The Brake Light Switch and the Mysterious Car Troubles It Causes


For example, cars today have automatic emergency braking (AEB) which slows down and stops the car when the car in front of you is too close. It functions with the help of radars and sensors.

These new technologies also call for experimentation in new parts and materials. Unfortunately, for some, it reaches the consumers. In 2019, Subaru needed to recall around 1.3 million of their Crosstrek, Impreza, and Forester units because of a brake light defect. The accumulation of silicone-based cleaning products causes the brake light switch to be faulty. As a result, the brake light fails to work, and this poses potential problems like rear-end collisions.

Luckily, the situation did not call for break replacement in Subaru models because the light does not affect the brake itself. Even then, the brake light switch is integral to a modern car system because it affects several more areas.

The Brake Light Switch

The role of the brake light switch is not only to turn on and off the brake lights, but they are also crucial in the car’s programming. Because the modern car is big on safety features, ensuring that the brake is working is one of the top-most requirements. The brake light sends the signal to all the other functions of the car that the driver is, indeed, pressing the brake pedal. Without this, several other car features might not work.

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Keyless Ignition Systems Won’t Start

Part of the safety precautions of keyless ignition is to make sure that everything is safe before the car starts. Along with a key fob and that the car is in PARK, the driver should also have their foot on the brake pedal. This is to tell the system that the car is meant to start, and the ignition switch is not just being toyed with or accidentally pressed.

Without the brake light switch working properly, the system will not pick up the signal that the brake pedal is engaged. As a result, the push button remains disabled.

The Brake/Shift Interlock

Whether you have a keyless car or not, you will still be unable to operate your car if the brake light switch doesn’t send the signal that you’re stepping on the pedal. The brake/shift interlock is another safety feature that prevents the driver from shifting out of the PARK without stepping on the brake.

When the car is parked, there could be a car in front of you and the back. Sometimes, these boundaries could be a wall, a tree, or a post. Either way, if you shift gears without stepping on the brake, the car will start running without your control. The brake/shift interlock avoids accidents that can arise from this scenario. Like the safety precaution on the ignition switch, this feature is the car making sure that the stick is not being played with, especially by a child.

Unwanted Transmission Shifts

The neutral-idle technology automatically shifts the gear into neutral when the car is at a stop. The speed between the torque converter input and the torque converter turbine is decreased, and this results in the engine taking it down a notch. This is handy when you’re stuck in traffic because the car consumes less energy and fuel.

In order to activate this, the transmission should be in drive and within the normal temperature. The throttle position sensor should detect that the car is not moving, and the brakes are activated. The last requisite, then, requires that the brake light switch is working properly to trigger the neutral-idle technology.

The Brake Light

Communicating with other drivers is impossible. You can’t just roll down the window and scream, “Hey! I’m turning right!” or “Slow down!” This is why car lights exist in the first place — to inform other drivers of what you’re doing and what you’re about to do.

As you’re driving down the road with everything going smoothly, you need to know when the person is slowing down or stopping to avoid collisions. This is where the brake light comes in, and it’s only handy if it’s working properly. The primary way to turn it on is to step on the brakes and for the brake light switch to cooperate.

The brake light switch might be a small component of the car, but its malfunction brings about so many inconveniences. If you’re experiencing these troubles, and you can’t think of a possible problem in your car, it might just be the brake light switch. It’s always best to bring the car to a mechanic for professional help and remedy to make all your traveling anxieties go away.

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