Ford Authority

Ford F-150 Tail Lamp Repair Costs Are Absolutely Nuts: Video

As vehicles continue to become more and more technologically advanced and chock full of advanced driver assist features, automakers are stuffing more and more sensors, cameras, and other pricey bits and pieces into them. As such, the replacement cost for something as simple as, say, a taillight can stretch into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, making them a prime target for thieves. One Ford F-150 owner recently discovered this the hard way after taking his pickup in for repairs, which Ford technician Brian Makuloco of the YouTube channel Ford Tech Makuloco recently documented in the video below.

2018 Ford F-150 Taillight Failure Repair - Exterior 002 - Rear

Makuloco is no stranger to the Ford F-150 in general, having churned out numerous helpful videos centered around the popular pickup – most recently, outlining the importance of finding a quality repair shop and just how complicated it can be to swap out an entire Ford 3.5L V6 EcoBoost engine. In this latest clip, a customer told our resident tech that his 2018 Ford F-150 Limited was displaying rear-side obstacle detection warning messages and acting quite erratically – to the point where it was nearly impossible to drive, in fact.

Right off the bat, Makuloco was able to find the culprit – water had leaked into the taillights, which is a common problem with pretty much every vehicle on earth, albeit typically not ones that are this new with lower miles on the clock. Regardless, while this would normally be a cheap and easy fix, this particular F-150 is equipped with LED tail lamps and side obstacle detection radar, meaning that it’s also equipped with loads of sensors, wiring, and other pricey stuff.

In this case, the water that entered the taillights caused corrosion to occur in the wiring and the module – part of the medium-speed CAN network – which is precisely why the owner experienced all sorts of electrical gremlins as a result. While it’s still a relatively easy fix, the cost of the parts and labor totaled over $5,000, which is quite eye-opening, but in this case, Makuloco was at least able to diagnose the problem quickly, which saved the customer some money in labor costs, anyway.

We’ll have more videos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Larry

    All car makers including Ford has the engine so tight and so computerized you must take it back to the dealer to have it fixed and charge you so much. They will take your first born to pay it.
    I remember it was so much easier to fix your car. You just need a screen, a wrench and a feeler gauge to fix it.

  2. Keith

    Extremely unnecessary over complication of simply systems + Ford’s perpetual under engineering and quality problems = AVOID at all costs

    1. Bill Howland

      Yeah, no reason to put the tail lights on a CAN data BUS. GM, HONDA are also doing nonsense – like battery load detectors and voltage regulators on the engine control module so a simple voltage regulator problem requires an ECM replacement..

      A related issue with my Caddy Lyriq (that GM is unaware of) is – taking load from the official take off plus and minus points makes the 12 volt battery go dead UNLESS you do a workaround I have found which essentially solves the problem.. But GM is having so many 12 volt dead batteries among multiple models both ICE and BEV that I don’t want to notify them of my potential problem NOR my perfectly fine work around… They have OTHER 12 volt dead battery problems exacerbated by over-the-air updates, which in my case I ALWAYS REFUSE. I want my car to keep working.

      But FORD here keeps coming up with GOOFY patents and overly complicated crap that is just a P I T A for owners down the road.

      $5000 to fix a tail light, – plus labor -. You would think the only HALF BRAIN DEAD people would sense something wrong with this picture.

    2. steve

      I have said it before and I will again, at 30K miles these trucks start giving small signs the problems are starting. I trade them at 32 – 33K miles, they still bring great money, dealer has warantee to back them, and its a right off for me in my business. new trucks are way to complicated. rotate tires twice, 4 oil changes and send it down the road to the next guy !

  3. cj

    that one reason i am hesitant to buy a new truck or car..suv etc….becuase of stuff just like this….Quailtiy is the sorriest it ever been…and add the inflated prices….one of reason most people buy new…it the old one is giving trouble….nowadays….pay inflated price….and recall after recall…..what have you gained..

  4. chip66

    Quality is no longer job 1.

    I’ll keep fixing my ’93 F-250. I can rebuild my transmission for less than a new tail light. Hell, I can almost re-body the entire truck with new sheetmetal for that money. There is no expense to maintain the old truck that would ever justify the insane costs of buying and maintaining a new truck.

  5. Randy Meeks

    All on warranty right? 1400. Buck taillight failed because of water leak? Ford has to pay for the taillight (and it’s troubleshooting and anything else that fails because of it… I mean if the taillight was just 100. Bucks it’s not much of a problem but 1400. Dollar taillight has to be worth more in some way, besides Ford learns better ways through the wallets just as we do. This is why I say warranty. Good sleuthing. You are probably worth your pay I’m hoping 😊

  6. William J. Offutt Jr.

    Over $ 5,600 for two taillights for Ford bad engineering is just plain nuts ! This is definitely a Recall item that Ford should bear! I owned a Ford 1964 F-150 that I bought used -2 yrs. old . and it just costs $1200 total ! Keep your old Ford trucks and don’t buy new Ford Junk !

  7. Shockandawe

    Another billion dollar recall! Maybe rename Furd Recall Motor Company!

  8. David

    ALL manufacturers keep designing and making these very ornate and complex tail light assemblies….NOT just Ford. The lenses alone are highly expensive and throw in the blind spot module and it’s pretty outrageous.
    Someone backed into my ‘18 Platinum in a parking lot and of course drive off having cracked a taillight lense.
    After the shock of dealer replacement part…I found several on e bay that were either take offs or ? Anyway I bought one for $625…. Took the blind spot module out of the cracked one and was back to normal. Literally less than ten minutes to complete. Still doesn’t make the costs any less crazy.

  9. Ben

    Feel this guy is an idiot electrically. With that amount of cost I am cleaning those pins and retinning them with soldier. Those modules are nema 7 so the board should not be shot just the connector. CAN is also low voltage so if it shorted board should still be good. Now did he repair it where it is guaranteed to work, yes, but he also just wasted a large amount of money no way all that was dead from some corroded pins he just did not want to deal with it.

  10. Stephen Tatro

    Went through the same thing on a 2015 Lariat. Someone backed into me at home depot long story short, cracked taillight, shorted out. But I ordered a set of aftermarket taillights for $500. Still pricey but what else are you going to put in there. Also when the taillight got damaged so did my aluminum tailgate. There goes another $1000 + for a used one. I did get lucky and found one a couple hours from my house on marketplace for $300. Just got lucky the guy didn’t know what they sold for.
    Palm Bay Fl


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