How to Repair a Tail Light Cover

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How to Repair a Tail Light Cover

Tail light covers are plastic lenses that cover the tail light bulbs on cars and trucks; the cover allows light to filter through. The lens magnifies the intensity of the bulb to act as a warning light for drivers following behind the vehicle. Tail light covers often include the turn signal and backup light lenses. While some models have removable outer covers, the more common design is a tail light assembly that is a sealed unit with openings to insert light fixtures. Tail light assemblies are expensive, so it is better to repair a tail light than replace it if possible. Auto parts stores offer several tail light repair options, and consumers can also take advantage of the convenience of shopping on eBay.

Tail Light Repair Options

Depending on the damage to the tail light, vehicle owners have several options available to them to repair the plastic cover. Minor accidents or bumps to the rear of the vehicle can crack a tail light or even knock out a portion of the plastic lens.

Repair Method

Type of Damage Repairable

Lens repair tape

Damage where a portion of the tail light cover is missing

Plastic glue

Cracks where the whole of the tail light cover is intact

Lens repair kit

Gapped cracks or small holes

Tail Light Cover Replacement

Shattered lenses broken beyond repair

Quick drying plastic glues like Super Glue work well on hard plastic tail light lenses. Some lens repair kits come with flexible adhesive panels that attach directly to the tail light cover over the top of the crack or hole; other repair kits include a gap-filling adhesive that dries to a permanent transparent filler.

Applying Lens Repair Tape

Flying road debris occasionally knocks a chunk out of a tail light cover. To cover a small hole, owners can use translucent lens repair tape to patch a small area of damage. The tape is translucent, so light filters through similar to the appearance of the light cover and extra adhesive on the tape ensures the repair remains in place regardless of weather conditions. Owners can use lens repair tape as a temporary repair for badly damaged lenses until they can install a replacement part.

Repairing a Tail Light Cover With Plastic Glue

For cracks in a tail light cover where the plastic remains intact, plastic glue can seal the crack to prevent it from spreading and seal the lens against water intrusion. When using a fast drying plastic glue, owners can perform the repair without removing the tail light cover. Apply the plastic glue along the edges of the crack. If necessary use duct tape on the exterior of the cover to pull the sides of the crack together. When dry, carefully use a razor knife to trim excess glue from the outer seam of the crack.

Using a Lens Repair Kit

A lens repair kit can repair damage that leaves a gapped crack or a small piece of the tail light cover missing. Vehicle owners should select the kit with the repair materials most appropriate to the type of damage the lens has.

Filler Style Repair Kits

Lens repair kits with an epoxy filler work well to close a space between edges of a crack or to seal a small hole in the cover. Fill the hole or crack with the epoxy material and allow it to dry to a clear translucent appearance. The repair kit may include fine sandpaper to smooth the surface after the epoxy dries or owners can use 500 grit paper to achieve a flat, smooth surface on the lens.

Flexible Panel Style Repair Kits

A thin piece of flexible lens material can close larger holes or cracks with a thin piece of flexible lens material. Designed to mimic the appearance of lens material, these flexible pieces easily mould to the configurations of the lens, are backed with heavy duty adhesive, and can be cut to fit various sized holes.

How to Buy Tail Light Cover Repair Parts on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer all types of tail light cover repair material, as well as replacement covers or housings. Enter the product you are looking for into any eBay search bar to see a list of products matching the

keyword

description. Use

eBay Motors

to find replacement lenses for the year, make and model of your vehicle. Check out the

eBay Deals

page for specials on tools that can assist you with the lens repair job. It does not take a great deal of skill to repair a tail light cover and the savings can be significant. If you must replace the entire cover or tail light assembly, a vehicle repair manual can provide instructions on removal and installation of the new part.

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