How to change a brake light switch, Chevy Aveo

Aveo Brake Light Switch

This is what an Aveo brake light switch looks like
This is what an Aveo brake light switch looks like

I didn't know my car even had a part called a brake light switch until it broke last week.  My 05 Aveo wouldn't go out of park (annoying) unless I used the emergency brake and I had to start my car while in neutral.  The biggest problem with a broken brake light switch is that the brake lights no longer register that the brake pedal is being depressed, and as a result do not light up. Dangerous. Turned out this little plastic piece is a big deal in Aveo-land.  It is luckily a pretty cheap part to fix, although no car part stores carried it in our area, so we had to buy the part from a dealership.  A brake light switch will set you back about 10 bucks if you fix it yourself, and we were quoted a little more than $50 at the dealership.

The hardest part about replacing a broken brake light switch is getting to where it's located.  You're going to want to put the driver's seat as far back as it will go, to give yourself as much room as possible.  Putting a towel on the ground will help cushion your knees as you become an amateur contortionist in order to reach the switch.  A flashlight is also very handy. The brake light switch is located above the brake pedal about 3/4 of the way up the metal bar which connects your pedal to your car.  It is secured by a small bracket and it has a little round nubbin (for lack of a better description) which remains in contact with the metal bar above your brake pedal.  It is connected to the wiring system with a white plastic piece which kind of resembles an electrical plug/socket combo.

Once you've located the brake light switch, unplug the switch from the electrical system.  This is fairly easy to do, but be gentle, since these are thin plastic parts you're working with.  Gently twist the brake light switch to the left with steady pressure.  It may take a couple of tries, but don't get frustrated and force it.  The switch will pop loose and then all you need to do is replace the old with the new.  

Connect the new brake light switch to the electrical system, which is by far the easiest part of the process.  Getting the new brake light switch to click in place is a little tricky because it is hard to see what you're doing, while getting enough leverage to turn it into place.  Be patient.  Position the new switch so that the contours match the bracket.  Once you have it positioned, just turn the switch to the right with steady pressure.  You'll know it's in the correct position when you hear a satisfying click as the switch locks into place.

This is definitely a manageable part to fix yourself.  I'm not a girl with a whole lot of auto repair experience, and it took me about 10 minutes to do.  If you know what you're doing, I bet it will take about 2 minutes.  This is a simple fix, which will save you time and money, and by far the hardest part of the repair is just getting to the part.   

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Comments 43 comments

Julie 6 years ago

Thanks


Denise 6 years ago

Thank you so much for your description. I am going to attempt it tomorrow.


Felicia  6 years ago

Thank you so very much... I too have an 05 aveo having the same issue right now thinking it was gonna be super expensive.. you've made my worries disappear!


michellee 6 years ago

thank you been having the same problem, and your right it took less than 5 min to fix and i did feel like a contortionist


Catherine 6 years ago

Hey there,

I have an Aveo (standard). For the info of your followers, the standard version has a switch (neutral safety switch) above the clutch which. If the metal inside this breaks then your car won't start - period.

It is the same proceedure as you describe to change this switch above the clutch. One little hint though it is sometimes easier to twist the switch off and then unplug the wiring. If, you happen to have this problem but really need your car to get to the parts dealer you can by-pass by connecting a wire in the unplugged wiring harness (plug each wire end into respective female receptors and tape with electrical wire). This bipass will allow you to start your car and get to the shop.

I actually took the safety switch apart and soddered the tiny metal pieces back together and then reassembled it and re-installed it. My 9 yr old daughter helped and was over the moon to think that she helped fix the car!

For everyone's info.


Catherine 6 years ago

Oops,

tape with electrical tape, electrical tape and not electrical wire! lol


Henagu 6 years ago

Hi Thanks for hints..I have same experience here in Dubai about Aveo 5 its stuck when i try to change my gear i mean my car gear...


Mike K 6 years ago

Just did this in 2 minutes thanks to you! I couldn't find anything else near as descriptive. Thank you so much for posting this!


Barry 6 years ago

Gee, you think you could provide a part number?


clifton 5 years ago

i had a problem with getting aveo out park i read and article about the problem and i fixed it thank you so much


Chris 5 years ago

I have the EXACT same problem with my '08 Aveo, and we just tried fixing it ourselves. We know it's the brake switch, but I need to know where to buy it, any suggestions?


juliarg profile image

juliarg 5 years ago Author

Hi Chris! Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. I ended up purchasing the part through a local Chevy dealership since I had a tough time finding it other places (and I wanted to be sure it was the correct part for my year and model). Hope that helps!


DHealy 5 years ago

great advice... worked perfect for me.... 15 minutes and it was in...

Thanks


KP 5 years ago

Thank you so much! this helped a lot!


Dan 5 years ago

You just saved me big time. I just replaced the part and the break lights are working great. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!


angelina 5 years ago

thank you so much, I will def try doing this...:)


PS 5 years ago

My car just did this today, I hope that is all that is wrong with it.


Heather 4 years ago

Wow, you were the first hit when I typed in 'chevy aveo brake lights not working' and sure enough, that was the problem! I know how to change a tire and a light bulb, but otherwise no mechanical aptitude here, and it only took me about two minutes. My car CONSTANTLY gets stuck in park, but this was the first time the brake lights all went out - maybe that was the problem all along!

Thanks for the info!


Cowboy Zook 4 years ago

Thanks for the help. I was having a tough time trying to find the dang part. I'm good with engines, not electrical stuff.


simplesight 4 years ago

Thank you thank you!!!! I didn't even know my lights were not working. I just thought it was weird that I couldn't move my car out of park without the emergency break lock and my Dad alerted me to the fact that my break lights were out. Since he isn't here to help me put the part in (I also had it order the part) your instructions have helped me immensely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dawn 4 years ago

Thanks so much ...for posting this I'm going to try to fix my 2007 aveo its a shame we have to do this ..


youknowwho 4 years ago

pep boys and autozone carry the parts, if out of stock they can order it for you at no charge.


Eric Terry Sr profile image

Eric Terry Sr 4 years ago from Chattanooga, Tennessee

JULIARG!!!!! YOU ARE A GENIUS AND I THINK I LOVE YOU!! LOL!! I don't know how much money you just saved me and my son, but its all thanks to you!! Your post on replacing the Brake switch in the Chevy Aveo was dead on!! I literally had him go buy the part from the dealer for $14.13. When I got off of work, I took my iPad outside,and followed your instructions and BAM!! We're in business!! THANK YOU!!! One question though....You got anything on replacing the Cam Sensor on a 2005 PT Cruiser?? LOL!


Farrah 4 years ago

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!


Chris Picco 4 years ago

You are amazing! Thank you!

I was worried that my 2005 Chevy Aveo's lack of ALL brake lights was a wiring problem. A smog shop was the first to let me know about the issue, but offered no solutions. I asked a shop to look at it when they were replacing the catalytic converter - no help there either. The suggestion was to take it to a dealer. Then I did a search online and your post was one of the top to show up.

I called pep boys (Redlands, CA) and they had the part, although they were skeptical that it would be the solution. Picked up the brake light switch for 9.99 and installed back at home in about 3 minutes (the hardest part was finding a towel to put on the ground to kneel on). I now have brake lights and I can shift from park without accessing the shift unlock button. So THANK YOU for saving me time and money :)


Lyle Gordon 4 years ago

Thanks very much for your instructions. I just replaced the brake sensor on my girlfriend's '08 Aveo.

The part is available on Amazon for anyone who needs it. Got it the next day!


Nicole 4 years ago

Thanks so much for the instructions! I heard the satisfying click and thought I was good to go, but then the brake lights wouldn't go off... was just as simple as taping a piece of cardboard to the metal plate on the break pedal so that the pin pushed in far enough in on the sensor when the brake wasn't in use so the lights went off. Definitely felt like a contortionist but it was all worth it when I was victorious at fixing the car!!! Not something a larger individual could do without removing the seat because it was definitely a tight squeeze to get the right angle to be able to see where the part lines up. Got the part at Napa, they ordered it and it came in in less than 24 hrs. Cost lest than $10. Wonderful!


LeVar Anthony 3 years ago

Maybe I'm not twisting it hard enough, but I just cant seem to get it out. Maybe I'm just afraid of braking something. Or do I need to disconnect some wires or something first?


Daniel 3 years ago

Thank you so much! It worked great! the only thing we would mention is that it went in much easier when we pressed on the brake while putting it in. Thanks again!


Linda 3 years ago

Thanks for the perfect instructions! My brake lights would not work and neither did my gear shift! I looked it up and it said that if the brake switch is out you can't get your car out of gear. Never connected the two. You have saved me a lot of money. Part was only 8.00!


thanks 3 years ago

Thank you,

I just got finished doing this


Rachelle 3 years ago

I know you posted this years ago but it really saved me today!!!! Many thanks!!!!!


darren 3 years ago

hahahahaha who would have thought that a post from so many years ago would save our vacation!!!! We were on a road trip and days away from any mechanics that I know and your post just saved me a lot of money. I just replaced the brake light switch in my 2011 aveo for $15 at O-Reily auto parts and we were back on the road in about 30 minutes.

Thank you so much for your instructions they were very easy to follow and more importantly they were correct!!!!


Eric 3 years ago

This is one of the BEST posts I've ever found online! The first time my brake switch broke @ 20,000 miles, I had to bring the car to the dealership. When it broke again @ 60,000 miles, I decided to see if it was something I could do myself. I bought the part for $6 on Amazon and used your VERY helpful instructions to get the job done easily and super quick! Thanks SO much!!!


janet 3 years ago

Thank you sooo much it took me all of 5 minutes to do!! ladies it's as simple as he said . . . you can do it.


Uncerevorobex 3 years ago

Well I truly enjoyed reading it. This article provided by you is very constructive for proper planning.

Peabbegexpelt


Larry 2 years ago

Thanks for a great post. I had to replace one on my daughter Aveo. The plunger on the switch may have to be pulled out a liitle to make it long enough it seems to be adjustable and kind of clicks when you pull it out or push it in.


Charlie 2 years ago

Thanks so much for this post. It was exactly what was wrong with my Chevy Aveo.


Stephanie 2 years ago

Thank you so much. This happened to my car and I had no guy to help me. Thanks to you, I did it all on my own. Thank you for taking a photo of the part....parts store gave me the wrong piece at first and I was able to show them the part I needed. You are such a blessing to me for posting this. Thank you!


Illa 21 months ago

Walked up to the counter in Autozone, bought the thingy for $10.48 after tax, did the limbo to get under the steering wheel, popped it on, totally fixed! Super easy, thank you so much!


Muhammad 15 months ago

Perfect, it works. Thanks so much. It was very helpful.


tww1962 14 months ago

After what I have been through tonight, I really appreciate you, and from your description I can see that you know EXACTLY what you are talking about. It is time to try and replace this "2005 aveo brake light switch"...thanks for the post.


Juan Santiago 6 months ago

After reading your description of replacing the brake light switch, I did so on my 2010 Chevy Aveo and sure enough it worked. It took all of about 3 minutes after buying it at O'reillys for $8.99. Same price at Auto Zone. I thank you very much for this post and saving me lots of money.

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