How Much does it Cost to Replace a Headlight? (2024 Update)
Headlights are critical components of every vehicle. They illuminate the road at night, keeping you and your passengers safe and letting other drivers know you’re there. Headlights are essential on dark or poorly lit streets, they and help you avoid accidents.
Besides their normal light setting, headlights also have “high beams” for even more illumination. In short, you shouldn’t drive unless both light settings are in perfect working condition. You can expect to pay between $100–$700 to replace the entire headlight assembly depending on the make and model vehicle you own.
The Importance of Replacing a Headlight
If one, or both, of your headlights aren’t working, replacing them is essential. There are several reasons why. First, driving without a functioning headlight is extremely dangerous at night. This risk is especially high if you’re on the road with no lights or very few lights. Even on a well-lit road or highway, it’s imperative that both headlights are working.
Headlights let you see what’s moving across the street like a car, deer, another animal, or bicyclist. Headlights also allow you to see obstacles on the road, including debris, potholes, or something that might have fallen off (or out) of another car. With properly working headlights, you’ll see these things and have plenty of time to avoid them.
Having two functioning headlights is also required for cars and trucks across America and other countries. If you only have one or, even worse, no working headlights, you could get pulled over and issued a ticket. That ticket would likely cost more than replacing the headlight in many cases.
How Much Does Replacing a Headlight Cost
The cost to replace a headlight isn’t the same for all cars. It’s close, no doubt, but every manufacturer has its unique headlights, and some cost more than others. There are three different headlight types in most vehicles made today. They include halogen headlights, xenon headlights (also called High-Intensity Discharge or HID), and LED headlights.
Most vehicles use only one type of headlight. Typically, lower-priced vehicles will use halogen headlights. Sportier and more expensive cars will usually have xenon headlights. (Their headlight ports are narrower, and xenon bulbs are also narrow.)
LED headlights, the newest of the three, are usually reserved for the highest-priced, most luxurious vehicles. Also, those vehicles often use LEDs for daytime running lights. Before purchasing new headlights, it’s vital to check which type is used in your particular vehicle.
Standard Costs for Different Types of Headlights
|Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID)
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Automotive experts recommend replacing both headlights simultaneously, even if only one is faulty. The reason is, with an old headlight on one side and a new one on the other, your headlight display could become uneven. That presents a risk and causes a problem for oncoming motorists.
If the entire headlight assembly on your vehicle has been damaged due to an accident, the cost to replace it can run between $100–$700 or more, depending on the make and model vehicle you own.
One part you might need to replace is the headlight cover, especially if it fogs up badly enough to block the light from your headlights. Headlight covers cost between $75–$200
Lastly, there’s the cost of labor. On some cars and trucks, you can replace the headlight yourself. In others, however, replacing the headlight demands the help of a professional mechanic. The labor cost to replace a single headlight, on average, is about $50–$70.
The labor cost to replace an entire headlight assembly is usually between $250– $300, but depending on the make and model of your vehicle, it could be as high as $1,000. The labor to replace a headlight cover runs about $200– $700.
How Often Should I Replace a Headlight?
Working headlights don’t need to be replaced until they’re failing. The exception is when one headlight needs to be replaced, and you install both to ensure an even headlight display. Besides that, headlights don’t have to be replaced until they stop functioning.
As we saw earlier, halogen, xenon HID, and LED, vary in their lifetime hours. Halogen will last about 3,000 hours, while xenon HID will last three times as long, about 10,000 hours. LED headlights can last a whopping 30,000 hours (which might be longer than you own the vehicle). If you keep track of how many hours you use your car, truck, or SUV, you’ll know when your headlights need to be replaced. Again, there’s no need to replace your headlights if they’re still working (they aren’t like oil or air filters).
Is Replacing a Headlight Covered by Insurance
If your vehicle’s headlights are damaged under specific circumstances, your automobile insurance might cover the cost of replacing them. For example, your insurer will typically cover the replacement cost if you have comprehensive coverage and your car’s headlights are damaged in a storm, flood, or fire. The same goes for vandalism or if the lights are damaged when the vehicle is stolen.
Collision insurance, in the majority of cases, will cover the cost of replacing headlights damaged during a collision or other accident. That includes colliding with an object like a wall, tree, and another vehicle. Then there’s basic liability insurance, the least expensive insurance, that also provides the least coverage.
However, if another driver causes your accident and your headlights are damaged, the cost to replace them will usually be covered by the other driver’s insurance.
What to Do to Keep Your Headlights Working Between Replacing Them
Unlike many parts of your car or truck, there’s no need to maintain your headlights, at least in the traditional manner. However, since they provide all-important illumination and keep you safe on the road, keeping your headlights clean is necessary.
Cleaning the lights with detergent when you clean the rest of your car is the ideal method. If they get covered in mud or grime between cleanings, wipe them with a damp cloth or sponge.
Your vehicle’s headlights are essential to keeping you safe, especially when driving at night. Like your eyes, they help you see and avoid accidents with obstacles, animals, and other cars. If they aren’t working, it’s crucial you replace your headlights as soon as possible. That way, you’ll stay safe on the road and avoid a costly traffic ticket.
Featured Image Credit: Oleksiy Mark, Shutterstock