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Backup Light Switch Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a backup light switch replacement is between $87 and $100. Labor costs are estimated between $45 and $58 while parts are priced at $42. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.

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What is a Backup Lamp Switch?

Many transmissions use a backup lamp switch to activate the reverse lights when the transmission is placed in a reverse gear. This switch may be integrated with the park and neutral safety switch, which prevents the vehicle from starting when placed in a drive range. In a manual transmission, the will likely be a standalone switch engaged when the reverse is engaged, and disengaged at all other times. That is because the equivalent to a park and neutral safety switch for a manual transmissions is mounted on or adjacent to the clutch pedal bracket, and is known as the clutch safety switch.

How does a Backup Lamp Switch work?

The backup lamp switch is located on or inside the transmission, and the and is actuated by selecting any speed or range for the transmission. The switch will only activate the tail lights when the gear or range selected is reverse. This switch is often part of a transmission range or position switch, so all positions will be monitored, but the reverse position is the only position which can actuate the reverse lights.

What are the symptoms of a bad Backup Lamp Switch?

The only two symptoms for a backup lamp switch that are possible is failure to turn on or off, and intermittently turning on when not in reverse. If the reverse lights do not illuminate when the transmission is in reverse, or if the lights will not turn off with the vehicle out of reverse, the culprit is likely the backup lamp switch. Also, intermittently activating while driving could be due to a damaged switch or moisture in the switch, and this can be diagnosed through inspection or testing.

Can I drive with a bad Backup Lamp Switch?

Replacing the backup lamp switch is required immediately to avoid fines. For most locations, reverse lights are mandatory, and failure of state inspection is only one concern. In many states being cited for having no reverse lights will require proof of repair and a small fine or court fee, depending on the location of the incident. This can be avoided by a swiftly reactive repair.

How often do Backup Lamp Switches need replacement?

Reverse light switches fail sporadically, and many switches that are mounted externally to the transmission, especially if unprotected will likely fail due to physical damage or transmission fluid leaks rather than defects in workmanship. Older style switches will fail at some point due to poor contact, and computerized switches have been known to fail due to transmission fluid leaking on the electrical connectors. While the backup lamp switch and transmission position sensor do fail more than some other components, understanding when one will fail is impossible.

How are Backup Lamp Switch issues diagnosed?

The backup lamp switch can be very quick to diagnose with only a multimeter, and in some cases, a digital scanner may be all that is needed. For simple switches, the switches can be tested for continuity and checked to ensure the switch is being actuated. This can require removal and inspection of the switch and manipulation of the gear selector while testing the switch mounted on the vehicle.

How are Backup Lamp Switches replaced?

The best case scenario for replacing the backup lamp switch is when the switch is located on the exterior of the transmission, especially for manual transmissions. This can be as easy as extracting the switch with a socket wrench, and installing the new switch before plugging in the electrical connector. In some cases, the shift shaft assembly, transmission pan, and even the valve body may need to be removed in order to replace the transmission position sensor. The worst case scenario is that the transmission is drained of fluid, the shift shaft assembly is removed, followed by any obstructions to removing the sensor. This may include the transmission valve body. Once accessed, the sensor can be removed, replaced, and obstructing components replaced as well. The shift shaft will receive a new seal before installation, and the transmission pan, filter, pan gasket, and fluid will be replaced prior to test driving the vehicle.

RepairPal Recommendations for Backup Lamp Switch issues

If the backup lamp switch is faulty and mounted inside the transmission oil pan, it is a good idea to check with the manufacturer to learn if an update or improvement has been made on this part. If not, it still may be a good idea to purchase the part from the manufacturer, as reliability of some third party parts may not be comparable to the manufacturer's part.

What to look out for when dealing with Backup Lamp Switch issues

Especially when working with a computerized transmission position sensor, disconnect the battery prior to servicing the vehicle. This will prevent any unintentional grounding of battery voltage and the

Can I replace the Backup Lamp Switch myself?

When the switch is on the exterior of the transmission housing, replacement is a snap, and there is really no qualification needed to replace this simple part. However, internally mounted transmission position sensors and backup lamp switches should only be replaced by an experienced DIYer or a professional technician. There are many components that may be damaged while inside the transmission oil pan, especially if the valve body must be removed. If it involves removing the transmission oil pan, consider having a reputable certified shop handle the repair.

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