The national cost for a side marker light replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $12 and $51 with an average of $17.

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What is a side marker light and how does it work?

Side marker lights are important components of the safety of a vehicle on the road. Paired with a reflector, these lights are amber in color and shine to the sides of a vehicle.

Since the late nineteen sixties, all vehicles sold in the US and Canada have been required to be fitted with marker lights and reflectors placed on the sides of the vehicle at all four corners. The purpose of the side marker lights is to make other drivers aware of the vehicle when driving at night. Drivers who approach a vehicle from the side and are unable to clearly see the headlights or tail lights can discern the position and direction of travel, as well as the length of a vehicle in the dark.

Some side marker lights are built into the headlight and taillight assemblies of a vehicle. Others are part of a turn signal/marker light assembly. Still others come as separate devices mounted away from the headlights and taillights. 


How is a a Side Marker Light Replacement done?

The procedure to replace a side marker light bulb, which is far more common than replacement of the light itself, depends on the placement of the light. If the side marker light is part of a headlight or tail light assembly, the bulb socket must be extracted from the assembly. On some vehicles, this can be difficult to access. A technician might need to lift your vehicle and reach the socket through a wheel well, for example. 

In many cases, the bulb is readily accessible through the engine compartment, trunk, or cargo area. In those cases, a technician will likely need to remove a cover or shield, unplug the wiring harness, dislodge the bulb socket, extract the bulb, and replace it with a new one before reassembling the unit.

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National average cost of a a Side Marker Light Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new side marker light?

Operational side marker lights are required on your vehicle, and in most municipalities, a driver can be ticketed for a faulty light. The marker lights should come on when you start your vehicle and turn on the headlight switch. If you notice that a side marker light will not turn on - or if the housing is broken - the light (or at least the bulb) should be replaced.

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Other questions customers ask

What is the side marker on a headlight?
Since the nineteen sixties, all vehicles in the US have been required to have side marker lights at the corners to allow other drivers approaching from the side to see the location, size, and direction of travel in the dark. Early side marker lights (and some current ones) come as separate lighting units placed on the fenders, quarter panels, or bumpers. But many modern marker lights come as a part of the headlight or tail light assembly on a vehicle.
Can you change a side marker bulb?
Yes. In most cases, the side marker light has a bulb that can be removed and replaced when it burns out, as opposed to replacing the entire light assembly. How that bulb is accessed depends on the vehicle make and model.
How do you turn off side marker lights?
Most side marker lights only come on when the headlights or running lights are switched on. Their job is to alert other drivers approaching from the side in the dark as to the location, direction, and size of your vehicle. When driving at night, the side marker lights should not be turned off, nor should they be disabled. It is a violation of the law to disable the side marker lights.

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