The Average Cost for Tail Light Cover Replacement Is $50 to $300 Depending on If You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as tail light bulb replacement, may also be required. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, check out the FIXD Sensor and free app!
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Cost at the Mechanic: $125 to $300
Parts: $50 to $120
Labor: $75 to $180
Tail light cover replacement is a fairly straightforward service that only takes about an hour to complete. You may never even need this service, as most covers are built to last the life of the vehicle. The only time you’ll need to replace that tail light cover is if it’s damage whether it be from an accident, UV damage, or harsh chemicals. To learn more about the fundamentals of car maintenance, check out our ultimate guide here.
Cost to DIY: $50 to $120
- Difficulty Level: Beginner
- Parts Needed: Tail light assembly
If you’re looking to save money, you can easily handle this repair on your own. It’s straightforward enough that a beginner can do it even without any prior experience working on cars. Aside from the new tail light assembly you’re looking to install, all you really need is a screwdriver, a wrench, and a bit of plastic adhesive.
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What Is a Tail Light Cover?
The tail light cover is the protective part of the tail light that keeps the fragile bulbs inside safe. Simple driving exposes your car to a variety of materials like mud and moisture, and the tail light cover makes sure none of that interferes with the tail light bulbs. You need a tail light cover to make sure your tail lights are working properly as a matter of safety and courtesy to other drivers on the road. If the lens is damaged or faded allowing white light to shine through, you could be issued a traffic citation by a police officer.
What Does a Tail Light Cover Replacement Include?
In most cases, a tail light cover replacement simply involves replacing the tail light cover with limited screws, bolts, and/or fasteners. In some instances, you may find broken bulbs that also need replacing. When you get this done at a repair shop, it’s typically an easy repair that only takes an hour or two. As an added bonus, mechanics don’t need to spend time running diagnostics to figure out what’s wrong. A faulty tail light cover is something that’s immediately noticeable simply by looking at it whether. Sometimes, damage to the tail light might not be obvious, but the presence of water or condensation inside the lens is proof that there is damage somewhere.
As replacing a tail light cover is one of the quicker services, you can expect that most repair shops will easily be able to find time in their schedule for the service. It’ll likely be ready for you that same day as well, considering how fast the replacement can go. The only problem you may run into at the shop is that they don’t have the proper cover in stock. If that’s the case, you’ll have to wait for them to order it.
What Happens If You Don’t Get a Tail Light Cover Replacement?
The immediate effect of having a faulty tail light cover is that your tail lights may not be as bright as they should be. This can affect visibility and create a dangerous environment for you and the cars around you when driving at night or during inclement weather. Even during clear skies in the middle of the day, someone being unable to see your turn signal could lead to an accident.
Additionally, if you let a faulty tail light cover go untreated, debris could get in and affect the bulbs, drastically reducing their lifespan. Plus, you may get pulled over by police if the damage to your tail light is bad enough, as it’s legally required for it to be functional while you’re driving. A fine for a broken tail light can be greater than the simple cost of repairing it, so it’s always best to avoid the risk and get it fixed as soon as you possibly can.
How Often To Get a Tail Light Cover Replacement
Your tail light cover should last you quite a while, and mileage doesn’t affect it all that much. The real threat is the sun. UV radiation from the sun’s rays will eventually damage the cover and cause it to become cloudy, which obscures the light of the bulbs within. Typically, sun damage only becomes severe enough to warrant a replacement after about 10 years or so. That’s usually when drivers hit the 100,000-mile mark.
Of course, physical damage can break a tail light cover at any time regardless of how old it is. To learn more about your tail light cover, you can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see what it suggests about maintenance. In most cases, however, this replacement won’t be mentioned in your vehicle’s maintenance schedule at all.
Common Symptoms You Need a Tail Light Cover Replacement
- The cover is cloudy and obscures light
- The cover is cracked
- The cover has holes or doesn’t completely cover the bulbs
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed with tail light cover replacements:
- Tail light bulb replacement
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Your tail light cover replacement won’t come up in any maintenance schedules, but a damaged tail light cover could lead to a traffic citation or failed vehicle inspection. To keep your car going for the years it takes to even encounter tail light cover problems, you’ll need to keep it on a proper schedule of service. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to do just that.
Get the FIXD Sensor and free app today for a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage. FIXD sends automated maintenance alerts right to your phone so you never forget oil changes, tire rotations, brake pad replacements, and more. It even tracks tire, wiper, and battery life to keep your car running smoothly. Get FIXD today and take the stress out of car care. It’s that simple.
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