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Tail Light Lens Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your tail light lens replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your tail light lens replacement.
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John Davis
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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 tail light lens?

On average, you can expect to pay $155-$500+ in total for a tail light lens replacement. The exact price will vary based on your vehicle’s make and model.
How long does it take to replace a tail light lens? It typically takes 1 hour for a professional mechanic to complete the replacement. Your mechanic will inspect your lights to determine if a replacement is necessary, then follow through with the appropriate steps. 
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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 tail light lens replacement and how much do those parts cost?

You can check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for precise information on parts and tools for your vehicle, but here are the general requirements for tail light lens replacements:
  • Tail light lens: You will require the correct tail light lens for your vehicle’s make and model. Check your owner’s manual for tail light lens guidelines. Tail light lenses typically cost $20 to $60.
  • Sealing gasket or sealing foam: Tail light assemblies usually include a gasket or seal to ensure the lens and tail light housing are firmly secured. Tail light sealing gaskets usually cost $10 to $30. 
  • Screwdriver set or socket set: Depending on your vehicle, you may need a screwdriver set or socket set to access and replace your tail light lens. Screwdriver and socket sets typically cost $25 to $125.
You can purchase tail light lens 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. Three brands we recommend for tail light lenses are Dorman, TYC, and Eagle Eyes. For sealing gaskets or sealing foam, brands like 3M, Permatex, and ACDelco are amongst our top recommendations. When it comes to socket sets, we recommend brands such as Craftsman, Stanley, and GearWrench. However, keep in mind that the best parts and brands for your tail light lens replacement will vary based on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Car experts generally recommend purchasing OEM replacement tail light lenses rather than aftermarket lenses. OEM tail light lenses are built with higher quality materials, are made to perfectly fit your vehicle—both cosmetically and electrically—and tend to come with warranties. 
While aftermarket parts are generally less expensive, OEM tail light lenses are also fairly affordable, and you get your money’s worth through their quality builds and durable lifespans.
You can purchase OEM parts for your tail light lens replacement from your vehicle’s dealership, or from automotive parts stores or auto body shops, reputable shops including AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts. 
For aftermarket parts, you can browse online from retailers like Amazon and RockAuto or visit a specialty auto parts store for higher-quality aftermarket lenses.

Where can I get my tail light lens replaced?

If your tail light lens is damaged, you’ll need to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a full replacement. To help you find the best auto shop for your car repair needs, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can compare costs from over 2,500 vetted automotive repair shops in the US.
Jerry's GarageGuard™compares fair price estimates* from each shop using their real hourly labor rate. With Jerry's GarageGuard™, you can budget ahead for any diagnostic fees (and find out if they’re included in the auto repair or replacement cost), and you’ll have access to 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.
170 Reviews
Florin Auto Center
address
2770 Florin Rd, Sacramento, CA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$199.99
129 Reviews
Randolph Center Auto
address
328 N Main St, Boston, MA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
183 Reviews
Eurocraft Motorsports
address
71 Rosedale Rd, Watertown, MA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$110
177 Reviews
54th Street Auto Center
address
415 W 54th St, New York, NY
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$191
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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 tail light lens?

As tail light lenses are an integral part of your vehicle’s exterior rear lighting system, the process to replace them takes the expert knowledge of a certified mechanic. With the right part, your mechanic will replace your tail light lens by following these steps:
  1. Preparation: With the vehicle parked and the engine turned off, your mechanic will engage the parking brake and disconnect your car battery. They will examine your tail light lens assembly and ensure they have the correct part and instructions for the replacement.
  2. Access the tail light assembly: Tail light assemblies are usually accessible through the vehicle’s trunk or exterior rear end. Your mechanic may need to remove trim panels or a tail light cover to access the tail light assembly.
  3. Remove the old lens: In general, tail light lenses are secured to the tail light housing by screws or bolts. Your mechanic will remove the screws or bolts to detach the tail light lens from the housing.
  4. Inspect the housing: Your mechanic will inspect the tail light housing, the tail lights, and the tail light bulb sockets. If there is any corrosion or damage, your mechanic will clean and repair or replace the applicable parts.
  5. Install the new lens: Your mechanic will secure the new tail light lens in the position of the old lens using the correct bolts or screws.
  6. Test the tail lights: Your mechanic will test the tail lights, reverse lights, turn signals, and brake lights to ensure they are functioning correctly and appear in the correct color. Your vehicle will be good to go if the replacement was done correctly and the tail lights are working properly.

What happens if I don’t replace my tail light lens?

If you notice your tail light lens is cracked or damaged in any way, you should get an inspection as soon as possible. A faulty tail light lens can result in the following problems:
  • Lower visibility 
  • Limited ability to communicate with other drivers on the road
  • Higher risk of car accidents
  • Traffic violations
  • Decreased resale value

What is a tail light lens?

The tail light lens can be found at the back of your car and is usually a glass or plastic cover placed over the various light bulbs that indicate to drivers behind you. The lens also creates the necessary light color depending upon which bulb is being used—for example, red for brake lights and yellow for hazards.
The tail light lens is generally one full unit that contains several of these bulbs, which means that if one part is damaged, the whole assembly may need to be replaced.

When should I replace the tail light lens on my car?

Here are a few signs that it’s time to replace your tail light lens:
  • Visible damage: If you notice cracks, broken pieces, debris, or moisture buildup on your tail light lens, it’s time for a replacement. 
  • Lower lighting: A damaged tail light lens can impact the amount of light emitted by your tail lights. Get your tail light lens replaced immediately if you notice damages that are causing your tail lights to appear dimmer.
  • Traffic violation: If you are pulled over for a damaged tail light, you should definitely schedule a replacement as soon as possible.
Pro tip: If you are selling your vehicle and your tail light lenses are damaged, it’s a good idea to have them replaced. Faulty tail light lenses can decrease the value of your vehicle.

How often should a tail light lens be replaced?

Tail light lenses do not have specific replacement intervals, but they are prone to damage due to their fragile builds. While your tail light lens may last the full lifespan of your vehicle, there’s a high chance you’ll need to replace it at some point due to cracks, moisture buildup, or damaged pieces.
Pro tip: Routinely inspect your vehicle for any visible damage to your tail light lens and take your vehicle to a mechanic for repairs or replacements when necessary.

Can I replace my tail light lens myself?

Yes, you can replace your tail light lens yourself, but it will require the right tools and a comprehensive understanding of your tail light electrical connections. If you aren’t 100% confident in your DIY car repair skills, you should take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for your tail light lens repairs or replacements. 

FAQs

On average, it costs -- to have your tail light lens replaced by a certified mechanic. The parts for your tail light lens replacement will have an average cost of --, while the cost of labor will amount to approximately --.
Yes, if your tail light lens is damaged but your tail light bulbs and sockets are in good condition, you can get your tail light lens replaced alone. When you go to the car repair shop for your lens replacement, your mechanic will perform an inspection to ensure your bulbs are working correctly.
Technically, you can drive with a broken tail light lens, but doing so is against the law and could lead to a traffic violation ticket. Drivers must have two working headlights and two working tail lights, including two maintained tail light lenses. If one or both of your tail light lenses is damaged, you should avoid driving and have them replaced at your earliest convenience.
Here are the steps a mechanic will take to replace a tail light lens:
  • Examine the tail light lens assembly to assess the damage.
  • Open the trunk to access the rear of the car.
  • Remove the screws and fasteners that hold the assembly in place.
  • Pull out the tail light assembly and separate it from the bulbs.
  • While removed, consider swapping for all new bulbs.
  • Reinstall the new assembly and test to ensure a snug fit and proper illumination of all the bulbs present.

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.