Brake light problems

I was told by a few people that one of my brake lights was out so i took it to autozone to have them help replace the bulb. When the guy went to make my brake lights light up to see which side needed replacing, both lights worked fine. they tried a few things to see if it would go out again, but it didn’t, so i didn’t get it replaced. Recently, i was pulled over, and the cop said my rear light was out so when i got home, i got my roommate to help me see what light was out, but again, both brake lights came on just fine, whether i was in park, reverse or neutral. I’m beginning to think it’s a wiring issue, but i’m not sure. Is it really expensive to get your brake light wiring replaced?

sorry about spelling, auto correct couldn’t decide which version of brake/break to use haha

Misread. But redirect, what car do you have?
Is this a Volvo 240? If so did you test it in drive? I’ve had similar problems. For me it finally ended up being a sensor that is designed to test whether the light bulbs are working.(Brake Failure Warning Sensor, BFWS). But when it goes bad it can stop working the brake lights while in drive.
Found the article I used to diagnose this problem. Not sure if this forum rules allow cross site solution, but here it is.
Edit: link to diagnostic steps on Volvo Forums.
Edit 2: realized not tagged specific to vehicle. And name of sensor


If you’ll look beneath the post, you’ll see that it’s tagged as “light, Pontiac, brake, Vibe”

It could be the switch on your brake pedal that isn’t operating correctly.
When you got pulled over, were all brake lights out - including the one on the rear window?

Of course, it could also be that the cop was just checking you out. Creepy but that has happened to my daughter several times.

Check your brake lights with your headlights off, then again with the headlights on. If one of them doesn’t work with the headlights on, then the ground for that bulb is open.

Replace the bulbs.

I had a similar problem on my Corolla. Sometimes it would light, sometimes not, and sometimes it would light but be dim. Embarrassing, as it was noticed by the driver’s license tester who was testing my gf for the road-skills part of her license exam. It turned out that the ground screw for one of the tail light units was loose. I had to remove a plastic gizmo in the trunk area to access it, but it was simple to fix. Worth a look-see anyway.

And maybe it isn’t the brake light that is out. The people telling you this may be misinterpreting what they are seeing. Wait until dark, then ask someone to help you check all the lights in back. The tail lights should all turn on when the headlights are on. Check the turn signal lights too, and the license plate light, and the brake lights again. Do all these checks in both high beam and low beam mode. Maybe it is some kind of current related problem.

@GeorgeSanJose–I think you are onto something. I would bet that Serenity863 do what you suggest–test the brake lights with the headlights turned on. I’ll bet than when she checked them at AutoZone and at home, the headlights were off. If the policeman stopped her at night, the headlights would have been on. A bad ground would be the first place to check.