Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog Tech Info Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
 >  >
Brake Light Switch Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Light Switch Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$40

Talent:

**

Tools:

Phillips & flathead screwdriver, trim panel tool

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Brake light switch

Hot Tip:

Remove switch bracket when replacing, it makes the job easier

Performance Gain:

Properly functioning brake light

Complementary Modification:

Replace switch bracket if bent

The brake light switch is responsible for activating the brake lights when the brake pedal is pressed. Activating it also switches cruise control OFF.

The brake light switch, which is mounted above the brake pedal, can fail a few different ways. You may have a brake light warning lamp illuminate in your instrument cluster, indicating a problem with the brake light circuit. If none of the brake lights illuminate and the fuse is fine, the brake light switch is most likely the cause. I have also seen where the brake lights stay on all the time and the warning lamp is also on. If the lighting control module sees a fault with the brake light switch, it will turn the brake lights on all the time. This is for safety. 

A few things to remember when checking your brake light switch: Check the fuse (find location using fuse index in fuse panel); check brake light switch adjustment (see below, installing switch, for how to adjust); inspect brake light bulbs. Use a high impedance digital volt ohm meter (DVOM) when testing the circuit. 

To test the brake light switch, disconnect the electrical connector, connect your DVOM across the terminals and press the switch all the way until it is compressed. The switch is normally open. It closes when pressed.

In this tech article I will go over how to replace and adjust the brake light switch on BMW Z3 vehicles. Replacing and adjusting are covered separately. Both can be done in a short amount of time.

To avoid marring the trim if you need to pry anything, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Replacing brake light switch:
Replacing brake light switch-Working at the driver side knee bolster, remove the plastic trim caps (yellow arrow) from the screws.
Figure 1

Replacing brake light switch-Working at the driver side knee bolster, remove the plastic trim caps (yellow arrow) from the screws. Use a small flat head screwdriver and lever the caps off. Then remove three Phillips head screws (green arrows).

Replacing brake light switch-Next remove the remaining Phillips head screws (green arrows) from the knee bolster trim panel.
Figure 2

Replacing brake light switch-Next remove the remaining Phillips head screws (green arrows) from the knee bolster trim panel. Remove the plastic caps as you did previously if they are present. I find these caps missing quite often. There should also be Phillips head screws (yellow arrow) that run along the bottom edge of the knee bolster trim panel, remove these as well.

Replacing brake light switch-Pull knee bolster (green arrow) down and away from dashboard and remove.
Figure 3

Replacing brake light switch-Pull knee bolster (green arrow) down and away from dashboard and remove.

Replacing brake light switch-Next you will have to remove the knee support.
Figure 4

Replacing brake light switch-Next you will have to remove the knee support. Remove all six 10mm bolts (green arrows) from the support. When you get to the final bolt, hold the support in place or it will fall down.

Replacing brake light switch-Remove the knee support from the vehicle.
Figure 5

Replacing brake light switch-Remove the knee support from the vehicle.

Replacing brake light switch-Squeeze brake light switch electrical connector tabs and pull electrical connector off the switch.
Figure 6

Replacing brake light switch-Squeeze brake light switch electrical connector tabs and pull electrical connector off the switch.

Replacing brake light switch-In the next steps, I prefer to remove the brake light switch bracket from the vehicle, then I remove the switch from the bracket.
Figure 7

Replacing brake light switch-In the next steps, I prefer to remove the brake light switch bracket from the vehicle, then I remove the switch from the bracket. This prevents bending the bracket. Working at the brake pedal bracket, remove the fastener (green arrow) for the brake light switch bracket (yellow arrow).

Replacing brake light switch-Once the fastener (green arrow) is removed from bracket (loosened); remove the bracket with the brake light switch from the vehicle.
Figure 8

Replacing brake light switch-Once the fastener (green arrow) is removed from bracket (loosened); remove the bracket with the brake light switch from the vehicle. I prefer to leave the fastener (green arrow) in place when removing the bracket.

Replacing brake light switch-Once the bracket and switch are removed from the vehicle, you will have to remove the brake light switch from the bracket.
Figure 9

Replacing brake light switch-Once the bracket and switch are removed from the vehicle, you will have to remove the brake light switch from the bracket. To do this, break the retaining tabs (green arrows) using a small flathead screwdriver, and then slide the switch out of the bracket.

Replacing brake light switch-To install the new switch, press it into the bracket until the retaining tabs snap into place.
Figure 10

Replacing brake light switch-To install the new switch, press it into the bracket until the retaining tabs snap into place. Try to pull the switch out, be sure it stays put. Then install the bracket back into the vehicle. Reconnect electrical connector and adjust brake light switch if needed. Once done adjusting, reinstall interior trim panels.

Adjusting brake light switch:
Adjusting brake light switch-This photo shows the brake light switch plunger in the adjusted position, for the vehicle it was removed from.
Figure 11

Adjusting brake light switch-This photo shows the brake light switch plunger in the adjusted position, for the vehicle it was removed from. When adjusting, you will pull this plunger out, then press the brake pedal down to compress it to the correct depth.

Adjusting brake light switch-This photo shows the plunger pulled all the way out.
Figure 12

Adjusting brake light switch-This photo shows the plunger pulled all the way out. To adjust brake light switch, press brake pedal down, then push brake light switch as far it will go into mounting bracket. Slowly release brake pedal and let it come in contact with brake light switch. As it makes contact, the brake light switch will automatically adjust to correct position.

Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
Mo Comments: l have a problem, could not seems to find a brake switch light for my 1997 e36 bmw 316i and besides, just not sure whether my 1997 e36 316i require 2 or 4 pin brake light switch, please can you help.
November 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I’m not the best with part numbers.


Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.


- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bruno Comments: The clutch pedal is in the way of removing the screw that holds the bracket in place. Still can't upload the picture. The switch wasn't that hard to remove. I use needle nose pliers and a mirror. I slid the red collar up and the switch can out without too much problem.
May 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: OK, thanks for sharing your experience. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bruno Comments: This must be a switch replacement on an automatic, can't get at the screw that holds the bracket in place on a 5 speed. I tried to upload a photo from my iPad but your web site won't except it, not the proper file extention.
May 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The procedure should be similar on auto and manual trans models. If you can get the photos to me, I can see if i can offer any guidance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Privacy Statement]
 [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping] [Map to our Location] [Careers]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc.

Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:07:59 AM