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Pete, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 28768
Experience:  17 years automotive training and experience.
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Brake lights dont always work on my 1996 Buick Regal Custom, 3800

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Brake lights do not always work. I checked the brake switch under the dash, it is fine. Followed the wiring in the trunk and found the connector to the tail light harness. Used a tester on the 6 wire male plug and I have a good current on all 6 wires. I identified the wires, white is brake, dark green is right turn, yellow is left turn, light green is back up light, brown is tail lights and black is ground. The female plug to the tail light harness only has 5 wires, all the color wires are there except white. How does the current from the white wire (brake lights) get to the brake lights.   The turn signals all work, back up lights work, parking lights work and brake lights do not work but once in a while. The brake light on the trunk door works fine but not the tail lights.
Hello,one of the most common failures for this type of concern is the multifunction switch(the turn signal switch behind the steering wheel).The brake light signal goes through the turn signal/multifunction switch and then back to the brake lamps,when this switch fails intermittently it can cause this concern.One of the test I always do that most of the time can help isolate if this is the failed component is have two people one watching the brake lamps at the rear of the car and the other pushing on the brake pedal,while pushing on the pedal try wiggling or turn your turn signal lever up and down with the key off and see if your brake lights come on or flash on,if they do while you are doing this then it is the multifunction switch that has failed.Thanks Pete
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Once in a while the brake lights would work when the turn signal was used. How hard is it to get to the turn signal switch?

I believe on this vehicle you dont have to remove the steering wheel,just remove the steering column covers off of the steering column behind the steering wheel,there should be two or three screws to remove at the bottom of the covers and then two hollding the top cover in place,then there should be a few screws holding the switch in place,remove these screws then remove the switch and then you will have to follow the wiring to the base of the column and remove them as well then install your new switch.Thanks Pete
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