Changing the brake light switch is a relatively simple task, and you should try to do it yourself. The brake light switch is a small electronic device located at the top of the brake pedal (inside the car on the floor where your feet go). It is about 3 inches long, has wires coming out of one side, and a plunger on the other that moves in and out when you step on the brake. First, unplug the brake light switch cables. You'll have to pinch the sides and wiggle it out. You will need to use a 1/2 inch socket or spanner to remove the L shaped metal bracket above the brake light switch, just in front of the brake pedal and clutch pedal. (Actually, I did this but it may not have been necessary. See if you can perform the next step without taking this out.) The brake light switch is held in by two plastic pins. You'll need to turn it like a bottle cap and gently pull out until it comes out out. This is your culprit. On 1998, 1999, and early model 2000 beetles, the brake light switch is a two wire device. On late model 2000 and 2001 beetles, the brake light switch is a four wire device. To put in the new brake light switch, put it into the same slot the old one just came out of, and rotate it until it is in the same position as the previous one. Reattach the L shaped metal bracket above the brake light switch. Plug the cables back into the brake light switch, making sure they are firmly seated. Be careful of the clutch pedal switch. It has a similar switch to the brake light switch. If it comes out, just put it back in. The clutch pedal switch is used to make sure you have the clutch pedal pressed down when you are starting the car, otherwise it won't start. Good luck.
Don't bother. The brake light switch on 1999 beetles (maybe all of them, actually) have been recalled. Unless you get it changed, the brake lights will keep going out. Call your local dealer and they should change it for free, mine did about 8 months ago. Still, this doesn't seem to fix the problem as my brake light is out. It may only be a burned out bulb though.
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