The dashboard lights go on when I hit the brakes!



Yesterday, as I was driving to work the cruise control suddenly stopped working and then, a little while later, the brake lamp light went on even though all my brake lights are working. Later, at the end of the day, I realized that everytime I hit the brake the dashboard lights go on. Is this an electrical problem? Help! (please!)


Yup. And on a vehicle that age I’d suspect frayed and/or cracked insulation in a wiring harness where it routes through a body hole.

You have a spring loaded button that is normally kept “open” by your brake pedal lever and “closes” when you press your brakes and release the button, completeing the circuit to ground for your brake lights and allowing them to light. Somehow that switch is now also completeing the circuit for your dashboard lights. My guess is that somewhere in a wiring harness the two circuis have now begun to touch.

Finding where could be a real project unfortunately. A shop that works with automotive electrical systems will look up the schematic and the wiring harness routing and may be able to locate the likely source of the short. They’d then need to break open the harnness, confirm the bad spot, splice the wires, and rewrap the harness.