I would like to use this post to say thank you. Thank you to the internet (Google) and YouTube for all of the helpful information that can be found with a quick search. I belong to a few automotive forums and truly appreciate all of the individuals that have gone before me and fixed or customized something…anything. Whether it is a light switch, garbage disposal and especially a car. Your help has been tremendous throughout the years. Enough cannot be said about these brave souls that dive in head first, cameras rolling and post up a step-by-step tutorial (with pictures), how-to and even how-not-to videos. I myself am a do-it-yourselfer and have found myself in need of some technical support at times and last weekend was no exception.
This past Mother’s Day Weekend, my son and I headed out last minute to buy some cards for his mom and grandma on Saturday. We made a few stops here and there, checked out a CLEAN black Audi A4 S-Line (my next vehicle? Hmmm). After that we returned home. My wife was not back yet from running her errands, so my son and I pulled into the garage and went into the house. We needed to start getting ready for a surprise 70th birthday celebration. Before I headed upstairs to change I hear the garage open up. It was the Mrs. She pulled into the garage and walks in the house and immediately ask “Did you do something to your car?” Fear ran down my spine because on a number of occasions, I have tried to pull a fast one over her and do a modification whenever she left the house. I had a perplexed look about me as my brain scrambled to think. Did I do something and not tell her…again? Ok, no mods…whew! Rather unsure sounding, I so No and asked why did ask. She tells me that all of my brake lights are on and obviously there is no one in the car. Now I am really confused.
I head out to the garage and sure enough red lights are reflecting off of the inside of the garage door. I played around with the brake pedal, the emergency brake. Opened up the garage and started the car, shut it off. Enabled and disabled the alarm and nothing was working. Crap! Of all the days for this to happen. We needed to leave soon for the surprise party and tomorrow was Mothers Day. It would be hard to have a part ordered and shipped on Sunday. With quick thinking, I pulled the brake light fuse and let my little TT sit there dormant until I can do some research and figure out what was wrong.
With my trusty phone, I was able to do a quick search before we left the house and discovered that a faulty brake light switch could be the culprit…if I was lucky. Older VW’s and Audi’s are notorious for electrical problems and after dealing with my daughters 2001 Beetle, I was really concerned. Later that night I hit the internet forums, YouTube and read more articles from people who shared the same issue over the years and how expensive it would be for the dealer to replace a $5 part. Luckily it turns out to be and easy fix, I was just hoping that I could find the part on a Sunday.
The good thing about owning an older Audi is that the local auto parts store may have the part. The bad is that it’s a German car and may need to order the part. After some searching, I was able to find a replacement part for $4.95 at O’Reilly. Lucky for me they have late weekend business hours. After spending the day with my mom I headed to the parts store and I was able to buy the LAST one they had in stock. Here are some pics of the 20-minute repair job.
Had to pull the lower dash off. Yes the panel under the steering wheel. Check out the seats side bolsters that hold me in place when taking freeway on ramps 🙂
This is what it looks like under your dash right above your pedals. That little purple thing on the lower right is the switch.
You can see here, the old part and the replacement part side by side. The green one is the new replacement part.
A simple twist and click. Plug the electrical clip back in, replace the fuse and voila!
Now the kicker is that when I pulled the original switch out and put it back in to test it, the brake lights functioned perfectly. SMH. Replaced it anyway with the new part so I wont have to worry.
Again thank you Google, YouTube and the VWVortex forum. You have saved me $100 in labor. Now what to do with that $100? Hehe.