1997-2001 Jeep Cherokee Repair

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

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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

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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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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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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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the right rear tail light

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robb will be eternally grateful.

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