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Break lights do not work on my 1997 Vw cabrio

Break lights do not work on my 1997 vw cabrio fuse lights and break switch are good

Have you checked that the bulb sockets are getting power and ground when you’re stepping on the brake pedal?

Are you sure all 3 brake bulbs aren’t burned out?

Checking to see if there’s power at the sockets when the brake pedal is applied is the first thing to do as mentioned above. If you are getting power, but the lights won’t light, a bad ground can cause this. If so, the problem would most likely be a ground wire (that is supposed to be connected to the chassis ground) has come loose or broken in the vicinity of the brake lights.

Could you tell me were I could find the ground wire at on this car / and the light are not burned out it still has tail lights but all 3 brake lights are not working…
Thank you
for any help you can offer on this

First of all, do you have a test light?

If you do, let’s make sure the bulb sockets are getting power when you step on the brake pedal?

If you do, then we’ll worry about the ground

First things first, I think

I might add something . . .

Since your taillights are working, I believe you don’t have a ground problem, as the taillights may very well have the same ground as the brake lights

Personally, I think the brake bulb sockets aren’t getting power, in spite of the fact that you say the brake light switch is working

We did try a new brake switch but the person who tried to replace it may have not done it what you are saying is if the tail lights are working we may not have a wire issues and more of a power issue ( the break switch )
Thank you
for your help with this

Here’s a question regarding the brake light switch . . .

Is it an adjustable switch?

Can you define “brake switch is good” . . . ?

A new switch does not necessarily mean power is getting to the brake bulb sockets

A few minutes spent with the test light will give you the answers you need

You can buy a test light at Harbor Freight for $5 or less. If you don’t want to try that, you are just stumbling around in the dark and would be better off paying to have it fixed.

If the break lights aren’t on it means nothing is broken. If it’s the brake lights, on the other hand, follow the posted suggestions.

the ground wire on a VW is brown

Here’s a tip: When I troubleshoot brake light problems…the first thing that I do is to connect the brake light switch wires together. That takes the switch out of the loop. I then use a multi-meter to get 12VDC at the brake light sockets. I leave the light switch (parking lights) off. When you accomplish that…the brake lights will work. Make sure to check the brake light switch with the “ohmmeter” function of the multi-meter to see if it’s working properly. Don’t forget to adjust the brake light switch once it’s installed.

The brake light circuit is simple.

A red wire comes off the positive side of the battery to the fuse block for the 10 amp fuse for the brake lights. Out of the fuse is red wire with a yellow stripe that goes to the brake light switch. Then out of the switch is red wire with a black stripe that goes to the brake lights. The ground wire is brown. But if there were a problem with the ground wire none of the rear lights would work. So that’s not it.

I would try unplugging the brake light switch and insert a jumper wire in the switch electrical connector to see if the brake lights come on. If they do then you know it’s a switch problem. If they don’t come on then I would check the red wire from the battery to the fuse.


A lot of vehicles use the brake lights for the emergency flashers in the rear so see if they work. If they do then the wiring to rear lights is most likely okay and the trouble is most likely near the switch.