Is It Okay To Drive With A Damaged Headlight Cover?

It’s normal for headlights to be used between sunset to sunrise. In many places, the two headlights of any vehicle must be perfectly functional by law and should be covered using headlight covers in most cases. If you got your cover damaged somehow and wondering if it’s okay for you to drive with the damaged headlight cover, this post is for you.

The thing is, when your headlight cover is either broken or damaged, you run the risk of getting your car designated as a ‘dangerous vehicle’, which carries not only a fine but could also add points to your license as well. In essence, it is not okay to drive with a damaged headlight cover, especially in some regions.


In the rest of the post, I will be telling you more about driving with a damaged vehicle headlight cover and also providing answers to some questions you may have about doing that.

Are headlight covers generally legal?

Generally speaking, headlight covers are legal in many places and acceptable during the day but must be taken off at night. Their colours are equally important too, just as is how far the headlights must reach in front of the vehicle while driving at night.  For this reason, tinted headlight covers are not generally permitted by law in most places. To be on the safe side, find out what colours are allowed and those forbidden in your region before getting them. In addition, you need to also find out how far the headlights are allowed to project in front of the car while driving.

Can you drive without headlight covers?

Yes, you can, and are allowed to drive without a headlight cover. In fact, where you use one, you are required to take them off by law, especially at certain times of the day. Despite this, do not invite the obvious risk of driving without them as doing that may endanger your headlight bulbs or their frame due to moisture or flying stones on the road.

Will the cops pull you over if you have a damaged headlight cover?

Yes, the cops can pull you over if you have a broken headlight cover. Usually, this is done just to draw your attention to the fact that you have a broken headlight cover, in case you are not aware of the fact. After this notification, you are most likely going to be allowed to go free, provided you promise to take care of it with as little delay as possible.

What to do if you have a broken headlight cover?

Though it is preferable to replace any broken headlight covers with a new one, especially the glass type, there are still some precautions you can take in order to prevent the cracks in your plastic headlight covers from getting bigger and unmanageable. Doing this is important since it can protect your headlight bulbs from burning out during rainstorms or when they come in contact with other contaminants. Ensure that during replacement, the bulbs are not handled directly since the oils on your hands can lead to the premature death of the bulbs.

How do you temporarily fix a broken headlight cover?

The fastest and easiest way to temporarily fix your broken headlight cover is by taping it. Broken headlights are usually taped for different reasons. Firstly, you may tape your headlights in order to protect them from getting chipped or cracked some more, to protect them against the rain or moisture, during the painting of the vehicle close to the headlights, among many other reasons. A good headlight masking tape will do this nicely without leaving behind any tape residue in the process.

Predominantly, vehicle owners tape their broken car headlight covers either for ordinary uses or for a race, and each has a different way of going about it. But if you are doing this to give a temporal fix, a masking tape is enough, and you can do that in the following steps:

Taping a broken headlight cover

Step 1

In the beginning, unplug the headlights so as to prevent them from melting the tape or any protective film covering.

Step 2

cover the headlights with packing tape and secure the edges of the headlights by pushing it into the gap between the body of the car and the light.

Step 3

Afterwards, tape around the edges of the packing tape with the aid of masking tape or painter’s tape. This will prevent water or moisture from getting into the headlight. Then, gently press and smoothen the tape with your hands to make it fit perfectly to the headlight by making sure that there are no gaps or spaces.

Can you replace a headlight cover?

Replacing your headlight cover depends on the type of cover your vehicle is using. Many of the cars in use nowadays have glass headlight covers that do not come off and hence cannot be easily replaced. However, you can replace those made of plastic, but even in the case of plastic covers, you will have to replace the entire headlight unit.

How much does it cost to fix a broken headlight cover?

Fixing a broken headlight cover is not possible if you are dealing with a glass type. In such cases, the only option is to replace the entire headlight unit. However, in some cases when dealing with plastic headlight covers, you may have to tape the covers temporarily until you get their replacements.

All in all, the cost of fixing a broken headlight cover is between $75 to $200. You can actually save money on headlight cover replacements if you compare their prices online before settling for one and also by learning how to replace them yourself, which will save you the cost of labour.

How much will it cost to replace a headlight cover entirely?

Replacing a broken headlight cover depends on the type of vehicle and its model. This is because when the cover is broken, you may just have to replace the entire headlight unit with a new one, especially when you are dealing with glass headlight covers.

Another avenue for more expenditure is whether you will be doing the installation by yourself or with the help of experts in the business. However, the cost of replacing a vehicle headlight entirely ranges between 250 to 700 dollars depending on the model of your vehicle and the nature of the headlights. This cost is however expected to change from time to time, but comparing prices on sites where people are providing the services will definitely help in giving you a reliable idea of their current prices when you need it.

Where can you go to fix your headlight cover? 

Headlight repairs and replacements can be done at any of several auto repair workshops with a global spread such as Firestone Complete Auto Care Store or Glass Doctor. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment for every repair work online or find anyone in a location near you.

How do you replace your headlight cover?

There are two ways through which you can replace your headlight covers which are: by doing that via simple and fast do-it-yourself (DIY) procedures or with the help of professionals in the business.

If you wish to do it yourself, the following steps give a good guide.

Replacing the headlight by yourself

Step 1

Unmount the old covers using a screwdriver, but remember not to rush through the process as doing so may lead to scratching the headlight’s lens.

Step 2

Snap-on or hook and loop the new headlight coversheadlight covers by starting with the right headlight before the left, which can be accomplished in mere minutes.

Step 3

With the aid of an automatically graded tape, join the electrical connections or mask specific places before painting. These PVC electrical tapes are pressure sensitive and before using them, you are advised to cut them to size and then press them into place. This gives a strong and secure bond that will hold finely under any weather or road conditions. For more satisfactory results, use the 3M super strong automotive attachment tape.

For professional headlight replacement

First, drive to the nearest mechanic to you and to get a reliable one, you may have to go through your favourite search engine and look up “Professional mechanic or Oxford mechanic or mechanic” followed by the name of any place you live in. This is particularly important because some headlights require professional installation and in that case, you should avoid any DIY which may lead to undue damage of vital car parts and the voiding of warranties.

Alternatively, you can check out the embedded google map below for mechanic addresses close to you

What are some of the laws governing the use of headlight covers?

Depending on where you are, there may be different laws governing the use of headlight covers. But the most common ones found in many places include:

  • Headlight covers protect your car headlights from damage or dirt while driving and they are commonly made from tough acrylic substances and different colours.
  • As a general rule, the use of headlight covers is permitted in the daytime from sunset to sunrise and must therefore be removed at night. Their colours are also regulated according to accepted local laws and for this reason, you are advised to find out what obtains around you from the local transportation authorities.
  • There is also the need for headlights to project far ahead of you while driving up to about 100 feet in front of the vehicle. The high beam is required to project up to about 350 feet in front.
  • Though they are mostly allowed from sunset to sunrise only, you are however permitted to use them where certain conditions prevent you from seeing 500 to 1000 feet ahead of you, at whatever time that may be.
  • To keep your headlights always sparkling clean, get a recommended headlight cleaning kit and use it once or twice every five months. These kits are provided with sandpaper, plastic polish and wax. Doing this cleaning regularly may save you the hassle of removing them every night.

What are some of the causes for cracking headlight covers?

There are multiple reasons that cause headlight covers to crack. The most notable of these is the relentless assault of the elements particularly UV rays in cases where you park the car in the sun for long periods and habitually, too.

There is also the destructive effect of using harmful and unrecommended cleaning agents and waxes. The materials used in their construction also play a significant role in how susceptible to cracks these headlight covers are.

Finally, you can also easily get the headlight covers cracked or damaged from strong and forceful impacts as is common during accidents.

This is why it’s important to buy only headlight covers that are produced using the best available materials. All in all, be sure to make the right choices when getting your replacement headlight covers. fixing-damaged-car-headlight-covers


For the roles they play in our driving pleasure and safety, headlight issues must not be treated with levity. Thankfully, most of the steps in their maintenance and proper use are both easy and fast to undertake. In cases where you are confused about anything, you are advised to refer to the user manual or the manufacturers through their customer care services.

As for driving with a broken headlight cover, that is not really a major problem but getting it fixed would be a lot better for you than when you let it stay that way for long and cause more problems to your main headlights.

Don’t forget to always park your vehicle in shaded places or garages, so as to reduce the degradative effects of UV light on it which lead to extra headlight issues.


Hi, just letting you know that all products recommended here have been used by me, or are properly researched to ensure they are the best you are getting without bias.

I am also an affiliate for certain Amazon products and this means that some links here are affiliate links. If you purchase an item through any of them, I MAY earn a commission at no extra cost on you.

Leave a Comment