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Ford Escape Brake Lamp Bulb Fault – What To Do?

Did you get a “Brake Lamp Bulb Fault” message on your Ford Escape, and you want to know what you can do about it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

Determine which brake light bulb is burned out by stepping on the brakes and have someone check the brake lights. Replace the burned-out bulb to get rid of the message. Here are other possible causes of this error message:

  • Fuse
  • Brake switch
  • Wiring

We'll talk more about the steps to access the brake light bulb of your Ford Escape in the succeeding sections. You'll learn how to fix the other possible causes of this error message below.

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Read on!

Ford Escape Titanium shown at the New York International Auto Show 2018, Ford Escape Brake Lamp Bulb Fault—What To Do?

What is the brake light bulb?

The brake light is a safety feature in all vehicles. The brake lights at the back of your Ford Escape will light up when you step on your brakes.

This alerts other vehicles that your Ford Escape will start to decelerate or that it will stop completely.

Taillight And Brake Light

Heavy traffic on a London street and all tail light and brakelights are on

Aside from notifying other drivers that your Escape is decelerating or stopping, the same taillight bulb lights up when you turn on the lights of your Escape.

The brake light bulb on most Ford Escape models has two filaments.

One of the filaments produces a weaker light. This is the filament that lights up when you turn on the lights of your Escape, serving as the taillight.

This light also allows other drivers to better see your Escape at night or during low light conditions.

The second filament turns on when you step on the brakes. This filament produces a brighter light than the taillight filament.

The brighter light makes it easier for other drivers to determine if they’re seeing the taillight or the brake light from the back of your Escape.

It is possible to have only one of the two filaments burn out, and the other will continue to work.

Some drivers make the mistake of checking only one of the two filaments and seeing only the working filament. This leads to a misdiagnosis of the problem and a delay in the fix.

Filament Faults

The system of your Ford Escape will let you know that there is a bulb problem when either one of the two filaments burns out. Thus, it is important to check both when you’re checking your Ford Escape for bulb problems.

Turn on the lights to check the taillight filaments of both bulbs. Then step on the brakes to check if the brake light filaments are also working.

If either one is burned out, you will need to replace the bulb.

How to replace the body-mounted brake light bulb on Ford Escape?

2014 Ford Escape Titanium SUV Truck Green at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto

Here are the steps to replace the body-mounted brake lights on your Ford Escape.

Preparing Your Ford Escape For Bulb Replacement

  1. Park your Ford Escape on level ground with sufficient light.
  2. Engage the parking brakes, then set the transmission to “Park(P).”
  3. Turn off all electronic components, then turn off the engine.
  4. Open the liftgate at the back of your Ford Escape.

Accessing The Brake Light Bulb

  1. Look for two round caps on the same side of the brake light bulb that you will replace.
  2. Use a plastic pry tool to remove the two round caps. Using a flathead screwdriver could damage the plastic caps.
  3. Remove the two retaining bolts under the plastic caps.
  4. Use a bigger plastic pry tool to slide the taillight housing towards the back of your Ford Escape. Apply a steady force with the plastic pry tool to release the taillight housing from the pressure studs that are still holding it in place.
  5. Carefully disconnect the electrical connector from the taillight housing.

Tresalto trim removal tool is available on Amazon.

Replacing The Bulb

  1. Check the user manual of your Ford Escape to get the type of bulb that you need to replace the burned-out one.
  2. Get a replacement bulb.
  3. Locate the bulb holder with the burned-out bulb. Rotate the bulb holder counterclockwise to separate it with the taillight housing.
  4. Pull the bulb out of the bulb holder.
  5. Grab the replacement bulb using a clean handkerchief or a clean piece of cloth. Never touch the surface of the replacement bulb. Oil and salt from your hands can get to the new bulb. The light from the bulb can raise the temperature of the salt and oil on the bulb, damaging the glass of the bulb. This can lead to premature failure.
  6. Push the replacement bulb firmly into the socket of the bulb holder.
  7. Insert the bulb holder into the taillight housing and rotate it clockwise to lock it in place.

Reassembling The Taillight

  1. Firmly reconnect the electrical connector to the taillight housing.
  2. Align the pressure studs and push your taillight housing back into place.
  3. Reconnect the two bolts and reinstall the plastic cover.

How to replace the liftgate-mounted brake light bulb on Ford Escape?

Car bulb on a white workshop table, electric car accessories

These steps will walk you through replacing the brake light bulb that is mounted on the liftgate of your Ford Escape.

Accessing The Tailgate Brake Light Bulb

  1. Follow the steps in the section “Preparing Your Ford Escape For Bulb Replacement.”
  2. Use a plastic tool to pry the upper liftgate trim panel. This is the center trim of the upper interior side of the liftgate.
  3. Release the retaining clips to the side trims.
  4. Use a plastic pry tool to remove the liftgate handle cover.
  5. Remove the two Torx screws that keep the liftgate handle in place. Remove the handle and set it aside. Torx screws have non-standard screw heads that need a special screwdriver. Work along the perimeter of the liftgate trim panel with a plastic pry tool. Release the clips that hold the trim panel in place.
  6. Carefully remove the liftgate panel.
  7. Disconnect the electrical connector to the side that has a burned-out bulb.
  8. Remove the retaining clip that holds the connector in place.
  9. Remove the liftgate taillight mounting nut.
  10. Lower the liftgate. Place some shop rags on the liftgate lock or striker to prevent the liftgate from completely closing while you work.
  11. Use a plastic pry tool to separate the liftgate taillight housing from the liftgate.

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Replacing The Liftgate Bulb

  1. Check the user manual to find out what type of bulb is on the tailgate taillight. Get a replacement bulb.
  2. Rotate the bulb holder counterclockwise and pull it out of the taillight housing.
  3. Pull the burned-out bulb from the bulb holder.
  4. Hold the replacement bulb with a clean napkin or a clean piece of cloth and insert it firmly into the bulb holder.
  5. Insert the bulb holder into the tailgate taillight housing and rotate it clockwise.

Reassembling The Tailgate Taillight

  1. Feed the wires back into the tailgate cavity.
  2. Align the two pressure studs and reinsert the taillight housing into the tailgate.
  3. Reinstall the mounting nut for the taillight housing.
  4. Reconnect the electrical connector of the liftgate taillight and clip it to the liftgate body.
  5. Reinstall the liftgate trim panel.
  6. Reinstall the liftgate handle. Reattach the two Torx screws.
  7. Reinstall the tailgate handle cover.
  8. Reinstall the two side trims, then the center trim. Push them firmly into place.

How to replace the top liftgate-mounted brake light bulb on Ford Escape?

Some Ford Escape models have a brake light on the top of the liftgate. These are the steps to replace a burned-out bulb.

In some older models of Ford Escape, you can remove the top tailgate brake light from the outside of the vehicle by removing the Torx screws.

  1. Follow the first two steps of the section “Getting Access To The Tailgate Brake Light Bulb.”
  2. Disengage the three metal clips inside the tailgate using a thin but long screwdriver. Remove these clips carefully to prevent breaking them.
  3. Partially close the tailgate.
  4. Use a plastic pry tool to remove the taillight housing.
  5. Disconnect the electrical connector.
  6. Replace the burned-out bulb or the entire housing. What you need to replace depends on the Escape model.
  7. Reconnect the electrical connector and insert the housing. Reinstall the clips and panel.

How to check the fuse of the brake lights?

Auto mechanic checking a car fuse

It is likely a fuse problem if both filaments of both bulbs are not working.

Check the user manual to get the location of the fuse block. Next, look for the location of the fuse that protects the brake lights. Replace the fuse with one that has the same ampere rating.

How to replace the brake light switch?

If both brake light filaments do not work but the taillight filaments work, then the problem could be with the brake light switch.

You can access the switch from the bottom of the brake pedal. Disconnect the electrical connector, then twist the switch to the left.

Put the replacement switch in the same location, then twist it back into place. Reconnect the wire.

How to troubleshoot a wiring issue?

It is likely a wiring issue if both filaments of both bulbs don’t work, and replacing the fuse and the bulbs did not fix the problem.

In this case, take your Ford Escape to a mechanic who can find the wiring fault and fix it for you.

Conclusion

Ford Escape Titanium shown at the New York International Auto Show 2018

The main cause of a “Brake Lamp Bulb Fault” message in Ford Escape is a burned-out bulb. Check other possible causes if the issue matches their symptom.

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