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Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your backup light switch replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get a fair cost estimate for your backup light switch replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace a backup light switch?

The average total cost to replace a reverse light switch is $145 to $175, with $36 to $45 for parts and $106 to $130 for mechanic labor. Prices vary depending on your vehicle and automotive prices in your area.
How long does it take to replace a backup light switch? It typically takes about one hour for a certified mechanic to perform an initial inspection and complete the replacement.
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my backup light switch replacement?

Look through your owner’s manual or ask a mechanic to find the exact part numbers. Here are the parts you need to do the job if the switch is mounted externally on the transmission: 
  1. New backup light switch: This is the main part you need to do the replacement. The switch screws into the transmission and powers on when you shift gears into reverse. A new reverse light switch costs anywhere from $15 to $60.
If you’re replacing an externally-mounted backup switch, you’ll also need these tools in your garage:
  • Socket wrench
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Box wrench
  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Philips head screwdriver
Some popular backup light switch brands include ACDelco, Standard Motor Products (SMP), and Beck/Arnley. You can purchase them from local auto parts stores such as AutoZone or NAPA Auto Parts, or from online retailers such as Amazon or RockAuto.
Keep in mind: Your mechanic will use more equipment and specialized parts to replace a backup light switch that’s located inside the transmission housing.
It’s a matter of personal preference. If you get your car repaired at a dealership service center, they’ll use OEM parts that fit your vehicle. If you’re doing the work yourself and are trying to save money, you might go for an aftermarket replacement switch because it’s a little more affordable and easier to find. But, if your car is under warranty, installing an aftermarket switch could risk voiding that coverage.
Some of the many reliable backup light switch brands are ACDelco, Standard Motor Products and Beck/Arnley. Shop for replacement parts at auto body shops and auto parts shops like AutoZone and NAPA Auto Parts. If you can’t find the part number you need, order the switch online from retailers such as Amazon or RockAuto, or ask a store to special order the reverse light switch replacement.

Where can I get my backup light switch replaced?

If you like leaving this job to the professionals but don’t have a mechanic you trust, let Jerry's
GarageGuard™
help. The app compares fair price estimates from over 2,500 vetted repair shops in the US.
You can see each shop’s real hourly labor rate, figure out what’s included in the service estimates, and read real reviews in order to choose a repair shop that works for you and your budget.
Take a look at a few of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes near you.
129 Reviews
I & A Automotive
address
24850 Aurora Rd Ste G, Cleveland, OH
Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$125
(Parts - $40, Labor - $85)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$79.99
187 Reviews
106 St Tire & Wheel
address
106-01 Northern Blvd, Manhattan, NY
Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$155
(Parts - $40, Labor - $115)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$25
154 Reviews
61 Auto Center
address
1226 Centre Ave, Reading, PA
Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$90
(Parts - $40, Labor - $50)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
176 Reviews
Kenny and Billy's Auto Center
address
473 Elizabeth, NJ
Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$170
(Parts - $40, Labor - $130)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$130
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my backup light switch?

If your switch is located on the exterior of the transmission, consider yourself lucky! Here are the simple steps your mechanic will take to do the replacement:
  1. Locate the switch: Pop the hood and find the backup light switch on the outside of the transmission.
  2. Remove the connector wiring: The mechanic will push down on the plastic tab that fastens the existing backup light switch in place.
  3. Unscrew the switch and remove it: Next, they’ll use a wrench to unscrew the switch before pulling it off of the transmission.
  4. Install the new switch and fasten it in place: The mechanic will push the new backup light switch in place by hand and use the wrench to secure it to the transmission.
  5. Plug in the electrical connector wiring: Finally, they’ll insert the electrical wiring and replace any plastic retaining tabs that they might have removed.
If your backup light switch is located inside the transmission housing, the mechanic might need to remove the shift shaft assembly, transmission pan, and valve body. If the switch is really tucked away, they’ll also have to drain the transmission fluid. As you can imagine, this adds time and labor costs to the repairs.

What happens if I don’t replace my backup light switch?

While driving without a working backup light won’t damage your car’s components, it is illegal, and you could be pulled over by law enforcement. 
Just like your headlights and brake lights, functioning backup lights are essential to safe driving. Driving without reverse lights puts you at a higher risk of getting into a car accident or hitting a pedestrian. 

What is a backup light switch?

You might see a backup light switch called a reverse light switch or backup lamp switch. They’re all the same thing—a small metal part with a button on the end. The switch is in your car’s transmission. It can be located on the exterior or interior of the transmission, depending on your vehicle. If you have a manual transmission, it’s more likely to be located outside; with an automatic transmission, your backup light switch might be inside the transmission. 
When you shift your car into reverse, a small lever in the gearbox pushes the button on the backup light switch to activate the car’s reverse lights. This alerts pedestrians and other drivers that you’re backing up. The extra light can also help when you’re backing out of a parking spot in the dark.

When should I replace the backup light switch on my car?

You are legally required to have working backup lights, so make an appointment to get the repair done immediately. Your backup light switch might be broken if your reverse lights:
  • Don’t work at all
  • Are always on, and you can’t turn them off
  • Work sporadically

How often should a backup light switch be replaced?

Backup light switches usually last the life of the vehicle, so the only time you need to replace your switch is if it stops working. The good news is that your replacement switch will last a very long time!

Can I replace my backup light switch myself?

If the switch is on the outside of the transmission housing, the replacement is a simple DIY. But, if it’s mounted internally, you need to have a professional technician complete the job. The risk of damaging expensive components is just too high.
A mechanic will also check to see if your car problems are actually caused by a burned-out lightbulb, a blown fuse, or a wiring issue.

FAQs

It’s more likely that faulty wiring causes the backup light switch to stop working, but it is possible that the switch itself is defective.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.