1987 Toyota Camry Brake Light Problems

If you have a 1987 Toyota Camry sitting in your driveway, it is nearly a quarter of a century old. After that length of time, it's inevitable that parts will begin to malfunction due to simple wear and tear. Brake light problems are a common symptom of an aging car. While this is not something that will affect the day-to-day operation of your Camry, a burned-out brake light can lead to rear-end fender benders. At the very least, you may get a traffic ticket.

This process does not require tools.

Brake Light Problems

Bulb Problems

The simplest explanation for why the brake lights are not working is because a bulb is burned out. Replacing the bulb is a simple repair and a replacement bulb won't cost much. Open the trunk and remove the trim panel located near the brake light socket. Avoid touching the bulb, as oil from your fingers will adhere to the bulb and reduce its life. If you see carbon or black soot on the inside of the bulb, it needs to be replaced.

Fuse Problems

Open the fuse box and inspect the interior and exterior lighting fuses. If any of the filaments on the fuses are broken or if a fuse appears burnt, it could explain the problem with your brake lights. You can purchase a fuse testing device at your local auto parts store. Follow the directions included with the tester and replace any fuses that have failed.

Wiring Problems

Electrical wiring that is over two decades old has a tendency to fray or break. Inspect the wires leading from the brake-light bulb sockets for worn insulation or broken wires. Follow the wiring as far up through the vehicle panels as you can. Replace old wiring if necessary.

Switch Problems

If the brake problem cannot be attributed to the bulb, a fuse or old wiring, it's possible the brake switch could be bad. The switch is located under the dash panel, where the brake pedal rests. When you push down on the pedal, the switch should activate the brake lights. The switch may have popped loose or broken, causing brake light failure.

Socket Problems

The brake lights may not come on if the socket that holds the brake-light bulb assembly is not seated properly. The grounding wire might not be connected to the vehicle frame or the socket has not been inserted correctly. Additionally, if the connectors on the socket have become corroded, the light bulbs may not be able to receive current. Cleaning off the corrosion might fix the problem and, if not, the socket should be replaced. If the bulbs are corroded, replace those are well.

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