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2002 Chevrolet Silverado:
Brake Lights Out with Headlights Off?

Alex Steele
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seen in Truck Trend



I have a 2002 Silverado LS, and I have never really had any problems out of it. About two days ago I got pulled over because my brake lights weren't working. Anyway, after tinkering around trying to figure out what was wrong, I realized that everything works perfectly only when the headlights are on.


The truck has automatic headlights and daytime running lights. Well, the brake lights only work if I manually turn on the headlights. I also noticed that the daytime running lights aren't coming on at all. I really think it has to be a switch, fuse, relay, etc (at least I hope it is), but I just don't know. The Chevy dealer told me it would cost $110 just to look at it. I just don't want to pay these guys that much to replace a fuse.




Late model exterior lighting circuits are not as simple as way back when, and your brake lamp problem can have a number of potential causes. But you're right, start with the basics. Check all the fuses (under hood and under dash), especially the 20 amp "Stop LPS" fuse located in the under hood fuse block.


The 12volts for the brake lights originates at that fuse (assuming there is voltage at the fuse block feeding the fuse). From that point, power goes to the brake light switch which is located at the brake pedal, and then past a few other connections before actually reaching the brake light bulbs. The brake lights circuit is "hot at all times" and should work even with the headlamp switch and the ignition switch in the off position.


Just a guess, but it sounds like that fuse may be burned out and you're getting feedback voltage from another circuit when you turn on the headlamps. Of course, the cause of an overloaded circuit which burned the fuse is another ball of wax.


If all fuses are good, and power is applied to the brake lamp switch with the ignition and headlamps off, it gets more complicated. If that's the case, it may be worth the diagnostic charge at Chevy service to save you the aggravation.

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13 Nov 2014, 15:24
Power has to come from a fuse. Did you check the STP LPS 20 AMP fuse? Also check the VEH STOP 10 AMP fuse and the CHMSL 10 AMP fuse?

Put the battery voltage wire you used and put it on the white wire "B" on the plug and see if the brake lights light up. If they do than you have a power problem between the fuse and the brake switch. Back trace the orange wire to see if the wire is broken or have a loose connection.

You have to have 12V to the orange wire weather you have the key on or off.

12 Nov 2014, 15:57
I have no brake lights on my 02 Chevy 1500. I have checked all the fuses and replaced the brake switch. I have power at the fuses but not at the brake switch. I have ran a wire straight from battery to brake switch and still nothing. Any suggestions on what it could be?
29 Jan 2012, 10:28
Hey Aaron,

Cant be sure without knowing the exact model, but on a lot of the '02 1/2-tons there is a separate fuse for each "parking light".

Go to the under hood fuse box and look for the 10 amp fuse marked "LR PRK".

If the fuse is good, you need to see what you're missing -- power or ground. And trace the circuits with a schematic.
25 Jan 2012, 18:49
I have a 2002 chevy silverado, and I am looking for and help I can find. The driver's side tail light is not working correctly. When the brakes are applied they work, but when the head lights are on they do not work. And when they head lights are on the actual brake light still works, but the idle light does not. And I have changed bulbs, cleaned up socket, and checked the actual socket. Any ideas that could help?
27 Apr 2011, 07:50
There is a wire connection inside the right rear wheel that at times gets caked up with mud and debris, disconnect the connector and clean it up and check to see if any wires are not corroded or broken.
22 Apr 2011, 22:43
I have a 2002 Silverado that my brake lights went out on checked fuses and changed the brake switch and still nothing but the lights will come on if I use the manual break lever on my trailer brake module so I really have no more ideas can someone help
22 Oct 2009, 11:38
Hi Dan:

The trailer wiring is a little different depending on if it's a light or heavy duty truck, but the basics still apply.

No power at all at the trailer connector would mean there's a major break at the connector or the wiring harness, because the turn signal/brake, parking lights and backup lights terminals at the connector receive power from different sources.

Keep in mind that if you are checking for power with a test light you won't show any voltage unless you turn on each circuit. For example: turn on the ignition, and a directional, you should then have a flashing test light at one of the trailer connector terminals.

There is one terminal at the connector which is ground. If that were bad you would still have power, but no ground as a return path for the voltage after passing through the trailer light bulbs.

Dealing with the directionals; power comes from the "Turn" fuse under the left side of the instrument panel, then through the turn/hazard flasher (under hood), then though the directional switch, and then through left and right turn fuses (under hood) before going to the trailer connector.

Let's confirm which circuits actually have no power, or a bad ground for all, before going any further.
Dan S.
22 Oct 2009, 10:47
I am having a problem troubleshooting the trailering wire plug. I get no power there. I have checked all the fuses and all are good. I expect its a simple grounding problem but don't know how to proceed.


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