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  #1  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:37 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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How much should it cost to replace a cracked taillight?

I have a 2007 Honda Fit Sport. My wife recently brought it in for regular service and they pointed out that the passenger side taillight is cracked. It's a noticeable crack, but the light works fine and it is in no danger of falling apart or anything. I didn't even notice it until they pointed it out. Nevertheless, they said it might not pass inspection next time we bring it in, depending on how nit-picky the inspector is. The quoted us a cost to fix of $280.

Now, I know that repair costs at a dealership are typically higher than at just a regular body shop, but this struck me as ludicrous. It's a piece of cracked plastic! I've done some searching around on the internet, and it appears that the light is sold as a whole unit, so that explains a little bit why it's more expensive than one might imagine. But the prices I've seen trolling around are anywhere from $75-115 new for the part.

So, I'm looking for some advice. According to some how-to videos I've seen, it looks like something I could replace myself if I had the part. (I'm not a car person but I'm not an idiot, either). So, some questions:
  • Is $280 a reasonable price to replace a cracked but not broken taillight on a Fit? If not, what is?
  • Is it as simple to replace as it looks for a layman?
  • If so, where is a reputable place to order such a unit?

Many thanks to any car experts who can advise.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:44 PM
Kkrose Kkrose is offline
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When I busted my tail light I found one on ebay for cheap and was able to replace it myself. I am a completely inexperienced girly girl with no car maintenance experience to speak of. It is more difficult to change the bulb in my headlights than it was to replace the entire tail light. It is definitely as simple as it looks.

I can't remember which vendor I ordered my light from, but I do remember there were a ton and that they had varying ratings from ebay.

Last edited by Kkrose; 02-26-2012 at 05:45 PM..
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:44 PM
beowulff beowulff is online now
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Taillight assemblies are always absurdly expensive. I’m really surprised it’s only $280 - that sounds like an aftermarket price. So, if the dealer is quoting that price, I’d pay it and move on with your life.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2012, 05:54 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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I suppose I should have expected the first two responses to be completely opposite

I thank you for your feedback!
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2012, 06:47 PM
obbn obbn is offline
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Head over to your local salvage yard (junk yard) and try to find one there. Installation is usually very simple and you will save yourself a ton. I would be surprised if it would cost above $40 for a replacement off a wreck. I have saved literally thousands of dollars over the years purchasing used parts, and something like a tailight can save you hundreds of dollars.
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2012, 07:09 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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I just checked the place where I would order Honda parts from and all the taillight pieces together seem to be about the same price. FTR, when I saw the tread title, the first thing that popped into my head was "Oh, about three or four hundred dollars".
Check Collegehillshonda.com*. I've ordered stuff from them before with good results (as do people on the Honda board I frequent.)

*This should be the right page for your car, but I would suggest going back to the homepage and navigating back to it again in case I entered something wrong.

ETA, this one looks cheaper then $280, I did the math wrong and added the left and right taillights together.

Last edited by Joey P; 02-26-2012 at 07:13 PM..
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2012, 07:22 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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Last time I pulled one from a junkyard it was $80 bucks.

What city are you near?

Last edited by sitchensis; 02-26-2012 at 07:23 PM..
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2012, 07:33 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Junkyards price stuff based on the new price. If new is an arm and a leg, they settle for the arm.
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2012, 07:37 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
[...] they pointed out that the passenger side taillight is cracked. It's a noticeable crack, but the light works fine and it is in no danger of falling apart or anything. I didn't even notice it until they pointed it out. Nevertheless, they said it might not pass inspection next time we bring it in, depending on how nit-picky the inspector is. [...]
Is this a real concern, or just something dealers say to sell you a new tail-light? What kind of inspection does it even have to passs where this is relevant? The tail-light is still functional, so it seems absurd to force someone to replace it.

What if they "repaired" it with some model airplane glue, or a piece of clear tape?
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  #10  
Old 02-26-2012, 08:12 PM
phungi phungi is offline
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I am not familiar with the Fit, but I have a CRV and an Odyssey... I have replace a side-view mirror, head lamps, removed radios, installed Sirius, and Hondas are generally very easy to remove and replace things... I am sure there is a Honda Fit Forum with folks who have already done this and can share photos or pointers.
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2012, 08:52 PM
obbn obbn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
Last time I pulled one from a junkyard it was $80 bucks.

What city are you near?
When I was restoring cars I lived in Georgia. It should be noted that most of what I was restoring were late 70's early 80's Japanese sports cars, so the newer taillight might bring more of a premium. Don't forget that you can haggle with pick and pull lots. Never ever accept their first offer.
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  #12  
Old 02-26-2012, 08:57 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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If I can go to the junk yard, pick up a new tail light, and install it, then anyone can do it. Really!

I can't vouch for the price; the car I did it for was an old Dodge Neon.
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  #13  
Old 02-26-2012, 09:00 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Tail lights are simple to install. I'd never pay anyone to do it.

Wrecking yard is your best bet or search the Internet for after market.
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  #14  
Old 02-26-2012, 09:39 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I just checked the place where I would order Honda parts from and all the taillight pieces together seem to be about the same price. FTR, when I saw the tread title, the first thing that popped into my head was "Oh, about three or four hundred dollars".
Check Collegehillshonda.com*. I've ordered stuff from them before with good results (as do people on the Honda board I frequent.)

*This should be the right page for your car, but I would suggest going back to the homepage and navigating back to it again in case I entered something wrong.

ETA, this one looks cheaper then $280, I did the math wrong and added the left and right taillights together.
Thanks, that one looks like the right one. I found a similar site that had it for $112, and that one is $120. So it seems like the service center is pretty much trying to charge me $160 for a 1/2 hour of work (probably less for them). Grrrrr.
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  #15  
Old 02-26-2012, 09:45 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
Last time I pulled one from a junkyard it was $80 bucks.

What city are you near?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Tail lights are simple to install. I'd never pay anyone to do it.

Wrecking yard is your best bet or search the Internet for after market.

I'm in Boston. To be honest, if I'm going to replace it, I'd prefer to replace it with a new one, but perhaps that's just some fear that I'd be getting a dud from a junkyard, never having gone to a junkyard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post
Is this a real concern, or just something dealers say to sell you a new tail-light? What kind of inspection does it even have to passs where this is relevant? The tail-light is still functional, so it seems absurd to force someone to replace it.

What if they "repaired" it with some model airplane glue, or a piece of clear tape?
I'm asking myself the same question. I'm in MA, and we need to get the car inspected for emissions and general road-worthiness every year. I've never had a car not pass, so I really don't know if this is a concern or not.


Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies!
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  #16  
Old 02-26-2012, 09:50 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
Thanks, that one looks like the right one. I found a similar site that had it for $112, and that one is $120. So it seems like the service center is pretty much trying to charge me $160 for a 1/2 hour of work (probably less for them). Grrrrr.
They probably charge about $100/hr for labor with a minimum of one hour. That's pretty typical. Plus the markup on the part.

The dealership I use for my Honda charges $95 just to look at a car. But they'll put it towards the repairs if you get the car fixed (and refund it if it's under warranty). I blew a gasket at the GM the first time they told me that they were going to charge me $95 to tell me if my broken windshield wiper motor would be free to fix. Luckily he waived the diagnostic fee, but I presume that's because of a combination of a boatload of other problems I had with their service writer and the fact that he knew it would be covered by my warranty.
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  #17  
Old 02-27-2012, 07:31 AM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Also check tail light repair kits.
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  #18  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:03 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Years ago I drove an ancient Ford Escort that was on its last legs. It would not pass PA inspection without new ball-joints, and the labor charge was more than the value of the car.

I managed to buy the parts and a Haynes manual from JC Whitney. I borrowed a set of jack stands. It took hours, and left me with a few minor cuts and scrapes, but I did it. I am not a car guy or a mechanic.
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  #19  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:33 AM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
I'm in Boston. To be honest, if I'm going to replace it, I'd prefer to replace it with a new one, but perhaps that's just some fear that I'd be getting a dud from a junkyard, never having gone to a junkyard.
The problem is that the plastic cover is cracked, right? I'm not sure how you would get a "dud" piece of plastic that wasn't obviously broken.
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  #20  
Old 02-27-2012, 08:58 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
Is $280 a reasonable price to replace a cracked but not broken taillight on a Fit?
Probably. "Cracked but not broken" is irrelevant -- the whole thing has to be replaced either way.

Quote:
Is it as simple to replace as it looks for a layman?
In this particular case, probably not. In my repair info, the first step in replacing a taillight assembly is "Remove the rear bumper." Others' experience on different cars is not necessarily applicable -- they aren't all designed the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
I found a similar site that had it for $112, and that one is $120. So it seems like the service center is pretty much trying to charge me $160 for a 1/2 hour of work (probably less for them). Grrrrr.
No no no no no. That's not how auto repair pricing works. The prices you're finding are likely in the neighborhood of the wholesale price the dealer pays to buy the part from Honda. They're in business; you don't survive in business by selling stuff for the same price you paid for it. They're selling you the part for its retail price; the labor charge is more likely half or so what you've calculated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam View Post
Is this a real concern, or just something dealers say to sell you a new tail-light? What kind of inspection does it even have to passs where this is relevant?
A Missouri Vehicle Inspection, for one.

A cracked lens assembly can admit water, which can cause a bulb to blow. More likely though, the state's concern is that broken lenses can change how the light looks to other motorists, for example just a bare bulb shining without the red coloration that other drivers automatically associate with a tail or brake light. The state is not going to get into the endless fight of drawing the line between what degree of cracking or breakage is acceptable and what is not. They take the simple and unarguable position that ANY cracking or breakage fails inspection.

Taillight assemblies available from non-factory sources are not always up to factory quality. They may not fit just right, or may not be as sturdy. It's possible they may be perfectly serviceable, but there's some element of risk. If you choose the factory part, you can count on its quality.

On most cars, doing this yourself would be pretty straightforward and not a big challenge. On this Fit, if the rear bumper does indeed have to come off for access, it might well be more of a challenge than you're up for.
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  #21  
Old 02-27-2012, 09:41 AM
phungi phungi is offline
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From this site it looks like you can replace the cover of the taillight with very little effort. Replacing the entire assembly requires removal of the bumper.
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  #22  
Old 02-27-2012, 12:52 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phungi View Post
From this site it looks like you can replace the cover of the taillight with very little effort. Replacing the entire assembly requires removal of the bumper.
If I can just replace the cover, I would definitely opt for that, but based on what I've seen online and what others in this thread have said, I have to replace the whole unit.

That Fit site you linked to site and what GaryT said above indicates that I need to remove the rear bumper to get at the taillight assembly. That's probably above my pay grade, but I'll look into it.

Last edited by ShadowFacts; 02-27-2012 at 12:56 PM..
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  #23  
Old 02-27-2012, 12:56 PM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
No no no no no. That's not how auto repair pricing works. The prices you're finding are likely in the neighborhood of the wholesale price the dealer pays to buy the part from Honda. They're in business; you don't survive in business by selling stuff for the same price you paid for it. They're selling you the part for its retail price; the labor charge is more likely half or so what you've calculated.
Maybe. I found another site that sells the assembly for $80-90 new with a 2-year warranty. I certainly don't mind paying a little more for new factory parts and ease, which is why I always get my car serviced at the Honda dealer. But in this case the mark-up seems way too extreme.

Last edited by ShadowFacts; 02-27-2012 at 12:57 PM..
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  #24  
Old 02-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
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There was Ford Aerostar minivan I owned that had a taillight assembly that had a chip out of it. Not a penetrative crack, no water could get into the assembly, literally a chip. At the bottom of the band of amber. All three lights were in one assembly. Inspector flunked it. Dealership wanted hundreds, went to a wrecking yard, pulled one for $65 and installed it myself. Was still furious. It's a racket I tell you. Ever price parts for appliances? That's a racket too. $150 for an oven rack. That's one oven rack. The whole oven, new, might cost $600, and they're telling me half that is the wire racks in the middle? Fracking rassle-fargers.

Enjoy,
Steven
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  #25  
Old 02-28-2012, 11:36 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowFacts View Post
I have a 2007 Honda Fit Sport. My wife recently brought it in for regular service and they pointed out that the passenger side taillight is cracked. It's a noticeable crack, but the light works fine and it is in no danger of falling apart or anything. I didn't even notice it until they pointed it out. Nevertheless, they said it might not pass inspection next time we bring it in, depending on how nit-picky the inspector is. The quoted us a cost to fix of $280.

Now, I know that repair costs at a dealership are typically higher than at just a regular body shop, but this struck me as ludicrous. It's a piece of cracked plastic! I've done some searching around on the internet, and it appears that the light is sold as a whole unit, so that explains a little bit why it's more expensive than one might imagine. But the prices I've seen trolling around are anywhere from $75-115 new for the part.

So, I'm looking for some advice. According to some how-to videos I've seen, it looks like something I could replace myself if I had the part. (I'm not a car person but I'm not an idiot, either). So, some questions:
  • Is $280 a reasonable price to replace a cracked but not broken taillight on a Fit? If not, what is?
  • Is it as simple to replace as it looks for a layman?
  • If so, where is a reputable place to order such a unit?

Many thanks to any car experts who can advise.
First things firsto not take your car into the same place to have it inspected; you said you didn't notice it until it was pointed out. Then, the salesman said 'Pay us 280 now, in case the other guy won't be as easy on you as I am...." Or some such. I think you should wait and see if the inspector, from a place that doesn't make a profit from selling you items that need inspection approval, decides if you need to pay or not.
Secondly, go to a local Pull-Apart. Around here, they're danged cheap.
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  #26  
Old 02-29-2012, 09:32 AM
ShadowFacts ShadowFacts is offline
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I'm still trying to confirm if I need to take the bumper off to get at the taillight assembly. I've seen some info that indicates that this is the case, but nothing official. Is there a place online I can find this info officially (i.e. not some random dude on a message board just saying it - yes, I realize the irony there).

Again, it's a 2007 Honda Fit Sport.
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  #27  
Old 02-29-2012, 10:03 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtgman View Post
There was Ford Aerostar minivan I owned that had a taillight assembly that had a chip out of it. Not a penetrative crack, no water could get into the assembly, literally a chip. At the bottom of the band of amber. All three lights were in one assembly. Inspector flunked it. Dealership wanted hundreds, went to a wrecking yard, pulled one for $65 and installed it myself. Was still furious. It's a racket I tell you. Ever price parts for appliances? That's a racket too. $150 for an oven rack. That's one oven rack. The whole oven, new, might cost $600, and they're telling me half that is the wire racks in the middle? Fracking rassle-fargers.

Enjoy,
Steven
Next time you need an appliance part, check out Repair Clinic.
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  #28  
Old 02-29-2012, 11:04 AM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
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RepairClinic's listing for the rack my oven uses is also $150. Found one a couple years ago, when we moved in and discovered the previous owners had apparently taken the racks out of the oven to clean it and then misplaced them, for about $85. We bought one, and keep thinking about buying a second, but we rarely use both racks in the oven.

Enjoy,
Steven
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  #29  
Old 02-29-2012, 12:53 PM
Jennmonkye Jennmonkye is offline
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Not an expert, but I just paid about $420 to have the tail light repaired in my car. They had to remove the entire back panel of the car and the billing was about 75% labor costs at the dealership. On the other hand, my car is a relatively rare model for the USA and I don't trust any local garages to do it properly even though I probably could have found the part second hand somewhere. If the back end of the car has to come off to get to the light, you might be risking damage to your car to have someone do it who doesn't have the right tools to fix it properly, but that is just my opinion. In the meantime, if you do go with repairs at the dealer, see if they can sweeten the pot with a tank of gas or a free wash/interior clean...doesn't hurt to ask, right?
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  #30  
Old 02-29-2012, 01:12 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Is this the part you're looking for?

If so, this could be the replacement process you're looking for.
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  #31  
Old 02-29-2012, 01:18 PM
Folacin Folacin is online now
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It sounds like you have to buy a complete taillight assembly (probably true at the junkyard, also).

However, maybe you can pull the cover off the new one and use it to replace the cracked one? Not particularly eco-friendly (I'd hang on to the bulb), but might save you half or more of the quoted price.

If you do need to (or decide to) replace the whole thing, and the bumper pull is required - call a couple of body shops for quotes also.
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  #32  
Old 03-01-2012, 09:32 AM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Seems to me you don't have a problem until it fails to pass an inspection.
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  #33  
Old 03-01-2012, 10:11 AM
digs digs is offline
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
...Id pay it and move on with your life.
That's what I did, when I realized I was going to spend a dozen hours finding the best deal, ordering, waiting... and I needed to fix it fast, so I spent $200. Arrrrgh!

Then I busted a different taillight. For that one, I had more time, so I checked out a junkyard, trudged a mile down dirt paths lined with junkers, found a similar car, took out a taillight. Paid $35. And it fit my car just fine.
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  #34  
Old 03-01-2012, 10:34 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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If you really want to go cheap, you can glue the cracked pieces together, or cover with tinted plastic.
A repair kit will run you about $20.00.
I did this once on an old car-worked fine.
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  #35  
Old 03-01-2012, 11:11 AM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam
Is this a real concern, or just something dealers say to sell you a new tail-light? What kind of inspection does it even have to passs where this is relevant?
A Missouri Vehicle Inspection, for one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenBeam
What if they "repaired" it with some model airplane glue, or a piece of clear tape?
I looked up the MO regulations (PDF), and it says
Quote:
Reject vehicle if [...] A lens is [...] broken to the extent that moisture or contamination could enter the reflective area or light socket;
So tape is out (They're on to me!), but it sounds like repairing with glue or epoxy should pass.

Massachusetts is more explicit:
Quote:
Will a vehicle with a small crack in a tail light or missing reflector pass inspection?
No, the regulation clearly states that all lenses and reflectors must be intact, clean, unobstructed, and free from cracks. The use of adhesive tape to repair lenses is prohibited. If the lens has been repaired with an epoxy and is sealed from any water intrusion, it should pass.
So the OP should be able to repair it and have it pass.

Someone on another message board, that I came across when searching, had the following sage advice:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutshaw
In the past when I was worried about minor problems (some that obviously should have failed the car but weren't actual safety issues) I just went to a few inspection stations, pointed out the problem and flat out asked "will you fail me for this?".

If the answer is "yes" or "I can't tell you that" just drive to another station.

Last edited by ZenBeam; 03-01-2012 at 11:13 AM..
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