I recently found that the brake sensor in my brake pedal isn't working. This is the sensor that both allows cruise control to engage/automatically disengage when you hit the brake, and the same sensor that prevents you from moving the gear selector out of park without having your foot on the brake. The car has the automatic "Tip-tronic" transmission.

The sensor is currently stuck in the "tripped" position, meaning that the cruise control won't engage, and the red light by the gear selector is off, meaning I can move out of park without my foot on the brake - however, the brake lights continue to function properly.

If I lift up gently on the brake pedal by putting my toe underneath it, the sensor will recognize the brake pedal as not being depressed, and I can engage cruise control (as soon as I stop lifting up on the pedal it will disengage), and when I'm stopped, the car will correctly lock the gear selector from moving out of park - you can actually hear a solenoid actuate locking the gear selector, and a red light comes on showing that the brake needs to be depressed.

I need help identifying which sensor is malfunctioning, and where it is. From there, I'm reasonably confident someone has already made a guide on how to fix it, but I want to make sure I'm replacing the correct part.

Thanks for the help!

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


Before you go too far, this may be a super simple fix. From my experience and recollection, I believe all those functions are related to the brake light switch located just above the pedal. Being a 2001 model, it has a simple switch that is held in place with plastic nuts.

It sounds like it may have come loose because when you lift the pedal it works as it should. Check that it is fully engaged, locked in place, and the plug is fully engaged before you start looking for sensors.

  • That's a good point that the sensor may not even need to be replaced. I'll take a look at it and see if it just came loose. I came across a couple videos showing the replacement of the sensor, and you're 100% that if that's the issue, even replacing it looks pretty trivial.
    – Mako212
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 22:14
  • @Mako212 Even though I also think that the sensor might be just replaced and perfectly functioning, I'd double check the connection / cables. The cables could've been damaged and shorting out. I guess there is no real connection my tip and the actual question, but I guess you'll be down there, so might as well check. (+ I had the same issue, but mine was actually shorting out).
    – Paramone
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 8:49

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