Tail lights are essential parts of our car’s safety system, alerting us when other drivers are nearby in dark conditions. If your tail light gets cracked or compromised in any way, it can cause problems for yourself and others sharing the roads with you.
Luckily, tail lights are a relatively easy and quick fix that you can tackle alone or pay for professional services. Depending on the nature of the repair, it can be minor or carry a hefty price tag.
If your tail light bulb gets broken, it generally costs between $20-$100 for the repair.
If it’s the lens, the wiring, or a new tail light assembly altogether, the new price range for 2022 is between $200-$2000. The labor cost and the type of parts and equipment used ultimately determine the final price.
The price to replace the assembly will be different depending on the make and model of the vehicle. It depends on who you go to when you hire a mechanic, but they’ll charge you less than a dealership would to fix the tail light.
It helps to understand the different parts of a tail light when you’re breaking down the cost for each piece.
A tail light utilizes two bulb types: LED and halogen lights. A halogen light set is $4-$6, while LED tail lights are $4-$6 per light at a primary auto parts store or in a mechanic’s shop.
The tail light cover is the protective barrier that separates the tail light bulbs from the elements. It helps to keep your lights in tip-top shape as you ride around, but they can get cracked easily from low-collision impact.
This term is sometimes used interchangeably with tail light cover. Still, it depends on where you shop as to whether they distinguish between the plastic covering that goes over the tail light itself, or the small rectangular or circular pieces inside that are red.
The small lens part inside can cost between $150-$800 to repair this piece.
If the tail light wiring gets damaged, a technician can usually fix this problem within an hour for $70-$120. You can also do it yourself if you’re familiar with doing wiring on cars.
To save yourself valuable time and money, choose to replant your tail light in the following simple steps.
Depending on the vehicle you have, the tools needed to replace your tail light assembly can vary.
Generally speaking, you’ll need:
- Safety glasses
- Wrenches, ratchet, and the correct size sockets
Safety is of chief importance, especially when working with wires and bulbs. The first step is to disconnect the car battery. This will reduce the chances of getting shocked during the light bulb replacement. The next step is to access the tail lights via the trunk or rear hatch.
It’s best to perform this task in a well-lit area; however, you can use a flashlight if this isn’t possible. Be mindful that some cars have extra padding for carpeting in the way of the access point. Remove these coverings until you can see the back of the tail lights. Some vehicles require removing a panel to access the tail lights, so keep a screwdriver on hand.
After you’re capable of seeing and touching the taillights, take the bulb holders and remove them from the rear side of the lamp. Remove them by turning them clockwise.
Take the burned-out bulbs and remove them; if the bulb breaks, do not cut yourself. This is the point where you’d want to put gloves on to keep the bulbs clean and preserve the life and effectiveness of the bulbs.
Next, you must remove the tail light assembly. This is easy to manage if you locate the nuts and remove them. There’s a possibility that you may have to use some oil or grease to help loosen the nuts. After the nuts are out, the assembly should slide out easily.
Before it’s time to put the assembly back into its housing, hand tighten the bolts before using a ratchet. Be aware that tightening these nuts too much could creak or break the housing. Replace the bulb holders, which look different from the brake lights, and turn signal lights. Next, if there is any padding, carpet, or panels to put back into place in the trunk, please do so. Finally, remember to reconnect the better.
You can get your tail light fixed at any local dealership, but it will cost you much more than if you go to the local mechanic or if you fix it yourself. It is a reasonably quick and straightforward fix that doesn’t take much time.
For starters, the “lenses” or plastic covers for tail lights are not sold separately. This means that you’ll have to buy the whole tail light to make such a repair. The good thing is that ail light bulb replacement isn’t a challenging task to carry out, and it should only take 30 minutes to one hour to complete.
Various police officers will indeed give you a citation for a broken tail light cover; they will probably give you a warning and tell you to get it fixed as soon as possible.
It won’t be an issue if it is cracked, but if it is completely shattered and doesn’t cover the bulb, it becomes illegal because the tail light has to be red; the light cannot be white. If you notice that your tail light cover is cracked beyond repair, get it replaced or pick up the red tail light repair tape in the meantime instead of risking a ticket.
You can buy tail light accessories at your local auto parts store. It is also possible to take your car back to the dealership where you purchased it if they sell a specific brand like Nissan or Honda.