Check if center light works.
Check for power at light sockets.
Check brake light switch.
Manipulate the turn signal lever.
- To check the brake light fuse, open the passenger door and remove the fuse panel cover that is located around the corner from the glove compartment. On the back side of the fuse panel cover there should be a fuse location chart. The brake light fuse is #23, located in the socket that is dead-center among the mini fuses. I believe it is supposed to be a 15A fuse. Confirm the condition of the brake light fuse and replace if necessary. If the fuse fails again, determine and correct the cause.
- Also, see if the center brake light is working properly. If it is, then the brake light switch is working. If the center light is not working, the brake light switch is suspect. That switch is a spring-loaded plunger switch that is of the "normally closed" variety. In this application the switch is usually held open by the brake pedal arm, except when he pedal is depressed. Then the spring within the switch holds the contacts closed so that the brake lights will operate.
That switch is located under the instrument panel. Look for a push-button switch that is contacting the brake pedal lever. If the car has cruise control there will be two switches, one above the other. I believe that the lower of the two is the brake light switch.
- With the brake pedal depressed, see if you have power and ground at the brake light sockets. One good way to confirm that is to remove a brake light bulb and connect a 12v. test light across the contacts in the socket.
- An operating center brake light combined with no power to the 12v+ terminals at the left and right brake light sockets could indicate a defect within the turn signal switch. If you get to the point where you suspect a defect there, try applying rearward pressure on the turn signal lever and see if the brake lights work then. If that procedure confirms that the defect is within the turn signal switch, you can replace the turn signal switch. Or you could try my trick which cost me less than a dollar and has worked for years.
See attached photo.
Spacer (piece of rubber tubing?) is used to apply rearward pressure on turn signal lever. I have not disassembled the switch assembly, but evidence suggests that electrical contacts inside the switch depend on the mechanism being positioned properly. If the internal positioning device failed (perhaps the lever was pushed forward) then an external device can be made to hold the lever and switches in proper location.
If you attempt this repair, consider applying some lubricant as deemed necessary.