BMW E36 Blog

Replacing BMW E36 brakes switch!

15th March 2007

Replacing BMW E36 brakes switch!

Hello my friends,


The BMW E36 brakes switch can fail easily and you should always check to make sure that your brakes are working fine. Of course, if you’ve checked and found that the brake lights are not working, you should fix the problem. First, you should check the rear lamps to make sure they’re working fine. If you found that they’re working fine, this means that you have to replace your brakes switch. The following article (which I found originally here) will guide you through this simple process . . . so enjoy it and after you finish, send me some $$$ LOOOL! just kidding.



Disclaimer: Use this procedure at your own risk!! I’m not responsible for your mistakes man! 😀


There may come a time when someone on the road motions to you about your brake lights not coming on. The brake pedal switch (Figure 1) in both the E30 and E36 BMWs gets a lot of use, and has a tendency to fail once and a while. Replacement is really easy, and should take only about 30 minutes maximum.



The first step is to verify that your brake lamps are not working. If you’re by yourself, then wait until night time and back up against a brick wall. You should see the reflection off of the wall when you step on the brakes – if you don’t, then your switch is probably shot. It’s important to note that at least on some years, the BMW warning system that tells you when a lamp is out will not tell you if the switch is broken – you will have to figure it out for yourself.


The first step is to gain access to the switch. Remove the panel directly above the driver’s side foot well. This panel is secured by a few screws (Figure 2), and a few snaps as well (Figure 3). In addition, you may have an electrical speaker unit attached to the panel. Disconnect the harness (Figure 4) and pull the panel down (Figure 5).






The brake switch is shown in Figure 6. It’s the rater large switch assembly that moves in conjunction with the brake pedal. Remove the harness from the brake switch (Figure 7) and yank it out of it’s bracket. I found that I had to break the plastic housing of the switch in order to remove it (Figure 8). That’s perfectly okay, since you will be replacing it with a new one very soon anyways.





To finish the job, simply install the new switch into place, and reconnect the wire harness. Test the brake lights to make sure that they are working properly, and then reinstall the knee panel.


Well, there you have it – it’s really not too difficult at all.

Are you looking for more do it yourself procedures (DIY) ? I recommend the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual for you. I got it and I think it’s a gold mine for us -BMW E36 Owners-. If you didn’t grab your copy yet, get it right now! I’m sure you’ll find this book worth every penny you’ve paid for. Get the Bentley BMW 3 series service manual


Wait for more from . . . BMW E36 Blog


Best regards,

Tony Sticks.

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posted in Brakes, Do It Yourself, Technical Info | 6 Comments