Is It Illegal to Drive with a Broken Tail Light Cover?

Is It Illegal to Drive with a Broken Tail Light Cover

The lights coming from a vehicle have multiple purposes. You cannot help but admit how each of them is important. Actually, with a faulty light, you and your vehicle are not only at risk on the road, but it can easily drag you into issues regarding the law.

Just like the headlights, the taillights are equally important parts of your vehicle. They let the drivers on the back understand when you will turn or brake, and it is a mandatory thing. Without them getting the proper signals, it can lead to potential accidents.

So, is it illegal to drive with a broken taillight cover while the taillights are still working? Well, there are many rules regarding this, but in simple words, it is not illegal in most places. But it can still lead you to trouble. Let us explain that in our today’s article.

What Are the Risks of Having a Broken Taillight Cover?

To understand why a broken taillight cover is still dangerous to drive with, you must understand some scenarios. Check these points below.

  • If your taillight cover is broken, that leaves the tail light bulbs susceptible. Minor extra damage to the back of your vehicle and the bulbs can get broken to pieces. Driving with broken taillights is illegal for obvious reasons.
  • In the same way, you can’t drive with a broken taillight cover when it is raining or snowing, as the water and moisture can damage the bulbs heavily. It won’t take time for them to stop working entirely. You will have to replace the taillights, which may cost you.
  • The debris and grime from the road can also do the tricks and damage the taillights since the cover is no more.
  • If the taillight cover is broken and there are sharp edges, it can be illegal in many places as it is dangerous. It can easily injure someone when the car is parked somewhere.
What Are the Risks of Having a Broken Taillight Cover

Read more: How to remove moisture from headlight

What May Happen When Driving with Broken Taillights?

There are totally valid reasons why driving with broken taillight bulbs is illegal. You can check the points below to understand why it is a dangerous act.

  • With your turn signals not working, the drivers behind you won’t realize when you are turning or at which side. So, they can end up bumping you from an angle as you are about to turn.
  • Having a faulty brake signal bulb will hinder others from understanding when you are braking. So, if the one behind you is a novice driver, they may not be able to stop their vehicle in time and bump you from the back. It can lead to further damage.
  • If your reverse light is not working when driving backward, you can suddenly bump into the vehicle behind you. And it will be totally your fault.
  • Without the taillights, it will be hard to spot your vehicle from the back during heavy rain, fog, or a dark road. It can easily get you into a serious accident.
  • Having a broken taillight can get you pulled over. You may need to provide some fines for the offense. Some people also talk about getting their points reduced from their license for having a defective taillight or broken and sharp taillight cover.

If you better not get into any of the above scenarios, it is time to troubleshoot the taillight assembly as soon as possible.

What May Happen When Driving with Broken Taillights

Will Your Vehicle with Broken Taillight Covers Pass a State Vehicle Inspection?

A state vehicle inspection requires your vehicle to be completely intact and okay to pass. Any minor damage, issues, cracks, or even dirty parts will lead your vehicle to fail the inspection.

It also includes the broken taillight covers regardless of whether the bulbs are working or not. Because of this reason, it is always necessary to keep your vehicle in top shape.

If your vehicle fails a state inspection, you will have a limited time to fix whatever is wrong with your vehicle. The timing starts from the inspection and ends one month after the last day of the month stated on your inspection sticker. Not repairing your taillight covers within the time can make your it not roadworthy anymore.

Broken Taillight Cover

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tail light cover?

Tail lights are those round or oval-shaped lights that are mounted at the rear of a vehicle, and serve to alert drivers behind you that you’re driving. When you look at most vehicles, you’ll notice that the taillights are made of small, round lights, and they’re usually mounted next to the license plate or above it. 

However, some manufacturers have started installing large, flat, rectangular tail lights instead. These are called the tail light covers, and they provide a much larger area to display your car’s information and alert drivers behind you.

Can I drive with a cracked tail light cover?

You can drive with a cracked tail light cover, but it will affect your visibility and increase your risk of accidents. You should either repair the cover or remove it and install a new one. If the cover is cracked due to road debris, then you can try a silicone sealant to fix it.

Can you put red tape over a broken tail light?

No, you cannot put red tape over a broken tail light. Red tape cannot cover anything and is meant to be used to mark objects and surfaces, not parts of your car. So, unless you want to get arrested, you should get that fixed immediately.

Can you replace the cover of a tail light?

No, you cannot replace the cover of a tail light. A tail light cover is designed to protect the bulb of the tail light and not the lens. In fact, when you remove the tail light cover, you can easily break the bulb or shatter the glass of the lens. Hence, replacing the cover of the tail light is not recommended.

How do you fix a broken tail light cover?

A broken tail light cover can be fixed with simple tools and a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the cover, remove the broken screws, and replace them with new ones. Then, reattach the cover and secure it with some adhesive.

Can you drive with a smashed back light?

Yes, you can drive with a broken back light, but you should consider replacing it immediately. Your car's safety depends on its visibility, and the lack of a functioning backlight makes driving hazardous, if not impossible. The sooner you replace it, the better it will be for you, your passengers, and others on the road.

How long does it take to fix a tail light cover?

The repair time depends on several factors. First of all, you need to have the correct tools and know how to work with them. Secondly, if you already have a replacement, then you can save a little time by taking it apart and reassembling it. If you don’t have a replacement, then you can get one for a fraction of the cost. In case you’ve run out of luck, then it’s better to get it fixed sooner rather than later.

Can you drive with a broken blinker?

This depends on the type of blinking you have, and whether or not you're required to turn on a specific signal before proceeding. For example, flashing red light means you must activate it before starting your vehicle. This can be done by pressing the brake pedal and turning the switch, or you can use a blinking LED light instead.

What is the plastic cover over a headlight called?

A headlight cover is a plastic sheet that fits over the headlights on your car, to prevent damage to the lens and other parts of the headlight.

Is the tail light the same as the brake light?

No, the tail light and the brake light are two different things. The tail light serves as a backup indicator for your turn signals, while the brake light provides a warning when you slow down or stop.

Do tail light covers have to be red?

Red tail light covers are required in many countries, but not in others. If you're in a country where this is applicable, you should always make sure that you have a red cover installed on your tail lights.

Why does my brake light work but not my tail light?

Your car has 2 separate tail lights and 2 separate brake lights. So, if one of them works, then there's a good chance that the other one will too. Check your tail light first, and if that's working, then check your brake light next. If both of them don't work, then you've got a problem with your car's electrical system.

What kind of tape do you use for a broken tail light?

The best kind of tape you can use for a broken tail light is duct tape. Duct tape can be used for various purposes, including repairing a broken tail light.

How do you put on tail light tape?

Tail light tape is a tape that can be used to cover your existing tail lights on vehicles. You can use this tape to cover them on any car, truck, or SUV, and it won't affect the functionality of your lights. It also protects them from getting damaged and keeps them from showing dirt.

You should start by removing the bulbs from the sockets. This will expose the electrical contacts inside. Now, remove the tape from the roll and cut it into pieces to match the length of your existing tail lights. Then, attach each piece to the corresponding electrical contact to complete the installation.

How do you fix a broken tail light lens?

You need to get a replacement glass kit for the tail light lens. This is a small plastic cover that replaces the damaged glass, and protects the tail light from the elements. Most of the time, you can find a replacement part at your local automotive shop, or you can get one online.

Why is my left tail light not working?

Your left tail light may not be working due to a faulty bulb, a bad connection, a broken wire, or something else. To check, make sure that the headlight and brake lights are on. If they are, then the left tail light probably needs replacement.

What color is the tail light wire?

The tail light wire comes in either red or white, depending on your car. To determine its color, look for a connector with a light-colored housing and red-colored wires, or else, look for a connector with a light-colored housing and white-colored wires.

Can I put LED bulbs in my tail lights?

Yes, you can. You can put LED bulbs in the rear tail lights of your vehicle and enjoy brighter and whiter light at night. You should make sure that your lights are covered in reflective material and placed in direct sunlight for maximum efficiency.

Final Note

Now that you understand the consequences of driving with a broken taillight cover, you should avoid doing so in the future. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if only one taillight cover is cracked or both it still will cause problems for you.

If you notice any damage on your taillight lenses, you can go for a taillight lens replacement or contact a trusty mechanic for a work order. While checking the condition of the taillights, you will require another person. One will operate the vehicle in different ways, and the other will check whether all the lights work. Thank you for reading our article. Have a wonderful day.

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