1997-2001 Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee was a unibody compact SUV by Chrysler that was in production from 1974 to 2001.

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Why do my rear lights stay on when the car is off?

My rear lights stay on continuously whether I'm in the car or not.

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Just so I am understanding this correctly: You turn off the lights and get out of the car, yet the rear lights stay on. Is this correct?

by Matt Barnes

The rear lights or just the brake lights?

by mayer

Rear Lights and front running lights

by Sherry B

I'm having this problem too turn of jeep and front and rear lights stay on

by joeyjenniferrodriguez

i am having the same issue with my tail lights turning on at random times when the jeep is ignition is off. When i hit the fuse cover panel about in the middle under the steering wheel they will turn off then when the wind blows or something the lights turn back on. i have even thought my own body energy turns these on its baffling. I have gone thru 2 batteries over this and its dragged out for quite some time. PLEASE HELP

by keith korittky

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I would look for a switch hanging. If the problem is brake lights check the brake light switch usually by the brake pedal. If not get a repair manual from Auto Zone or someplace like that with a good electrical diagram in it and trace put the circuit that's staying on. Ralph

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I actually came across this issue a little while ago. You see when the brake is in the depressed mode the light comes on (as it should) but when not pressed it sort of sits on small bit of rubber the size of a pea. Look at the pedal arm itself - about 4 or 5 inces up the arm you will see a small hole where a rubber used to be (if light stays on means it has fallen off). I actually did not bother to find the correct part but you can stick any plastic or rubber that stops the pedal arm from touching the metal bit where is sit when not pressed. Hope this helps.

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Turns out this was my exact problem, noticed the rubber piece on the floor near the pedals.

by djsiman

I used a small piece of bicycle inner tube in the spot where the rubber grommet used to be.

by SewBrenda Sew

exact same thing for me. on my Honda accord there is a switch that needs to be depressed for the lights to go off. when brake pedal isn't being used the piece of rubber does that job. mine fell off too and rear lights stayed on.

by lawrencevinc2007

Exactly the same case with my Nissan Almera, wouldn't guess it's so without some small pieces of rubber I found under the pedal. Just seems hard for now to find where it's located and access the spot, so im gonna check the exact location with the manuals.

by Shay Nashiv

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Hi,

sounds to my like there is a bad connection from (-) to the chassis somewhere. In this case the (+) from somewhere else is using the (-) connection of your rear lites and that's the reason why the stay on all time.

If you know how to use a multimeter follow the wires backwards an see where the (+) comes from. I would guess, somewhere from the ignition switch and/or light switch. There you will find the bad (-) connection to the chassis.

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If it is the tail lights that are inop there are some common problems associated with this model Jeep. The most common is the tail light sockets. They often melt the housing they fit into and consequently lose ground. The only way to properly fix this is by replacing the entire taillight assembly''italic text''. They have come way down in price and I'm sure by now there are aftermarket solutions. I usually don't use aftermarket electrical parts, but Dorman has made some good stuff and proved me wrong. The very first thing I would check is that the instrument cluster lights are working when the lights are on. If not, check the fuse-they are on the same circuit. It could be that simple. Keep your eye on the cluster lights-when they're not working,neither are your tail lights!

If you have the fancy "Automatic " lighting system it can get a little weird. There was a big problem with BCM's (Body Control Modules). When they go bye-bye, you might think that your Jeep is possessed! The lights will flash on and off in the middle of the night! Unfortunately you will need some specialized equipment for this. The BCM isn't that big of a deal, but you will need a DRBIII factory scan tool to "marry" the BCM to the Jeep.

If I had to make a wager, it'd be the sockets and tail light assemblies. It's a very easy repair-pop the hatch and remove a couple of screws. The assemblies used to come with brand new sockets and bulbs. Plug n play!Love me some Jeeps!

Update

Carefully look at the socket for the rear tailights and all lights on that circuit. You may be getting a poor ground or corrossion is causing a ground feedback. Hard to diagnose something like this from afar even with 10+ years of factory training on Jeeps. Does anything change if you have the brake lights on? This is a ZJ model right? If its a Grand Cherokee that changes everything except looking at the light sockets and associated wiring. Does your Jeep have a trailering plug? That can also create some havoc. If you want to give me the VIN number I'll dig deeper. If there's a way to privately message on here I'll give you my phone number and help as much as I can.

Bruce

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I'm having the same issue on a 1998 Cherokee XJ. Brake lights seem to work fine. The stop light switch is fine. I'm hoping I did not run a self tapping screw into the wiring when I patched a hole in the floor pan at the rocker panel. I can't find any wiring locations online. On another note, the went off randomly last night. When I got to work today they wouldn't shut off again.

by joeszabo219

i posted my same problem on here but with i think a better description on the issue. i am getting ready to dive into the tail light replacement option first but you said here something about a trailer brake package. I have one but i disconnected it from the port screwed into the bottom of steering column. That was few years back. I will start with the plastic piece then replace the brake lights then i guess check out the trailer brake component.

by keith korittky

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I've had the a similar issue that was caused by the plunger on the brake light switch breaking off. In that case, there was enough left that I could adjust the switch out to the point that it worked until I could replace it.

As Bob says, look at the brake pedal arm for a switch. In most cases with which I'm familiar, the switch is a simple affair, held in a bracket with a pair of nuts which adjust it in and out.

Sometimes those nuts come loose as well...even to the point where the switch falls completely off. Check for that.

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If it's the brake lights check for a switch with a plunger on it under dash at brake pedal. When the break pedal is depressed the arm should push the plunger in.And when released the arm should not touch the plunger. If it still touches you can adjust the switch back from the arm if lights are still on replace switch.

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The question wasn't about the brake light. It was about the tail lights, and I have the same problem with them staying on when the car is turned off and the lights are turned off. But found out recently when stopped by a cop that they were not on while I was driving. So I tend to think the first answer at the top of this post is probably something I need to check as soon as I can get my hands on a multimeter. Thanks for the suggestion!

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they goes off when i turn offf my car but when i start my car they comes on

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the right rear tail light

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The stop switch costs about 10 bucks at autozone for aftermarket, but didn't initially work well out of the box since it didn't fit in the cut off well- the plastic was too big and needed to buy the crummier version, as that's all they had.

Problem solved, but quite a headache installing it

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Hi, I normally don't join forum's but after reading on this sight things to check ( I am mechanically inclined to a point) just was looking for things i may have not thought of. I suspected the brake switch just like some of you!

Excuse my grammar graduated years ago so no teachers to impress! lol. Anyway sure enough the rubber contact point was laying in a pile on the floor mat! I looked at the brake pedal after charging the battery! and sure enough the contact had disintegrated and there was a hole where it used to be attached. I went and got a quarter inch bolt and slipped it in the whole and viola! problem solved. I inspected it again and noticed to the left about 1 inch away was the same rubber grommet and a nut where I could have moved the brake switch over to the left and re attached it like nothing happened. After a few choice words I stood in shock as my thoughts of repair shops and dealerships using such a short cut to take advantage of some of us to a high repair bill! This fix seriously took me 10 minutes! It wasn't complicated or rocket science. I am glad these forums and the internet does have value! Hope my rambling may help someone else in the same situation.. Forgot to mention this fix was a 1997 Nissan Pickup. This may help fellow Nissan owners. Good Luck

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robb will be eternally grateful.