I have a '97 VW Jetta and after recently replacing a blown brake light, both brake lights and the “third brake light” are always illuminated. When I step on the brakes they get a little brighter but when I release the brake pedal they are still on. Here’s the kicker. This car has daytime running lights and there is a switch where you control if just the DRL are on or if the tail lights, parking lights, etc are on. If that switch is off and just the DRL are on, everything works fine, but once the switch is flipped to “illuminated” mode all the brakes light up like New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I have replaced bulbs, checked fuses and I don’t know what else to do. If anyone could provide some direction on this I would be greatly appreciative.
VW has had some problems with the brake light switch. I am not sure the 1997s were included in the recall, but I understand they also had the same problem, but maybe to a lesser degree. I’d guess your cruse control also does not work.
I would start by checking to see if there was a recall on your car, might just ask them for any recall information, and if so get the switch replaced. You should be able to find out from your local dealer. Be ready to give them the VIN number.
Of course there are other possibilities, but I believe that is the most likely.