Brake light switch

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  • 4 Post By Chuwee81
  • 1 Post By Chuwee81
  • 1 Post By RubySailor

Thread: Brake light switch

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016

    Brake light switch

    Hello. As most of you know, this is a common issue in most subarus. Where the abs, traction control and hill assist light came on and the car wont shift out of park. Well I was affected by this issue and upon further research found out that there was a recall on a lot of subarus regarding this.

    Well my in laws were using the car and it happened to them. They were a bit stranded until my wife picked them up while I was working. I was driving a loaner car.

    So I looked it up at work and found out that u can pop the little hole for the shoft release and push it in.

    I also looked at that there might be a blown fuse regarding the brake lights since the car won't shift. All fueses were fine.

    It happened friday night and every subaru dealer were booked yesterday due to memorial day weekend.

    So I got some time today to tinker and see what the problem was and maybe go to autozone to get that switch. Mind you that my car only has 4000 miles on it. I'm pretty sure my Bulbs are fresh.

    So I removed the brake light or stoplight switch. I was surprised to see nissan brand product there. It is brown color and the plunger housing is blue. I opened the assembly and found some grease coating on yhe metal contact surfaces. I wiped them off.

    Then I turned on the car and push it a few Times. My wife was about to leave the house to take the in laws ro the airport and she told me my brake lights are working. Yay I thought.
    I pushed the button while trying to shift the car out of park. The 3 lights came on and it won't budge.

    Ok so I know the switch is good. And my brake lights are good.

    I looked down again and found when I installed the switch, the black wiring housing is kinked. So I cut it open and just kinda let the wires bend naturally.

    Drum roll....... it worked!!! So now the car knows I have my brakes back on and let me shift freely.

    So if you have a relatively new car, your kinked wires from the stoptlight switch might be the issue. Or too much grease from the plunger migrated to the metal contact points inside the assembly.

    One word of caution. Remember how the plunger sits by the brake lever. Mine wouldn't sit flush when the brake lever is not depressed. So I pushed the brake lever, installed the thing to flush and it activated the brake enough that even on reverse and drive my car couldn't move.

    So I took it out, let go of the brake and installed it as far as it could go. Amd now I got rid of the issue and I can drive my car around.

    Hope that helps.

    Oh the stoplight switch can be removed by twisting it out counter clockwise. Reverse the process to re insert. The release between the housing and main wiring should be at the top position. No tools required to remove the stoplight switch out of its socket and disconnect from the main wiring assembly.
    I used a flathead to open the plunger assembly.

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    The brake light or stoplight switch should be under the steering column. Look up from your brake lever and you will see a blue plastic plunger housing. The plunger is making contact with the brake lever and you can't see the tip when it is installed. That blue plastic part Is connected to a brown plastic part that houses the sensors I believe.

    And that Brown part is connected to a white connector/ harness that leads to the main wiring.

  4. #3
    Nissan makes parts for many vehicles. My Suzuki motorcycle had Nissan brake calipers.

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  6. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Yea I mentioned that since I tried to browse for subaru stoplight switch and it isn't available. I wonder if it shares parts with another make or model : subaru or other car makers.

  7. #5

  8. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    western PA

    Can't thank you enough!

    Your details, advice, and directions were awesome. I don't usually reply to stuff bc I am so busy but you certainly deserve commendation! You really saved me.

    I bought a used Crosstrek 2015 from a dealer about 4 hours away (was exactly what I wanted). After one week home with it, the problem you described kept happening. I thought, uh oh.

    Then it just wouldn't start at all.

    I searched all over and finally came to your post. Wow, would have never thought of brake light switch but you were exactly right.

    I did what you said, took it out, fiddled with it, put it back in, and voila, it worked.

    Problem was, it kept happening so that eventually I couldn't get the car to start at all. Called the dealer where I bought it....big place, but not subie's, plus I didn't want to take it so far.

    I did what they said, took it to a Subie dealer 40 min away. Drove in and told the guy exactly what the problem was. They ran diagnostics and yes....I was
    exactly right. They guy was AMAZED. Said he's never had a customer figure this out. (I gave you credit, Chuwee). He said people towed their Crosstreks in
    ...I was able to get mine started one last time with the bad switch.

    Here's the good news: I didn't have to send the bill back to the dealer who sold it to me, bc it is a DESIGN FLAW and Subaru covers it, to replace that

    So I just wanted anyone else out there to know...go get under your steering column with a flashlight, pull that baby out, rotate it a little, then put
    it back, start your car, and drive it to a subaru dealer and get the darn thing replaced.

    What a pain in the neck on a car I just bought....supposed to be my one car that is new and doesn't cause me grief and here we are with a problem right out of the

    Well, since then it has been running great.

    The blue part that you can see (way in there, go towards the front of the car til you find it), attaches to a brown plastic piece. Rotate that blue part counterclockwise
    to get it out. Then put it back in.
    That's all I needed to do.

    Hope everyone can get theirs replaced more easily than I did, bc of this post.
    Thanks again.

  9. #7
    If you can't get the car started by fiddling with the switch, you can pry off the little round cap near the shift lever mentioned in this thread to access the emergency bypass for the brake light switch to start the car and change gears.

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