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Reverse Light Bulb Replacement Cost Estimate

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

On average, you can expect to pay a total of $70-$120. The exact price will vary based on your vehicle’s make and model.
How long does it take to replace a reverse light bulb? In general, it takes 1-1.5 hours for a certified mechanic to complete the job. Your mechanic will inspect your lights to determine if a replacement is necessary, then follow through with the replacement procedure. 
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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 reverse light bulb replacement and how much do those parts cost?

You can check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for information on parts and tools, but here’s a general rundown:
  1. New reverse light bulb: Aligned with your vehicle’s specifications, the main part for this replacement will be a new reverse light bulb. You can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or visit an auto parts store to find the right bulbs for your car. Reverse light bulbs typically cost $10. We recommend brands like Philips, Sylvania, and Wagner.
  2. Dielectric grease: Your mechanic may use dielectric grease on the bulb socket to prevent corrosion and ensure the bulb is secured to the socket. Dielectric grease costs $7 to $30. Recommended brands are Permatex, CRC Industries, and ACDelco.
  3. Screwdriver: You will likely need a screwdriver to access the housing for your reverse light bulb. Screwdrivers can cost as little as $10.
  4. Gloves: You should use gloves to handle your new lightbulb as the oils from your skin can reduce your vehicle’s light bulb lifespan. Mechanic gloves cost $35 on average.
Pro tip: If you are getting your reverse light bulb replaced, you should also request an inspection for your other
tail lights
, including your brake lights and
turn signals
.
You can buy reverse light bulb 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.
The correct choice will depend on your bulb type, but aftermarket bulbs are typically used for car light bulb replacements. While OEM bulbs may be more reliable and durable, aftermarket bulbs are highly accessible, fairly affordable, and offer options.
Your best option: Opt for aftermarket LED or HID light bulbs. HID and LED bulbs are durable, perform well, are typically brighter than OEM halogen or incandescent bulbs, and they are easy to install.
You can buy new reverse light bulbs directly from your vehicle’s manufacturer—also known as the dealership—or from auto parts shops like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts or NAPA Auto Parts. You can also purchase replacement bulbs from Amazon, RockAuto, or other online car part retailers. Check your owner’s manual for bulb specifications to ensure you buy the correct light for your vehicle.

Where can I get my reverse light bulb replaced?

Your new reverse light bulb will need to be carefully installed to ensure proper functioning and durability, so you’ll need a trusted mechanic to get the job done. Luckily, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can help you compare costs from over 2,500 vetted automotive repair shops in the US to find the right mechanic. 
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates* from each shop using their real hourly labor rate. With Jerry's GarageGuard™, you can plan for the cost of diagnostic fees (and find out if it’s included in the auto repair or replacement cost), and you’ll receive real reviews to help you choose the best service.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
131 Reviews
Kwik Kar on University
address
276 University Dr, Fort Worth, TX
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
142 Reviews
Route 4 Auto Repair
address
2301 Dixie Hwy B,, Hamilton, OH
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$80
186 Reviews
Eastchester Service Station
address
600 White Plains Rd, Mount Vernon, NY
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
165 Reviews
Goodyear Auto Service - St Andrews
address
4520 St Andrews Rd, Columbia, SC
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$39.95
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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 reverse light bulb?

Car light bulbs require precise installations, so you should take your vehicle to a mechanic if you need a reverse light bulb replacement. If your car has a bad reverse light bulb, your mechanic will replace it with these steps:
  1. Preparation: With the vehicle parked and off, your mechanic will engage the handbrake. They may also disconnect your car battery to ensure safety during the replacement procedure.
  2. Locate the reverse light housing: Your reverse light bulb is located in the light housing on your vehicle’s rear end. Your mechanic will locate the bulb and inspect the light assembly before proceeding with the replacement steps.
  3. Access the bulb: Your mechanic will need to remove the access panel on your vehicle to get to the reverse light housing. They will then unscrew the mounting hardware to release the light housing from your vehicle’s exterior base. This will give them access to the reverse light bulb socket. 
  4. Remove the old bulb: With protective gloves, your mechanic will remove the old light bulb from its socket by twisting it counterclockwise.
  5. Inspect the socket: Your mechanic will inspect the reverse light bulb socket. If the socket is corroded or damaged, your mechanic will clean or repair it.
  6. Install the new bulb: Wearing protective gloves, your mechanic will install the new reverse light bulb into the socket by turning it clockwise until it's safely secure.
  7. Test the bulb: To ensure the new bulb is working, your mechanic will turn the vehicle and put the vehicle in reverse. With an assistant standing behind the car to monitor the light, the mechanic will verify if the new bulb is illuminated when the car’s reverse gear is engaged.
  8. Reassemble the housing: Your mechanic will reinstall the reverse light housing and reattach any trim pieces that were removed to access the housing.
  9. Final inspection: When the vehicle is fully reassembled, your mechanic will do another reverse gear test to ensure the light is working.

What happens if I don’t replace my reverse light bulb?

If you notice your reverse light bulb is not lighting up when you engage the reverse gear, don’t wait to get an inspection. A bad reverse light bulb can lead to the following issues:
  • Lower visibility when reversing
  • Car accidents
  • Traffic violations or citations
  • Difficulty parking 
  • Lower resale value

What is a reverse light bulb?

Reverse lights—also known as backup lights— are located at the exterior rear end of your vehicle. These lights help you avoid accidents by warning pedestrians and other drivers when you’re about to reverse. 
Reverse lights are an important safety feature for you and the pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers around you—the lights help others to safely maneuver around you. Your reverse lights also keep you safe when you’re reversing in the dark by illuminating the area at the back of your car. 
Keep in mind: It’s illegal to drive without functional reverse lights in most states.

When should I replace the reverse light bulb on my car?

Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your reverse light bulb:
  1. Lights are completely out: If your reverse light does not turn on at all when your vehicle is shifted into reverse gear, it’s time for a replacement. Your light may be burned out or faulty.
  2. Dim light: Flickering or dim reverse lights indicate dying bulbs, in which case you should have them replaced sooner than later. 
  3. Lower visibility: If you have trouble seeing through your rear windshield when backing up at night, your reverse light may not be working.
  4. Damaged bulbs: If you notice cracks or discoloration on the bulb’s glass, you should have it replaced.
  5. Traffic violation: If you are pulled over by a police officer or alerted by another driver that your reverse light is not working, you should have them inspected and repaired immediately. 

How often should a reverse light bulb be replaced?

On average, reverse light bulbs last five years. If you use LED lights, your reverse light bulbs could last up to 12 years or more.
Pro tip: Routinely inspect your reverse light to ensure the bulb is functioning properly. In many cases, drivers do not notice that their reverse lights are burned out since these lights are active when the car is reversing, at which point drivers are typically behind the wheel rather than behind the vehicle.

Can I replace my reverse light bulbs myself?

Yes, you can replace your reverse light bulbs yourself, but it's generally recommended that you take your vehicle to a repair shop for light replacements. Your car’s light bulbs are extremely fragile and, if mishandled or installed incorrectly, could result in a much shorter light lifespan. Your best bet is to get a certified mechanic on the job to ensure your lights are installed properly.

FAQs

On average, it costs -- to replace a reverse light bulb. This cost is made up of -- for parts and -- for mechanic labor.
Yes, you can change a reverse light bulb. If your reverse light is not working, you or a mechanic can follow the guidelines in your owner’s manual to successfully replace the faulty bulb.
The process involves accessing the back/reverse light housing, gently removing the old bulb, and installing the new bulb in the reverse light bulb socket.
Based on federal vehicle lighting regulations, your car is only required to have one reverse light.
If you believe there is a connection issue with your reverse light bulb, you can take your car to a mechanic for an inspection. If your reverse light bulb is not illuminating because it is blown or damaged beyond repair, you will need to replace it. 
To replace a reverse light bulb, you will need to follow these steps:
  • Locate the failed bulb and remove the lens and any mountain screws. Keep in mind that the screws may be hidden inside your trunk.
  • After the lens has been removed, locate the reverse light socket and twist it gently to expose the bulb.
  • Remove the bulb by either twisting it or pulling it out (try twisting first so you don’t damage the socket).
  • Wearing protective gloves, replace the bulb with the same bulb model. If you want a higher quality bulb, ask for a recommendation at your local auto shop.
  • Check the bulb by turning your key to the “On” position—without starting the engine—and putting your car into reverse.

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.