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License Plate Light Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your license plate light replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your license plate light 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 license plate light?

The average cost for a license plate light replacement is about $54, with $6 for parts and $49 for labor costs. Your own replacement costs will depend on the type of vehicle you drive.
How long does it take to replace a license plate light? It typically takes about 0.4 hours for a certified mechanic to replace a license plate light. The mechanic will inspect the license plate light and any related parts for potential problems, then follow through with a replacement if necessary.
Here’s an overview of license plate light replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 25, 2024
Ram 1500
$38
$5
$33
0.3 Hours
May 21, 2024
Chrysler PT Cruiser
$47
$5
$42
0.3 Hours
May 17, 2024
Smart Fortwo
$44
$5
$38
0.3 Hours
May 16, 2024
Mini Cooper
$40
$5
$35
0.3 Hours
May 16, 2024
Subaru WRX
$44
$5
$38
0.3 Hours
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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 license plate light replacement and how much do those parts cost?

In most cases, a replacement license plate light bulb may be all you need for this repair, but more extensive damage may require replacing additional parts:
  1. License plate light bulb(s): The main component you’ll need to replace here is the faulty license plate light. They’re typically quite a bit smaller than your headlight bulbs. Prices per part will depend on the type of lamp or bulb your vehicle uses, but you can often find them for less than $25. LED bulbs may be slightly more expensive to replace. Brands we recommend are Philips, Sylvania, and Wagner.
  2. License plate light socket: If your license plate light isn’t working due to a damaged or corroded socket, you may need to replace this part. They’re commonly available at auto parts stores for under $15. We recommend brands like Dorman, ACDelco, and Standard Motor Products.
  3. Fuse: Sometimes, a license plate light may stop working due to a blown fuse, in which case this part would need to be replaced. Fortunately, replacement fuses are also relatively inexpensive, often costing around $5 or less. We recommend brands like Bussmann, Littelfuse, and ACDelco.
You can buy replacement parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model.
Choosing an OEM license plate light replacement will ensure the new part is the proper fit for your vehicle. That said, sometimes you may find aftermarket parts that are either less expensive or of higher quality. What’s most important is that you confirm the replacement part you choose is compatible with your vehicle.
License plate lamp replacement bulbs and related parts are commonly available at auto parts stores like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts. Online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto. You can check with your owner’s manual, local dealership, or automotive repair shop of choice for specific part recommendations.

Where can I get my license plate light replaced?

With the rundown on 2,500+ vetted repair shops nationwide, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can make the search for a mechanic to replace your license plate light a lot easier.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from local shops using actual hourly rates. You’ll be able to budget for diagnostic fees and see reviews from previous customers to make sure you’ll be happy with your service.
Here’s a look at some of our vetted shops below—and you can download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
153 Reviews
Uncle Ed's Oil Shoppe
address
49830 Van Dyke Ave, Shelby Township, MI
License Plate Light
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$35
(Parts - $5, Labor - $30)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
180 Reviews
Pep Boys Auto Parts & Service - Howell Mill #1792
address
1685 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA
License Plate Light
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$142
(Parts - $5, Labor - $137)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
174 Reviews
Yoo's Auto Service & Collision
address
189 W Duncannon Ave, Philadelphia, PA
License Plate Light
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$90
(Parts - $5, Labor - $85)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
146 Reviews
Byrider Louisville
address
6507 Preston Hwy, Louisville, KY
License Plate Light
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$85
(Parts - $5, Labor - $80)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$65
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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 license plate light?

While these steps may vary slightly for different vehicles, here are the general steps a mechanic will take to replace a license plate light: 
  1. Inspection: Your mechanic will inspect your license plate lights and related parts to identify potential problem(s) and confirm whether a replacement is necessary.
  2. Remove the faulty license plate light: On many vehicles, this typically involves using a screwdriver to remove the light’s exterior cover to access the light bulb or lamp. In other cases, the mechanic may need to access the bulb’s socket from the interior side of the vehicle.
  3. Install the new license plate light: Once the old bulb is removed, the mechanic can install the new light and replace its cover.
  4. Quality assurance check: After the replacement, the mechanic will test the new license plate light and confirm it turns on and off properly.

What happens if I don’t replace my license plate light?

Your tail lights aren’t the only rear lights on your car you’ll want to keep an eye on. While it won’t stop you from driving, a nonfunctioning license plate light can make it more difficult for other drivers or law enforcement to notice or identify your vehicle on the road—and you could face penalties like traffic tickets as a result. 
This is why it’s a good idea to periodically check your license plate lights and confirm they’re still in good working order.

What is a license plate light?

License plate lights are placed above your vehicle’s license plate so that it can be seen when it’s dark. Driving without properly functioning license plate lights could leave you subject to penalties like traffic tickets. 
Since these lights are usually inexpensive to replace, it’s ideal to replace them as soon as possible when they stop working.

When should I replace the license plate light on my car?

Because it won’t affect your ability to drive, a bad license plate light is an easy car problem to miss—which is why it’s a good idea to check on them occasionally. 
Here are the most common symptoms to look out for:
  1. License plate light won’t turn on: If your license plate light won’t turn on at all, there could be several possible culprits, including a burned-out bulb, a faulty socket, a blown fuse, or wiring problems.
  2. License plate light won’t turn off: If your license plate light won’t turn off, the assembly could be experiencing a variety of electrical issues. A certified mechanic can look at your license plate light assembly and determine what parts, if any, should be replaced.
  3. License plate light works inconsistently: A license plate light that only works some of the time could be related to an electrical problem or a loose connection somewhere in the system. A mechanic should be able to help you find the culprit and determine the right fix.
  4. Excess moisture in light cover: Water and electricity don’t mix well—so if your license plate light isn’t working and you notice water present in the cover(s), the problem could be due to excess moisture in the system.
  5. Visible damage: If your vehicle experienced physical damage around its license plate area, it’s a good idea to check whether the license plate lights themselves were affected.

How often should a license plate light be replaced?

License plate lights only need to be replaced if you’ve noticed they’ve stopped working. After a certain amount of usage, the light bulb’s filament can eventually fail. 
Some light bulbs and lamps will last longer than others. LED license plate light bulbs can generally be expected to last longer than incandescent bulbs.
It’s often reasonable to expect a license plate light to last the life of a vehicle, but it’s not uncommon for them to fail prematurely, either—especially if they’ve been exposed to moisture or other types of physical damage. 

Can I replace my license plate light myself?

Replacing a license plate light on a vehicle is a pretty easy fix in most cases—and you can save a lot of money in labor costs for this repair by doing so. It usually consists of unscrewing the light cover and swapping out the burned-out bulb.
That said, while the basic steps for this repair are straightforward, some license plate light assemblies can be trickier to work with than others—especially if you end up needing to replace additional parts. If you don’t feel comfortable replacing your license plate light yourself, you can always have a certified mechanic do so for you.

FAQs

Replacing a license plate light is a relatively straightforward job. On many cars, you can do so by first removing the light’s plastic cover, then replacing the old light bulb with a new one. 
On some vehicles, you may need to access the light assembly from the interior side of the vehicle, which can be a little more complicated. If you don’t feel comfortable with this repair, a certified mechanic can take care of it for you.
Most states have laws that prohibit changing the color of your license plate light to anything other than white due to visibility concerns. This makes it important to check your state’s laws—and those in surrounding states, too—before making a change to your vehicle.
License plate lights are often called just that: “license plate lights.” You might also hear them referred to as “tag lights.” They illuminate the area around your license plate so it’s easier to see when it’s dark.

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.