2005 Chevrolet Malibu

Brakes problem
2005 Chevy Malibu 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 16000 miles

When I start my car the brake lights go on and stay on. I have had it in the shop several times, they replaced brake switch which did nothing, I don't know what else to do as I am afraid I am going to have an accident as no one knows when I am really stopping. If I slightly brake they go out, so my only alternative is to drive with my foot on the brake. Any suggestions?
September 4, 2008.

Hi there,

This will be an adjustment with the brake light switch, a good mechanic will be able to sort this out for you.

Mark (mhpautos)

Sep 5, 2008.
Thanks for the response Mark- I have another question. Last time this happened they replaced the Brake light switch and that did not correct the problem.
After four days of driving around unsafe like it just stopped.
Now the problem is back and I don't want to pay for another switch that doesn't correct it.
Do you have any other ideas?

Sep 5, 2008.
Hi there,

If the brake light is ok and adjusted correctly the problem will be a short in the loom, I would check to see if you have 12V feeding back into the brake light switch, if so you will have to trace the loom to find the fault.

Mark (mhpautos)

Sep 6, 2008.
I'm having this same problem with my 2005 malibu! The problem started about a year ago and I did all the same things. We replaced the brake switch, adjusted a dozen times, etc. Problem is, it's not a consistent problem. It appears to happen randomly and then just as randomly as it happens, it resolves itself. It has just recently started to cause problems again this past week. Interesting thing is when the lights are on you can't set the cruise control. If you tap the brakes, the lights go out for about 5-6 seconds, then come back on by themselves. When I put on the brakes, the lights go out. If I hold the brakes on, I think after a few seconds they come back on (may be the same 5-6, not sure). When I release, they go out and again after 5-6 seconds come back on. About a month ago I was driving home with my cruise on and half-way there my cruise suddenly popped off without me touching anything. Next day, the car was fine. Similarly, I've been driving with my cruise and gone to tap the brake to disengage as I approach my exit, and the cruise won't disengage. The harder I push, the quicker the car slows down (obviously), but then the cruise kicks in and fights to maintain speed. Only way to disengage is with the button on the steering wheel (or maybe popping into neutral, haven't tried that yet). So, with all this, my thought is that this is not a simple switch problem but possibly a computer module problem or something, but I have no idea where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I've already dumped a hundreds into a new switch and numerous adjustments. And again, the tricky part is that it is randomly occurring and then randomly resolving. Typically, it resolves itself when I take it to the shop.

Oct 9, 2008.

You described the exact problem I am having. I replaced the brake switch and it worked for a day then it started all over again.

I haven't found out anything new yet, but I'd like to stay in contact with you (or anyone else) so that if we find the solution we can share the information. My email address is chall52@sbcglobal. Net

Anyone having questions about this problem or have possible solutions please contact me.


Oct 11, 2008.
Ok, I think I may have found the problem.

*****What I did*****
I swapped my brake relay with my trunk relay--they are identical. Both had the same ID numbers and relay picture printed on them.

These relays are found in the trunk on the driver side wall. They are small grey cubes about 1" x 1" x 1/2" in size.

CAUTION: There are 3 relays back there that are identical and the third one belongs to the fuel system. I don't know what would happen but I doubt you'll want to mess with your fuel system wiring.

The other thing I did that may have made a difference was I went through all my fuses and relays and made sure they all had solid contacts. I found many that were not pushed down all the way. The ones belonging to the brake system I reseated by removing and reinstalling them.

*****The Results*****
Since I've swapped the relay out my problem has gone away completely. It's been 4 days now and I haven't seen a hint of my issue. I use to see it everyday after about 10 - 20 minutes of driving.

Also, my brake lights and cruise control work better. I use to have to press down pretty hard on the brake pedal to get my brake lights to work or disengage the cruise control, but now they both respond with a gentle tap--just like new!

*****What I think was the cause*****
I believe the relay was going bad or sticking. After a few brake presses the relay would get stuck in a closed state. This caused the brake light to remain on. I believe there is a feedback signal for the cruise control to disengage when the brake is being pressed. This is why the cruise wouldn't work.

*****Things to keep in mind*****
I didn't trace all the wires to the brake system so it is possible there might be more relays or other electrical components in the system. I just stopped when my problem stopped. So its possible that another relay or electrical component could be going bad. The one in my trunk happened to fix mine.

Also, if the relay is bad it is now my trunk relay, which means I may have problems with my trunk releasing later. Just something to keep in mind. Since I don't use my trunk release very often this may never become a problem.

If you have any questions as to what exactly I did shoot me an email and If you like I can include pictures of what I'm talking about. Hopefully I can help someone else out with a problem I had been fighting with for a few months now. And I didn't have to take it into the shop to fix it. YAY!

Oct 15, 2008.
Well, it appears it was a temporary fix. I was able to drive 3 weeks without any problems, but it returned. The relay is causing the problem with the brake light, unfortunately there is something causing the relay to go bad. I haven't had a chance to troubleshoot further, but I'll post any new findings.

Nov 11, 2008.
I also have a 2005 Malibu, with the same identical problem (and saw anmother one one the road with the same problem.

This is apparently a fairly widespread rpoblem with these cars. Has anyone seen a recall notice with this issue?

I looked in my trunk and don't have a brake relay along side the trunk relays. I looked in the fuse box next too the battery as well, hoping to find it there, and still no luck.

Has anyone found the permanent fix for this issue? I too replaced the brake switch initially, but only to have the problem return. I just want to fix this problem once and for all.

Aug 11, 2009.
I was having the same exact problems. Brake lights staying on or flashing. Also, my cruise would not work and it was sometime hard to get car out of park. I was at my wits end and then found that there was a service bulletin for this problem. Apparently it all relates back to the C2 connector which is located in the center consol on the passenger side. The bulletin says to unlatch and disconnect the c2 connecter then connect and relatch. Then repeat a few times. It also said to spread dielectric lubricant on the connecter. I did not do this last step, but it has been two weeks and my brake lights no longer flash, my cruise works and it is now very easy to shift out of park. I hope this helps. I found the service bulletin on another forum. Apparently 2005-07 and 08 malibus experience this problem as does a pontiac car as well. Hope this helps.

Dec 21, 2009.