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Brake lights not working - try this!

7 posts in this topic

Had an intermittent fault on our 2004 Passat with the ABS/ESP lights coming on, on the dash.

Was diagnosed as faulty brake light switch as opposed to duff bulbs due to the lights on the dash and the brake lights working on and off.

Today was the day I finally got round to sorting it - £9 for the part from the dealers and half the drivers side dash off!

Scary thought I know - but its not as bad as you first think.

0. Put the drivers seat right back, fully reclined onto the rear seat and if you have a height adjuster, drop it right down - you will end up with your head against the brake pedal, just to get easier access - well I did anyway!

1. Remove the lower portion of the driver side dash - 4 screws (maybe 3) - two under the fuse box cover and one in the cubby hole, one in the owners manual slot (bloody git to get to!)

2. Gently pull the dash towards the drivers seat - you'll have to unclip the connectors for the headlights, the instrument dimmer and the CANBUS connector (under the insulation).

3. Right under the dash is a white plastic clip - behind the accelerator - the dash hooks into this and needs a bit of a wiggle to free it!

4. Up under the dash now - on the 'wall' by the centre console you'll see two switches with 'fingers' we're after the one withOUT the rubber cowling and 4 wires (2 outer are slightly thicker) - if in doubt follow the brake pedal up and around and you'll come to a big black plate with the finger of the switch against it.

5. Twist the body of the switch gently - it'll go one way but not the other - don't force it!

6. Once its loose, pop it out of the mounting hole and unclip the connector block.

7. Depending on the replacement part there's several routes to take. I suggest reading the following webpages and taking it easy as the instructions are US and for golf/jettas - parts are still the same mind just different location (ish)

VWvortex Forums: DIY - Installing a new brake light switch (without breaking it!)

8. Once its in - CHECK THE BRAKE LIGHTS - then when all seems OK, follow 3, 2, 1 in that order making sure that you go slowly so you seat the trim properly and don't forget to plug in the connectors especially the CANBUS. Don't force anything as thats when expensive mistakes happen!

Photos to follow!

Edited by pontyslapper

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New one on top of the old one - notice how much 'meatier' it looks!

OLD Part No - 3B0 945 511A

NEW Part No - 1K2 945 511 RDW

Photos for part 1


Notice the 2 screw holes - one to the side of the top lot of fuses, the other underneath the lowest fuses.


This one is a git - both in and out - towards the top left hand side of the owners manual slot.


Not quite so bad - and possibly not needing undoing - I did just in case. The cubby hole by your right knee!

Photos for part 2


The big one is the lightswitch, small one the dimmer.


The reverse view of the CANBUS/VAGCOM port - I've 'peeled' back the insulation along its natural cut to show the CANBUS in place.

Photos for part 4


You can just make out the 2 switches - the clutch is the one with the rubber shroud, closer to the steering rod. The one we want is the one with the four coloured wires coming out (this photo is the new one in place!).


A closer look for part 4!

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If you manage to get an 'old' part you have to install in the following way...

1. Apply the brakes - you may need to start the engine - keep 'em pressed!

2. Insert the part - it'll only go one way don't force it.

3. Let the brakes off so the 'brake plate' moves the 'finger' - give the brake pedal a little pull to make sure its fully 'off'.

4. Now twist and lock the switch in place.

If you mess any part of this up you at the very least have to start over or end up buying a new part!

If you have the 'new' part (1K2 part number) this is fitted with the brake pedal 'off' so as it is. Fitting it with the 'old' instructions means it locks 'shut' when you release the brake pedal. So if you have the new part numbered bit - brake released to fit!

The old ones must have been a git to fit - all that fiddling while applying the brakes with your head - when you do it you'll know what I mean!

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Brilliant young saved me money - time and headaches.......ABS and warning triangle lights came on together brake lights either. Diagnosed as needing a pedal switch.    SQUEALER/STEALER wanted £28 plus vat.......local factors £4.90

I started to do the job - looked easy-peasy until I couldn't find that last screw holding the dash part on.......then this post showed me how.....little bugger tucked away out of sight. Once I got that one it was plain sailing although a bit awkward for a big fella like me. I had almost given up and asked the squealer/stealer/dealer for a price.....was quote £87.00 plus vat. Needless to say I chose to persevere...

However got it all done - in truth it took an absolute novice like me 20 minutes from start to finish.....brake lights fine and no ABS or warning triangle on the dash lights!!!!!   Thank you

Only one thing that little "troublesome" screw inside the top of the Handbook holder panel is a pain to get back in.....leaving that for another day when I'm in a better mood!!!!!


Wish all posts were as informative as this one.....thanks again....

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