 Bud // Jul 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Thanks much, I am in your debt
    a mechanic probably would
    have charged me $250 to fix the problem
    It happened on my 1984 Honda accord

  • 9 Christian // Aug 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks a lot for the info, you will be glad to know that your wiki answer came up first on google when I searched for, “tail lights stay on”.
    My car is a 1996 Toyota corolla, and now I have a good idea as to what to look for, hope its pretty similar!

  • 10 Christian // Aug 8, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Fixed!! On my corolla, it has a small metal plate with a 1/4″ hole in it, which is where the pole from the switch goes into to turn off and on the lights.
    If anything was inside the hole on the plate, its gone now, so I put a screw through the hole, and a piece of tape on the back of the screw to hold it in place till I find a nut to secure it….so fixed, and so happy!!!

  • 11 JR // Aug 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Fixed – Exact same probem – got home last night at 10 pm – noticed brake lights on.

    Tried all switches, started drove around – no luck – brake lights still on.

    Pulled fuse #25 to cut power to brake lamps for the night.

    Read this article – looked under the brake pedal this AM – and guess what I found – 4 pieces of plastic from the brake switch.

    Thanks a bunch.

    I am sure my local Honda dealer would have charged me a minimum of $500.00 to investigate and repair.

  • 12 paul // Aug 10, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for the picture. I also used a hex bolt. Feel like I just switched to Geico with all the money I saved by googling.

    1997 Nissan maxima

  • 13 Josie // Aug 26, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Same thing Brake lights stayed on. Dead battery.
    Checked the fuses and relay switch. Found the plastic stopper broken on the floor.
    Fixed it with a temporary plastic and duct tape. The photo really helps too!
    Thanks alot. a easy fix even for a woman!

  • 14 Josie // Aug 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    that was a 1992 honda civic ex.

  • 15 Scott // Oct 14, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    My ’97 Accord is still rockin’ thanks to this post!!

  • 16 david // Oct 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    This problem will also keep your cruise control from working.

  • 17 Jimmy // Jan 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Same problem with a 1996 Toyota Corolla. Found the plastic stopper in pieces. Bought a new brake light switch pedal stopper for $6.00 from auto parts. They said it is the only one made by anyone. It’s from Honda, don’t know if it will work in my Toyota but the part store guy says it will. Found out I can’t get under the dash to install it without taking out the dashboard and removing the brakelight switch, not enough room. So I’m gonna duct tape a penny to it or try to get a nut and bolt into the hole.

  • 18 Mary // Feb 16, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Thank you so much for the post with the picture! The instructions were easy enough for a damsel in distress to understand how to fix her car problems!
    ~Mary

  • 19 RJ // Mar 6, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Simple Fix that saved me a headache and some $$$!!! Used two pieces of small duct tape and pliable plastic. Works great! The picture helped tremendously. Found blue plastic pieces on floor mat and when looked up there, small piece remaining, removed and fixed w/ your solution. THANK YOU!!!

  • 20 Scott // Apr 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Worked like a charm! I first tried removing all the fuses just to get through the night. None of the fuses turned off the light (so said my 3 1/2 year old daughter). I googled it … you would have thought I pressed the “I’m feeling lucky” button! Thanks for posting.

  • 21 D_TRAN // Apr 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you very much. My car is Toyota Corolla 1993. The rubber stopper of brake switch was broke into several pieces.

    I fixed it with plastic snap_in standoff for PC motherboard. It fits into the hole of brake pedal arm, so we didn’t need duct tape anymore .

    Administrator – It’s interesting to see all of the different ways people are implementing this fix – Using the standoff was another great variation.

  • 22 jvalenz // May 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    This ranks very high on the most useful things i’ve learned on the internet. I would have driven almost 100 miles with the brake light on if it wasn’t for this post. So thanks a lot!! This is the best use I’ve gotten outta my LA public library card in over two years! Lol

  • 23 Uncle Dave // May 31, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks a million! I had pulled the ‘Stop/Brake’ fuse to spare the battery, checked all the bulbs for moisture and then figured on some expensive repair nonsense. After reading this I looked again and found the little wax bits of plug just as you said and now 30 min. later after some duct tape and a penny it’s as good as new! Thanks so much for posting!

  • 24 Tom // Jun 14, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thanks, it worked great. The picture was worth a thousand words.

  • 25 Toroy // Jul 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Man, my car was out of commission for a couple of days for a simple fix like this. Glad I researched it and found your site!

  • 26 Elvin // Jul 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for the tip, I’ve been 2 days trying to find that piece of rubber that was on my floorboard in pieces to replace,but with no luck, I’ll try your tip tonight. None of the ford dealers or parts places knew what I was talking about.Was going to take it to Ford garage tommorrow but you just saved me a bunch of money,thanks again.

  • 27 Handy Andy // Aug 1, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I had this problem with my wifes car, and replaced the rubber button with one from a newer car in a junkyard. 9 out of 10 of the cars in the yard were missing these pieces. 2 months later the button disintegrated again. This time I used a high strength polyurethane hot glue to fasten a penny to the pedal. I don’t see this as a permanent fix, and will epoxy a metal plate onto the pedal.

  • 28 Fred Mussler // Aug 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Thx so much- Wifes car and everything with my mechanic is $350 so i was afraid to take it to him- fixed it with your diagram – eve have three screws left over(g).

    Thanks so much

  • 29 scott // Aug 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    worked Great man

  • 30 Tom // Aug 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Worked great! I actually found the little piece of metal that was originally (double-taped?) to the spot. Why would Honda make that a separate piece on the ’93 Prelude is a mystery. Taping a small 1x1cm piece of popsicle stick (or something similar) would also work if the duct tape was not hard/strong enough.

    I originally could not find where the location the picture was from, but the techs at Kauffman showed me. It was a free quick 5 min fix that would have cost me $75 at an auto shop.

  • 31 Moe C // Sep 24, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for the posting, the picture was very helpful. This solution worked for my 1998 Honda Accord.
    God Bless!!!

  • 32 TSM // Oct 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks—-fixed in 5 mins w/ washer, nut and bolt.

  • 33 Ron C // Dec 13, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Thank You for the information. It fixed the brake light problem. Merry Christmas.

  • 34 1993 Accord Electrical Problems - Honda Accord Forum - Honda Accord Enthusiast Forums // May 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    [...] a water pump replacement as well. The common issues that I recognize in your post include the brake light switch which could be the switch under the dash, most likely a small plastic washer has broken and you [...]

  • 35 quickdigits // Jun 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you sooo much for this information! This morning, my brake and tail lights were staying on after I switched off the ignition of my 1989 Honda Accord LX. I had to have a friend disconnect the positive terminal of my battery. I kept thinking about how expensive this might be to fix and how I would have to take it to a mechanic specializing in car electrical! Then, I came across your website and ended up fixing it myself. The brake switch was not hard to find and I used a screw and a nut to secure it in back of that little hole next to the brake arm. That’s really the best way to fix this. Don’t use Duct Tape….that’s just a temporary fix. Thanks so much. I just saved myself a Ton of money!

    Administrator –
    Your right, a screw and nut would be much more secure, yet my duct tape fix is still holding strong after nearly four years.

  • 36 Ruth // Jun 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I add my compliments to those above – it’s these “little” things that can be the worst to find out how to fix. When I found the pieces of my 1994 Toyota Tercel’s rubber stopper I went to NAPA and they sold me a package of 5 generic rubber bumpers (BK 665-2264) for a few bucks, and although I had to use an exacto-knife to shave off some of the stem so it would fit in the hole, it worked great and is still holding for 2 yrs now. However, somebody else had this issue and I found your site and sent them the link. Now I know more great ways to fix this if I ever need to again! Thanks for posting!

  • 37 Ruth // Jun 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    p.s. – forgot to mention that the only way I could get the brake to go down far enough to squeeze the new part in was to run the engine while I was fixing it (with the parking brake on very tightly I would add!)

  • 38 Diplomat D // Jun 22, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Thank you. This is a gift that keeps giving.The battery was dead,… did not know why.Noticed the brake lights being on after parking in garage and onset of nightfall. I checked fuses, relays…the works after the battery was drained. Next time I will search web first for info.. My wife’s 1993 Corolla is now fixed for a penny and some duct tape. She is happy and I am happy for not having to take the car to the repair shop.
    Thank you again for sharing.

  • 39 Jenn // Jun 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you sooo much!!! Pulled the fuse out to get through the night and came across this post this morning. Worked like a charm! The picture was invaluable! Temporarily taped it, but I’m going to get a screw and nut for a permanent fix. Thanks again!

  • 40 Michael Papparini // Jul 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Awesome tip, I have a honda civic 1994 and the plastic stop broke in pieces, follow your recommendation, YOU ROCKKKK thanks

  • 41 Sunnie // Jul 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    EXCELLENT! My son and I had both been stopped by the police for the same problem, brake light stays on 1989 Honda Accord DX. When it happened to me, I just let the husband fix it but since I am divorced and my son owns the car now, I took a chance at the internet and I read my son, your post over the phone and in few minutes he was able to save hundreds of dollars and fixed it himself! Thanks for helping make Mom a hero in her son’s eyes!!

  • 42 jc // Aug 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Awesome tip i used the hex nut and bolt combo on my 93 honda problem solved.

  • 43 Pastor Owen // Aug 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks as a Bottle Cap & Tape fixed me right up on my 1991 Tercel !!!

  • 44 Chad // Aug 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    You could also just purchase the pedal stopper from the dealership. I just bought 2 for my car for $6. Installation is easy. If you have cruise control you’ll need 2, if you don’t, you just need 1.

    http://www.z31.com/repairs/brakepedal/brake.broken.vs.new.jpg

    ^What the Pedal Stopper looks like.

    Just place over the hole, then pull up the brake and the stopper locks in place.

  • 45 Aleximandro Alvarez Valdez // Aug 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Estimado muchas gracias! he logrado hacer sus recomendaciones y el resultado ha sido satisfactorio, no se imaginan el gran alivio que siento, por lo que estoy muy agradecido.
    Que papa los bendiga siempre!

  • 46 Aleximandro Alvarez Valdez // Aug 28, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Dear thank you very much! I managed to make its recommendations and the result has been satisfactory, can not imagine the relief I feel, so I’m very grateful.
    Pope May God bless you always!

  • 47 Daniel Melo // Sep 19, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Thank you so much for your post! I noticed tonight that my break and tail lights were on after I switched the car off, drove home afraid I was going to get a ticket, I used a little peace of rubber with duct tape and it worked like a charm. I was so proud of myself and so thankful that there are good people out there like you. I will pass on the good deed for sure. God bless you!

  • 48 Terry // Jan 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    My son’s 1998 Corolla had same thing happen last night, at least he was able to get a jump from someone. Thank you, for saving me money and getting the problem fixed.

  • 49 sam wolfe // Jan 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    what should we do if the brake lights are totally off?

  • 50 administrator // Jan 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    The first thing to check in this case would be the fuse.

  • 51 Jarret // Apr 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you so much for this info! I noticed that my brake lights were on last night after parking in near a friend’s apt. After trying to pull out fuses in the rain for 20 mins, I just called it quits and after getting my battery charged, I googled how to fix the issue and your website came up. The plastic and duct tape works great and I’m so glad I don’t have to spend time and money at an auto repair facility. Thank you!

  • 52 Sara // May 26, 2012 at 12:44 am

    OMG! I can’t believe how easy this was!! LMAO! I literally have been plugging in my lights at night if I went somewhere and unplugging them when I would get home instead of all the fuse and battery stuff. (mind you it was my tail lights staying on, not my break lights). During the day I would usually just risk it, dodging cops and all, while praying that whoever was behind me would see me slow down or even worse not deliberately hit me to grab a nice new insurance fix it job on their car. What I found strange (not that I know how most of that car stuff works anyways, hehe) is that with this problem, my break lights no longer worked. I only had tail lights, which would stay on even if my headlights weren’t. So when I DID have my lights plugged in, when I pressed the break, they would not work. I was at risk of a nice ticket no matter where I went. I had found the broken pieces of the plug but just assumed it was gonna be a stupid amount of $$. THANK YOU so much. I literally just went outside at 9:30pm and taped a piece of an old debit card over the hole. :) Break lights and all working PERFECT! I feel like I am the smartest woman alive!! LOL

  • 53 Sara // May 26, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Unless I got them confused and it HAS been my break lights on and tail lights not working… ;p either way, thank you!

  • 54 Lawanda // May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Found some broken plastic pieces in the floorboard of our 99 honda accord. Didnt think much of it till we noticed our brake lights still on. Googled what to do about the break lights staying on and a few clicks later… I found this site. Duct taped a couple of pennies together and taped them in place.. BAM! Lights fixed… Thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas for fixing this issue! Im sure it saved us tons of money =)

  • 55 mrbill // Sep 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Worked perfect for me… except I used a couple pennies taped together as my shim. 97 toyota corolla. Thanks!!!

  • 56 Brent // May 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Years ago, when our 1990 Honda Accord was my wife’s primary car, we had the same problem. I didn’t know that it was a rubber issue, but knew that the button was missing (to quote Maxwell Smart) “by that much.”

    I searched for items of the ideal thickness, until settling on a quarter. That taped quarter has worked flawlessly for years.

    The guy that created all of this is awesome, I agree (he helped me with a starting / main relay issue with the same Honda, on a different page)!

    However, I’m curious about Chad’s post. He advocates buying new rubber stoppers from the dealership, which is fine; BUT, he also mentions a second stopper for cruise control…

    About 2 years ago, the cruise control stopped working on the Honda; could this be the cause? Does the cruise think I’m on the brakes all of the time?

    Thanks!

  • 57 Curt // Aug 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Wow, nearly 7 years since your original article, and it is still going strong! The ’91 Corolla I inherited from my mother-in-law just got your duct tape fix for the brake switch plunger pad. And along with the duct tape my new pad is made from the cap of an empty brake fluid bottle. Ha!
    Thanks!

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