Unlike passenger cars, virtually all modern pickups, sport utility vehicles, and Jeeps feature squared-off rear corners – a configuration that’s dictated more by necessity than by choice. Positioned on those sharp-edged corners at the most vulnerable spots possible are the tail light assemblies. We use the word vulnerable because tail lights really are sticking out there, with no protection.
Because of this, their plastic lenses are easily damaged - regardless of how much the rest of the truck has been fortified with off-road bumpers, skid plates, larger tires, and lift kits. Squeezing past trees, scraping between rocks, or plowing through brush can take out a tail light housing pretty quickly. And let’s not forget about shopping carts. Even if a lens cover isn’t broken apart, hairline cracks from impacts can allow rainwater to seep in, short out bulbs, and cause corrosion to bulb sockets and wiring. That problem is made worse if you’ve got a newer truck with LEDs or fiber optics.
As you might imagine, tail light assemblies can be costly parts to replace – even when you find factory style ones at the best prices possible (such as on CARiD). Will insurance cover the expense? Not with most high deductibles. The good news is it’s easy to protect your rear lights against damage with custom tail light guards that are affordable and easy to install. In this article, we’ll take a look at the guard pieces we offer, because seeing is believing.
First, we’ll point out that all of the tail light guards we offer are crafted from steel that’s much sturdier and impact-resistant than other metals. On most of the product pages, you’ll be able to choose a stainless steel version with finishes of either chrome or polished bare metal, or a traditional “mild” steel version with black powder coat.
Secondly, tail light guards are easy to install because they bolt on directly to the same mounting points that are used to secure the tail lights themselves. All that’s required to anchor the guards in place is temporary removal of the tail light lenses. No drilling or welding will be necessary.
Third, all tail light guards are vehicle-specific, meaning they have been designed with the size, shape, and contours of your specific make and model in mind. Custom-fit designs allow them to look stylish, not silly – and it ensures protection is maximized because there’s no gaps or areas left uncovered. Most tail light guards feature tubular steel construction, which is a natural way to continue any themes on your vehicle started by grille guards, running boards, bumper guards, or other accessories.
We’ll start off with a few tail guard kits that are available for the widest range of pickups and SUVs. The Black Horse Tail Light Guards and the Steelcraft Tail Light Guards (both in polished stainless steel or black) feature tubular construction and wraparound design on vehicles when it’s a functional advantage. The Black Horse products work with domestic and Japanese trucks going back to the early ‘90s. Steelcraft’s guards fit older Dodge Rams, as well as the newer Honda Element, Hummer H3, and Jeep Liberty, among other non-traditional trucks.
Body Armor’s Tail Light Guard (black only) for certain Jeep and Toyota models offers a choice of flat shapes or wraparound configuration depending on your preference. Rampage Tail Light Guards (polished stainless steel or black) feature a more squared-off look, with crossbars that vary in number depending on vehicle application. The Rampage products can be purchased for Jeep CJ models going back to 1976.
For those that prefer the look of a real chrome finish, it’s available on the Westin Sportsman Tail Light Guards and the Paramount Off Road Tail Light Guards. Paramount offers a unique-looking “billet” style option with protective metal that’s flat and wide instead of tubular, some of which encase the entire taillight. The Westin guards work with late ‘80s GM pickups as well as all the newer domestic trucks.
Tail Light Guards As Part Of Complete Light Protection Kits
If you own a Jeep Wrangler or CJ, we’ve got tail light guard kits that let you add protection for front lights. For starters, Crown Automotive offers 6-piece headlight/turn signal/tail light sets for older Wranglers in billet and mesh style designs with their Light Guard Kit. 2-piece tail light sets are available for all years. The Smittybilt Tail Light Guard page has 2007-2016 Wranglers well-covered with “Euro style” vertical bar guards for turn signals, headlights, and side marker lights. Older Wranglers can select headlight and turn signal guards, and tail light guards are available separately for all models – including CJs back to 1976.
The kits are especially attractive because, well, if you’re going with tail light guards, you really should consider guards for the other lights. Your ride will not only have a more unified look, you will also be adding true protection from on-road and off-road dangers.
Remember that for each manufacturer, designs and finishes will vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a picture may show a flat-looking tail light guard – but curved and wraparound designs may also be available to match the shape of your make and model. Some kits will display guard pieces for front lights in the Product Options section – but only after you’ve entered vehicle information.
Once you’ve got any of these products installed, you will have set yourself up for worry-free driving (and parking) for the lifetime of your vehicle. Plus, you’ll find these guard pieces really do draw admiring glances because they simply look so right on your truck!