Toyota Corolla brake light burnt out?

I’ve recently noticed that the right brake light on my 2003 corolla is not working. When I turn on the light, all the bulbs in the rear right seems to light up (except turn signal of course). when I pressed on the brake, the right brake bulb doesn’t get brighter like the left one. Two questions:

  1. Am I crazy when I see the brake light bulb turn on with other bulbs (i.e. is it suppose to be on when light is turn on and just get brighter when brake is pressed)?
  2. Is this a burnt out bulb that I can easily replace myself or potentially a wiring problem that I may need a mechanic for?

It’s probably just a burned out bulb and easily replaced. Look in your owner’s manual for instructions how to do this. When you turn on the headlights, the tail lights turn on also. And it is hard to differentiate between the light from the brake light vs the other tail lights. I suspect that part is a red herring. First thing is to try replacing the appropriate bulb on the non-lighting side. Any auto parts store will stock it.

That’s a burnt out bulb.

The filament in the bulb for the turn signal/brake light has blown.

Open the trunk and look to see if there’s removable panel to gain access to the bulb. Then replace the one that looks black.


Do want to add that when turn signal is on, the light does blink correctly. Not sure if that helps.

The turn signal is probably a different bulb or filament. Do you have the schematic? That would tell you for sure.

It blinks faster when you turn on the right turn signal.

That means there’s a burned out bulb on the right side.


I have switch both the rear light and the signal light between left and right. Both work as expected except the brake light is now broken for both. As far as I can tell from online guide and personally poking around, there are only two bulbs in the rear compartment and both work. I have a funny feeling it’s the brake relay.

So your right “BRAKE” light was not working, you replaced both the left and right brake bulbs with new ones and now neither is working? Something about this doesn’t make sense. What happens when you put both your old bulbs back in? Are you installing the bulbs properly? Does your center brake light work properly?

The turn signal light is a separate bulb from the brake light. The turn signal light bulb is behind the amber lens. You just need the tail/brake light. Its a single bulb with two filaments and the brake light filament is burned out. You can expect the bulbs to start burning out with a 10 year old car.

From what I can see there is no brake relay on this car. The power for the circuit appears to come from the battery power distribution circuits, through the “stop” fuse, then to a red-white wire to the stop lamp switch (either under the brake pedal or part of the brake hydraulic system, probably near the master cyl) , then to a green-white wire to a junction connector, then separate green-white wires to both left and right brake lamps, and another separate green-white wire to the high mounted stop light, from there white-black wires to grounds.

As I understand it, you haven’t replaced any bulbs, but switched a couple left/right. And now neither lights? Does the high mounted stop light still work? Have you ohmed out the filaments in the suspect bulbs? Have you checked for appropriate continuity to ground for the lamp circuit?

The bulbs are sold in pairs and are cheap, just get a couple new ones and install them.