How to Replace Tesla Tail Lights

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Abbey Orzech
Updated on Apr 8, 2022 · 4 min read
Replacing
Tesla
tail lights at home can take you less than 30 minutes and cost somewhere between $50 and $170. By DIY-ing your tail light repair or replacement, you’ll be sure to save money on Tesla service or insurance charges. 
Maintaining your Tesla tail lights is important to your safety and that of other drivers on the road, but replacing them yourself can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before. 
That’s why
car insurance
comparison and broker app
Jerry
has put together this guide to help Tesla owners replace their tail lights at home. We’ll help you maneuver the replacement, look at common reasons for Tesla tail light malfunction, and help you find affordable Tesla insurance. 
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How to replace a Tesla tail light

Cost: $50 to $170
Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Tools needed: Pry tools, socket wrench, 8mm socket, short socket wrench extension, 8mm stubby wrench, safety gloves (optional)
Difficulty: Moderate
Before diving into the actual replacement of your Tesla tail light, you’ll want to first identify the cause of the issue, if possible. 
This can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re new to car maintenance and the problem is in the internal wiring. If this is the case, you may want to take it to a certified mechanic who will be able to identify the problem easier. 
Once you’ve determined the issue, you’ll be able to figure out which part you need to replace. Consult the owner’s manual to ensure the
Tesla part you order
will fit your specific model and year. 
It is generally hard to find Tesla parts beyond windshield wipers and air filters available outside of a certified Tesla repair shop, but some can be found on eBay.
Now, grab your safety gear and tools, it’s time to get started. We will break down the instructions for both the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y below.

Tesla Model 3 tail lights

Here is the process for a Tesla
Model 3
  • Disconnect the battery before you begin. If the problem with your tail light involves wiring, unscrew both cables from the battery, starting with the negative cable, to eliminate the possibility of an electric shock  
  • Access the tail light. You’ll find access to the tail light in the trunk and under the carpet, next to the light you need to fix. You’ll then need to remove the clips that hold the plastic trim in place 
  • Remove the bolts. Lift the carpet again to reveal the bolts there. Use your 8mm wrench to remove them. Then look for the circular knob above the tail light and remove that using a wrench or pliers 
  • Take out the tail light. You may have to wiggle the light back and forth a bit to loosen it from its position 
  • Install the new light in reverse order 

Tesla Model Y trunk tail lights

The tail light replacement process differs slightly for the Tesla
Model Y
trunk and : 
  • Disconnect the battery starting with the negative cable to eliminate the risk of electric shock while you’re working 
  • Locate and remove the rubber bumper stops. Begin by taking a picture or making a note of how far the stops were in so you can replicate their positioning during reinstallation 
  • Unclip the latch cover and trim. The trim is a long piece along the rear of the vehicle. Start at the sides 
  • Once those covers are off, locate the two plastic clips on the edges of the main panel and remove them by pulling downwards 
  • When the edges are loosened, you’ll need to remove the white electrical clip located on the passenger side. Just push the tab down, and pull the clip out 
  • Remove the rest of the trim clips holding the panel on. The panel should be fully removed now 
  • Disconnect the light’s electrical connection by pulling the red tab. Grab your 8mm socket wrench and extension and loosen the nut connected to the light 
  • Remove the light by using your pry tools underneath the light to help pop it out of the plastic clips, and pull it straight out 
  • Install the new light in reverse order 

Tesla Model Y bumper tail lights

For Tesla Model Y bumpers, follow these steps: 
  • Disconnect the battery to make sure you won’t receive an electric shock while working. Remove both cables, starting with the negative one 
  • Remove the rubber bump stops located on the top of the lights
  • Remove weather stripping that is around the tail lights 
  • Access the tail light by removing the side trim panels. There should be only one white clip to take out 
  • Disconnect the light’s electrical connection by pulling backward on the red tab. You may need to use your pry tools here to help pop it out. Then undo the two nuts behind the light with your 8mm stubby wrench 
  • Remove the light by pulling it straight out towards you 
  • Install the new light in reverse order 
If your replacement is needed for an issue like an internal wiring malfunction, you may have to take it to a Tesla service repair shop. 
Key Takeaway You can replace your Tesla tail light for around $50-$170 and a fairly straightforward process, but other issues may require a certified Tesla repair shop to handle them. 

Commons reasons for Tesla tail light malfunctions

Tesla tail light malfunctions can have an obvious reason – such as a crack from a fender bender – or they can be the result of something more elusive. If your Tesla tail light has damage or isn’t working and you’re not sure why, consider these potential causes:
  • Moisture on the inside: Whether it's condensation or rain, there is a chance that water has gotten on the inside of your tail light and is causing the malfunction
  • Faulty wiring or fuses: More extensive problems with your tail lights, or problems that don’t resolve with a replacement bulb, might point to a wiring issue or a broken fuse 
  • Surface degradation: Sometimes the light works just fine and you’re looking to replace it because of damage to the surface like cracks and scratches. We know the obvious causes of these, but there have also been reports of cracking or fissuring without any apparent cause—these could be a Tesla quality issue

Does car insurance cover broken tail lights? 

Car insurance may cover your Tesla’s broken tail lights, but it will depend on the kind of insurance you have and how the tail lights were damaged.
Comprehensive insurance
could cover you if there was damage inflicted by vandalism or a natural disaster, and
collision insurance
includes coverage for damage done in an accident with another vehicle or object. Even your basic
liability insurance
may cover a broken tail light if you can prove that the damage wasn’t your fault. 
So, yes, car insurance can cover a broken tail light, but since you’ll have to
pay a deductible
to file your claim, it's worth looking into how much a repair will cost and deciding if it's worth it to use your insurance. Also, keep in mind that your premium rate may increase after filing an insurance claim! 
Tesla repairs can get expensive because many of them require a certified Tesla repair shop, but replacing a Tesla’s tail light yourself can cost as low as $50! 

How to find affordable Tesla insurance

Tesla drivers, on average, pay about $2,093 a year on their car insurance. This may vary based on factors like your model, geography, and driving record. 
If you want to save money on your
Tesla’s car insurance
, the
Jerry
app is a good place to start. A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
Jerry
saved me $80 a month! I have a Tesla Model Y and really wanted to lower my rates. And they did! I really recommend you give this a shot!” —Nick M.
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FAQs

The cost of replacing your Tesla tail light will depend on various factors like the make of your vehicle and if you do it yourself or choose to have it serviced. A Tesla servicing team can charge around $400 but replacing it yourself can cost between $50 and $170.
Sure! Replacing your Tesla’s tail lights can be a DIY job, and can be made easier by following this guide. We know it can be intimidating – if you give it a go, have patience with yourself, especially if you’re a beginner.

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