Backup Light Replacement Cost in 2023​

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National average cost of a a Backup Light Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is a backup light and how does it work?

A backup light is a safety feature of your vehicle’s lighting system. Also known as a “reverse light”, the backup light is mounted at the rear of your vehicle. In most cases, there is a pair of backup lights on a modern vehicle, one mounted inside of each tail lamp assembly. The backup light signals drivers to the rear of your vehicle that you have shifted the transmission into reverse (“R”) and are about to back up.


How do I know if my vehicle needs a new backup light bulb?

The backup light comes on automatically any time you adjust the transmission shift lever into reverse gear. If the light does not turn on, a wire, fuse, switch, or some other component might be at fault. But oftentimes, a blown light bulb is the culprit.

When this component fails, it is difficult for a driver to detect without assistance, since the only time it turns on is if the vehicle is running and the transmission has been shifted into reverse. On some vehicles, a dashboard warning light might indicate a bad reverse light.

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How is a a Backup Light Replacement done?

There are a number of causes of a faulty backup light on a vehicle, including a bad switch connected to the transmission shifter linkage or a broken wire. Most of the time, the problem with a backup light is a blown bulb, however. To change the bulb, a technician will typically need to access the inside of the trunk or cargo area and remove interior trim panels to get at the tail lamp assembly. Once the proper light socket has been identified, the technician will unplug the wiring harness, unseat the socket, and remove the bad bulb before inserting the new bulb and reassembling all components.

    Other questions customers ask

    Is it illegal to drive without backup lights?
    Technically, reverse lights (also known as backup lights) are not needed while you are driving, assuming you are moving forward. Reverse lights only come on when your vehicle is shifted into reverse. It is, however, illegal to operate a vehicle without a functioning backup light.
    Can you drive with just one reverse light?
    Yes. Federal regulations require at least one backup light at the rear of a vehicle. Typically, most passenger vehicles in the US feature a pair of backup lights, one in each tail lamp assembly. But only one is needed.
    Can you drive with a broken tail light?
    You can be stopped by law enforcement and ticketed if a tail light on your vehicle is broken. This is true whether a bulb has burned out or if the red or amber lens is shattered and the white bulb inside shows to the rear of the vehicle. Make sure to have your tail light bulb or assembly replaced if it is broken.

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