Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working: Troubleshooting Guide!

Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working

An image of Ford Ranger's third brake lights - Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working
Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working | Photo credits: Amazon


The third brake light on your Ford Ranger assists other drivers in recognizing when you’re braking, especially if the side brake lights are obstructed.

Therefore, understanding why this light ceases to function and offering a solution is imperative.

So, why isn’t the third brake light on the Ford Ranger operational?

Possible reasons for its malfunction include burned-out bulbs and corroded wiring.

Additionally, the ground wire might be loose or its fuse blown.

Conduct further diagnosis to pinpoint the cause and present a remedy.

The third brake light constitutes a crucial safety component in your Ford Ranger, and this article endeavours to aid you in rectifying any issues with it.

Keep reading to uncover the reasons behind its malfunction and the corresponding solutions.


Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working


The third brake light assembly comprises brake lights and two cargo lights on its sides.

While the third brake light synchronizes with the other two side brake lights, the cargo lights activate as necessary.

Nevertheless, in certain models, these lights may also illuminate during truck reversals.

Similar to other vehicle components, this light is prone to issues and may cease functioning.

In the case of the third-generation model, some owners have reported water ingress into the truck’s headliner through the seal in the third brake light housing.

However, the most significant issue arises when the third brake light fails to illuminate alongside the other two during braking.



Reasons Why The Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working


1. Burned Bulbs:


Burned bulbs can cause the third brake light on your Ford Ranger to malfunction.

Typically, bulbs burn out due to an electrical short circuit, which may occur either due to damaged wiring or exposure to moisture within the housing.


2. Corrosion:


Corrosion presents another potential cause of the third brake light not functioning on your Ford Ranger.

Wires may corrode due to exposure to moisture, facilitated by the seal on the first three Ford Ranger generations, which allows water ingress into the assembly and the vehicle.

When moisture reaches the assembly, it can lead to corrosion in the plug and the bulb holders, thereby disrupting the flow of electric current.


3. Loose Ground:


A loose ground wire is another possible reason for the third brake light not working on your Ford Ranger.

The third brake light relies on its ground connection to the vehicle, and if this connection is loose, the circuit remains incomplete, resulting in the non-operation of the third brake light.


4. Blown Fuse:


In most Ford Ranger models, the third brake light is equipped with a fuse that safeguards it against short circuits and high currents.

If either of these events has occurred earlier, the light may not be working due to a blown fuse.


Diagnosis Of The Reasons


To determine if a bulb is burned out, follow these diagnostic steps:

  1. Access the bulb.
  2. Remove the bulb from the holder.
  3. Check for burnt filaments.
  4. Inspect for corroded holders.

Additionally, consider testing the cargo lights if corrosion is suspected. Follow these steps:

  1. Access the assembly and unplug the plug.
  2. Inspect the plug for corrosion in the pins.
  3. Check inside the bulb holders for signs of corrosion.

To investigate a potential loose ground wire, perform the following:

  1. Trace the ground wire from the third brake light.
  2. Check for loose connections or corrosion along the wire.
  3. Typically, the ground is connected to the vehicle’s body or frame.
  4. If the cargo lamp light also fails to work, it may indicate a bad ground wire, particularly if both lights share the same ground wire.

To ascertain if the fuse is blown, carry out the following steps:

  1. Locate the fuse box, typically situated on the left side of the car under the hood (refer to the user manual for specific locations).
  2. Identify the third brake light fuse, usually labeled as CHMSL or CHMSL/Cargo.
  3. Test the fuse using a test light by touching the holes with its probe.
  4. If the fuse is blown, the tester light should not illuminate.
  5. If no tester is available, remove the fuse and visually inspect it. A dark metallic smear indicates a burned fuse.



Solutions To The Ford Ranger Third Brake Light Not Working


If burned-out bulbs are the issue, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the top cover to access the third brake light.
  2. Unscrew the two Phillips head screws and remove the assembly.
  3. Replace the old bulb with a new one.
  4. Test the new light.

For corroded plugs and holders:

  1. Access the assembly and unplug it.
  2. Soak the plugs in vinegar water or use electric cleaners.
  3. Let them dry before reconnecting and testing.

For loose ground wires:

  1. Remove and clean the wire and connection point.
  2. Reattach securely and test the light.

To replace a blown fuse:

  1. Turn off the vehicle and locate the fuse box.
  2. Remove the old fuse and replace it.
  3. Test the light.

Doing these repairs yourself can save costs compared to hiring a mechanic.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can A Bad Fuse Cause Brake Lights To Stay On?


A faulty brake light fuse could have caused the lights to remain either stuck on or off.

Multiple fuses may be responsible for your brake lights. If so, you must check each one individually.


Why Are My Brake Lights Not Working But My Tail Lights Are?


Malfunctioning light bulbs, in essence, mean that your brake light bulbs may not be functioning correctly, thereby causing issues with your car’s lighting system.

Problems with the fuse box and light switch are another potential reason for your brake lights not working, often stemming from wiring issues.





The malfunction of the third brake light on your Ford Ranger is a crucial concern, as it plays a significant role in indicating braking to other drivers, especially when side brake lights are obscured.

To address this issue, it’s essential to diagnose and rectify potential causes such as burned-out bulbs, corroded wiring, loose ground wires, or blown fuses.

By following appropriate diagnostic steps and implementing solutions, you can ensure the proper functioning of your Ford Ranger’s third brake light, thereby enhancing safety on the road.

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