Re: Brake lights out at separate times, but both bulbs...
I would double check the bulbs, i dont know much about escapes but most cars run a twin filament bulb, one is for taillights, the other for stoplights, if its not that it may be a brake sensor fault or somethings shorting out somewhere.
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Open it up and you will probably find something loose at the bulb socket, either a wire or the socket itself may be bad. Try holding the bulb in firmly while someone hits the brake a couple times. Maybe you'll see the problem. That brake light is simply spliced into your other rear brake lights. So, unless the splice has worked partially loose, the problem should be at the high mount light there.
Check System Fuse - A fuse is used to protect the brake light circuit from amperage overload. If the fuse has failed it will not allow the electrical current to continue to the brake lights. To check the fuse, first locate the brake light system fuse in the fuse panel which is either under the dash or under the hood in the power distribution center. Connect the test light to a ground like an engine or dash bracket and turn the ignition key to the "on" position. Using the test light probe both sides of the fuse. If the test light illuminates on both sides the fuse is okay continue onto the next step. If one side of the fuse illuminates the fuse has failed and needs to be replaced. If the fuse fails as soon as it is replaced or when you apply the brake pedal the brake light electrical circuit is shorted to ground. Rarely a system short can occur, a car repair manual is needed to find the wiring schematic for the brake light circuit. Once the brake light wiring has been located inspect and repair as needed.
Check Brake Light Bulbs - All cars have three brake light bulbs that create the brake light illumination affect. If all of these brake light bulbs fail no brake light operation will occur. I know what you're thinking, you might say all three brake lights at once? But in reality one brake light went out at a time and you did not notice. People only tend to notice something when they almost run into the back of your car to help persuade them to inform you the brake lights aren't working. Remove any of the brake light bulbs to confirm the bulb is okay or burned. After the bulb has been removed inspect the filament and replace if failed. If the brake light bulbs are okay continue to the next step.
Checking the Brake Light Switch - A control switch is used to connect the brake light electrical circuit. This switch is located near the brake pedal lever. Basic switches have just two wires, power in and power out to the turn signal switch. Use a test light that is grounded and with the key in the "on" position test for power at one side (wire) of the switch, then press the brake pedal while testing the opposite side (wire). It should illuminate the test light, if electrical power is connected through the switch go to the next step. If no power is detected through the switch the brake light switch has failed and replacement is required. If your car is equipped with more than two wires integrated into the brake light switch a car repair manual is needed to locate the proper brake light circuit wiring.
Since the high mounted brake light works you know that the brake light switch is working. Now you need to check the brake light bulbs in the rear tail light assemblies. The brake lights are separate from the tail light (parking or running lights). There are two screws that hold the rear light assemblies in place.
I had this problem on my 98. Turned out to be the brake switch which is located at the top of the brake pedal arm. I went to autozone and bought the switch (under $20) and the sales clerk actually put it in for me after I asked a couple of questions about the location of the switch ... easy solution for me (-;