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  • Driving without headlights is unsafe and violates the law, so you should replace broken headlights immediately.
  • If you’ve gotten in an accident, take a picture and contact your insurance agency and the police.
  • Collect the debris of the broken headlights.
  • Apply clear tape on the broken headlight or amber tape on the turn signal lights as a temporary measure to protect against the elements.
  • Order new headlights for installation at the dealership or a trusted repair shop.
  • You can prevent headlight damage by taking precautions like parking within labeled parking areas and knowing your vehicle’s dimensions.

Getting into an accident and damaging headlights is sometimes unavoidable. A minor collision with an obstacle or another vehicle on the road can break the glass. Other times, you might start your vehicle one day only to realize that your headlights have been shattered. Driving without headlights is incredibly unsafe at night because you may not see what’s in front of you. Shattered lights also don’t look good, especially considering that they’re some of a vehicle’s defining features.

All vehicles are mandated by law to have headlights. If your headlights aren’t on by sunset, then you might get stopped by law enforcement and fined. Some states even mandate that headlights be turned on before dark or when visibility is low.

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You should replace your broken headlight immediately. Luckily, having faulty or broken headlights isn’t the end of the world because finding a replacement isn’t that difficult as long as you don’t own a vehicle that has proprietary adaptive headlights from brands like Tesla or Porsche.

Here’s what you should do once you’ve discovered that they’re broken:

car headlight with clear tape
If the glass exterior of your headlight is shattered but the bulbs are still functioning properly, apply clear tape to protect your headlights from the elements.

Take a Picture of the Accident and Contact Your Insurance Company

If you just found your lights shattered when you reached the parking lot, make sure to take photos of the assembly and its surrounding area. If you collided with another vehicle, it’s always advisable to take a picture of your vehicle right where the accident occurred. You should also obtain other information like the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and driver’s license numbers of all involved drivers.

If your lights were damaged in a hit and run, you should always notify the police because it’s required by most insurance policies.

You’ll need to provide insurance companies with documentation when they investigate your claim. This is especially important when there’s a third party involved in the accident, as they might pin the blame on you. Your documentation might prove whether the other party disobeyed certain road markings, signs, or traffic lights.

Pick Up the Debris

If your lights have been shattered, then there’s a high chance that there are shards of glass lying on the road. Glass shards can potentially injure other people or property. As a courtesy to pedestrians and the community, make sure to pick up the glass if there are some pieces lying around.

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Apply Clear or Amber Tape

If the glass exterior of your headlight is shattered, then the electrical components inside the headlight can be exposed to water and other elements. If the bulbs inside the headlight are still functioning properly, buy clear tape (or amber tape, if the turn signals were also damaged) from the hardware store or auto shop to protect your headlights from the elements. Make sure to use the appropriate tape color to seal the hole.

However, you should remember that this is only a band-aid solution and that you should still repair or replace your headlights. Short circuits and electrical damage can occur if you skip this process, which can eventually lead to more expensive repairs.

car mechanic installing a new headlight
Dealerships can fix your broken headlight by replacing it with an OE replacement, but they tend to charge a premium for their services.

Order New Headlights and Have Them Installed

You shouldn’t ignore your damaged headlight because water and other elements can seep inside and damage your vehicle’s electronic and interior components. Dealerships can fix your broken headlight by replacing it with an OE replacement, but they tend to charge a premium for their services.

In comparison, repair shops tend to be more affordable, but part availability isn’t always guaranteed. Use our installation service here at to have your headlights replaced as soon as possible. Our service allows you to shop for the right part and book a nearby mechanic to install the part for you. All our mechanics are trusted and certified by RepairPal so you can be confident that your part will be installed properly and function without any issues.

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Watch these videos to understand how to replace your headlight assembly:

How to Prevent Headlight Damage

There’s no way to completely avoid accidents or vehicle damage because you simply can’t control everything on the road. That said, you can take several precautions to reduce the chances of your headlights being damaged.

If you’re parking in public, make sure your vehicle is within the labeled parking areas. Going over the designated parking space might force other vehicles to squeeze into the parking spot adjacent to your vehicle. This can put your vehicle at risk of being bumped.

Knowing your exact vehicle dimensions can also go a long way in preventing fender benders since these types of accidents can easily lead to shattered headlights.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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