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Is It Illegal to Drive Without a Headlight Cover?


Over the years, headlight covers have become quite trendy and stylistic. They come in several colors now to enhance the beauty and character of the car. Irrespective of how stylish they have become, they are still very useful in protecting your headlights. Knowing how useful they are, would you say it is illegal to drive a car without a headlight cover?

The short answer to that is a NO. It is not illegal to drive without a headlight cover. Some states rather restrict the use of headlight covers at night, especially colored ones. Headlight covers protect your headlights from damage. This means that your headlights can still survive without them.

Headlight covers are the first line of defense for headlights. They enclose the headlights and withstand any incoming rock, debris, or hit that may endanger a car’s headlights. They can usually withstand such obstacles because they are made of strong acrylic material. Continue reading to learn more!

Is driving with a broken headlight cover illegal?

It is important to note that driving without a headlight cover is completely different from driving with a broken headlight cover. Anything that makes your car prone to accident becomes an issue.

Various states have laws on the minimum brightness output of headlights. For example, the headlight beam must be visible from 1,000 feet away in Texas and Arizona.

In some other states, the high-beam setting on headlights must project 350 feet in front of the vehicle, and the low-beam setting must project 100 feet in front of the vehicle.

Irrespective of your state, using a broken headlight cover is not advisable. A broken headlight cover will affect the intensity of the light from the headlight. The intensity of light coming from the cracked area will be higher than that from the uncracked area. This may endanger you, your car, and other pedestrians.

Furthermore, if a cop sees you driving with a broken headlight cover, he may pull you over. This will either end with you receiving a notification about the broken headlight cover or a warning.

What can damage your headlight cover?

As we all know, the most common reason for damaged headlight covers is the relentless assault from natural environmental elements such as stones, debris, UV rays, and more.

Besides that, several other things can damage your headlight covers. Some include

The use of harmful cleaning agents

Some cleaning agents are pretty harsh. Constant use of such reagents can end up damaging your headlight covers. It is best to use cleaning reagents specifically made for headlight covers.

Subjecting your headlight covers to strong external force

This is quite common, especially while driving. At times, we accidentally bump our cars into walls or hard obstacles. As a result, they end up cracked and damaged.

What should you do if you have a broken headlight cover?

Headlight covers are constantly exposed to accidental damages. If your headlight cover gets damaged, you can temporarily or permanently fix it.

Permanent fixing

You can do this by purchasing a new headlight cover. After purchasing one, you can either fit it in yourself or get a mechanic to do it for you.

Note that doing it by yourself will be cheaper and quicker. However, if not done properly, you may mess up or damage the new headlight cover. You can use the following procedure to change your headlight covers by yourself.

  • You must be extremely careful to ensure that you do not damage your headlight lens and bulbs
  • Use a screwdriver to unmount the old broken headlight covers.
  • Fit in the right headlight cover using an automatically graded tape, for example, PVC electrical tape.
  • Do the same for the left headlight cover.

If you realize that you can not replace your headlight covers yourself, then get a mechanic to do it.

Attempting to replace your headlight covers by yourself will cost you about $75 to $200. Getting it done at an auto shop will cost you about $250 to $700, depending on the model of your car, the state you reside in, and the mechanic’s labor rate.

Temporal fixing

You can fix your broken headlight cover temporarily by taping. It is best to use good headlight masking tape to prevent tape residue from being left behind. To do this, follow the following steps

  • Unplug the broken headlight cover
  • Cover the broken area of the headlight cover with packing tape.
  • Secure the edges of the packing tape with masking tape
  • Smoothen out the packing tape on the headlight cover with your hands to eradicate all gaps.

Is it illegal to drive a car with colored Headlight covers?

Most states permit the use of headlight covers only during the day. Some have specified that they must be colored either white or amber.

Given this, contemplating whether or not you should tint your headlight cover is not something to do if you intend to use your car publicly. Coloured or tinted headlight covers eradicate the main purpose of headlights.

Some states do not even permit the use of white headlight covers at night.

How useful are headlight covers?

Headlight covers are quite useful.

  • Their resilient nature makes it possible for them to protect headlight lenses from stones, pedestrians, and minor abrasions.
  • They reduce the percentage of light transmitted by headlight bulbs.
  • They prevent oxidation on your headlight assemblies.
  • Fashionable headlight covers enhance the beauty of a car.
  • Highly sophisticated headlight covers give your car the blackout effect. This makes your car perfect for exhibition.

Do I need headlight covers?

The headlights in most cars are very susceptible to damage. They are quite fragile and can be easily destroyed. This is where headlight covers come in.

Headlight covers increase the life span of headlights by protecting them from all unexpected obstacles such as stones and debris.

Additionally, they reduce the percentage of light transmitted from headlights to prevent accidents.


Headlight covers are very useful and needful. They preserve your fragile headlights and save you money in the long run.

Most states have regulations about headlight covers. It is best to check your state’s regulations on headlight covers before purchasing one.

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