How To Check Your Brake Lights

Checking Your Lights On Your Own

rear-brake-lightIn one of our recent blogs we gave you a list of 9 things you can do to prepare your car for it’s upcoming NCT. In it we covered everything from checking fluid levels to making sure you have your paperwork in order. One of our sections also looked at advising you on ways to check that all the vehicles lights were in working order and that there was no blown bulbs.

My car recently failed it’s NCT due a misaligned front light. While waiting for my second test I did a quick search to see what are the most popular reasons for a car to fail its NCT.

Luckily publish their average yearly test scores which gives you an idea of some of the common causes of cars failing their first NCT.

Front Suspension 1
Tyre Condition 2
Brake Line / Hoses 3
Stop Lamps 4
Steering Linkage 5

What jumped out at me after reading through the list is that a lot of failures were as a result of issues relating to brake lights which seemed strange until I thought about it a bit more. Indicators and front beams are easy to check on your own, or with someone else, but checking brake lights can cause an issue if you don’t have someone to help.

So if you are going to be taking your car to it’s NCT and you want to do a last minute check on your break lights here is a quick "how to" to help out if you have no one around to help.

How To Check Your Brake Lights On Your Own

There are two ways to check your car's brake lights:

  • Using the reflection in a window/reflective surface.
  • Getting out of the car your self.

If you are planning on getting out of the car to check them here is a simple way to check your lights. All you will need is floor brush/mop or something to put enough pressure on the brake pedal to engage the lights.

What To Do

  • Turn the ignition on and make sure the vehicle is not in gear.
  • Open the car door.
  • Put one end of the floor brush/ mop on the brake pedal. Alternatively use what ever you are using to engage the brake pedal.
  • Push down until the brake is engaged and then lock in place so that the pedal remains pushed down.
  • Go around the back of your car and check the lights. Depending on the year you car came off the production line it may have two or three lights brake lights to check on the rear of the car.
  • Two are located either side of the rear bumper and the third is mounted in the centre usually in the back window. This light is sometime referred to as "centre brake lamp", the "third brake light", the "eye-level brake lamp", the "safety brake lamp", or the "high-level brake lamp".

Once you have checked the lights you will know if you need to do anything further before the NCT. If one or more of your brake lights aren't working properly then it might mean one of the following three things:

  • The brake light system fuse is blown.
  • The brake light bulbs are burned out.
  • The brake light wiring switch is broken.

Replacing bulbs can vary between models so check your owners manual to make yourself familiar with the process. For many of us anything outside of changing a bulb can be complex and could become costly so it might be best to bring your vehicle to a professional mechanic for certain fixes.

Once you have passed your NCT make sure your car insurer is updated of all changes. If you are a Chill Insurance customer you can contact our customer service team on 01 4003400 and they will work with you on updating your information.