$2200 to replace a single Lexus headlight?

I was listening to this Consumer’s Advocate radio show today, and this lady called in, saying she owned a fairly new Lexus, and her headlight had filled with water. She was only 1 month past her warranty period. She said the Lexus dealership thought it was unfair she should have to pay the whole bill, since she was only 1 month from the warranty period, so they said they’d split the bill 50/50% with her. $1100 each!

It was nice the dealership showed some flexibility, but does it really cost $2200 to replace a single headlight on a Lexus? Seriously? That seems like 10X as much as it should cost. Last time I replaced the headlight bulb on my Toyota Corolla, it cost $7! Anyone have experience with what seems like they should be simple and inexpensive Lexus repairs? Or is there more to it than it would seem to replace the headlight on a Lexus?

Sounds like a good reason to never buy a Lexus. Fancy headlights on high end cars are expensive to replace, but if this is true it is ridiculous.

I also find that price incredulous, I know things have gone from repairable to replaceable, but if that is the replacement cost I stop at stunned or dealership ripoff.

If the water damaged the ballast, I can see it. HID headlights are very expensive.

Many headlamp assemblies on modern cars are extremely expensive. It’s not a ripoff; just a sad fact of mechanical life. This is especially true of HID lamps.

My LIncoln Mark uses the 9005 bulbs that are readily available for 20 bucks or so a pair. The HID option on that same car pushes the price into the stratosphere. I’ve seen used, bare HID bulbs sell on eBay for 300 bucks a piece, and that that doesn’ include the mass of stuff that goes along with it.

Many car owners love the high tech stuff until it fails and the repair cost is revealed. There’s also the distinct possibility of some behind the scenes maneuvering on that Lexus repair that could put a different spin on it.

I wonder if the headlight assembly was changed out for that amount. There may be a lot of labor involved to remove the assembly and a Lexus mechanic at $130hr instead of body shop at $40/hr the bill adds up fast beyond part price.

I don’t think a simply bulb albeit HID was involved.

"There’s also the distinct possibility of some behind the scenes maneuvering on that Lexus repair that could put a different spin on it. "

Yes indeed… Imagine what the car would cost if you bought it part by part??

A quick search if car-parts.com for a 2009 (3yrs old out of warranty) ls460 top-o-the line as a for example. Used the headlight assembly costs up to $1000. So new at a dealer, yeah $2200 could be.

I remember reading a story in a trade publication many decades ago about buying a new car off the lot and comparing the MSRP to the prices of the individual parts needed to put that car together.
This involved a 1980 Chevy Citation which at the time could be had for about 6k dollars brand new. If the individual parts and assemblies were purchased across the counter to build that Citation it would have run a bit over 90k dollars.
For some reason that story has always stuck with me and no doubt the ratio is about the same today.

While I’m not at all saying the dealer is shady, a scenario could exist in which the car owner paid the 1100 dollars per lamp (halfsies) and the dealer could have possibly force fed a warranty claim through. Odds are the dealer kept the lamps and producing the goods is necessary for approval of a warranty claim.

The lamps could also be dried, repaired, and sold but not necessarily over the dealer parts counter. Once most warranty parts are verified to exist by the rep they’re generally consigned to the dumpster but those parts can also be headed off at the pass and kept.

I have replaced a half dozen Lexus headlamp assembies under warranty because of water entering the housing, the typical warranty cost is $1800. The labor is a little over an hour.

Lexus has reinvented the Tucker headlight, the inboard headlight follows the front wheels when making a turn. The headlights are also automatic leveling. These features are not standard on less expensive models.

The expense of position sensing motors, styling and the standard exessive mark-up add up to the retail price. The HID bulb may not be included in the replacement housing. Lexus retail price on a HID bulb is $175.

I’m really not surprised at the cost for a high end car if it needed a complete headlight assembly. I think I’ll just keep my old Fords. They may not be as classy as a new Lexus, but at least I have money in my pockets. I can change the headlight bulbs myself for about $5-$10 each and they are old enough if I ever need a headlight assembly there’s plenty of them available at the junk yard for $25. each, and even come with a bulb. about 12-15 years ago someone hit my '88 Escort in the parking lot at work and damaged a headlight assembly along with other damage, When I took the car in for an estimate I think the price of a new aftermarket assembly was about $300+ labor, the total estimate was about $780. I turned in the estimate to the other persons insurance company, collected the money and was waiting to get the car repaired. A few days later I was on my way home from work and saw an '88 Escort loaded on a flatbed at a mechanics shop. I stopped to take a look and ask the man what he was doing with the car, he said it was going to the crusher. I ask him if I could get the parts I needed to repair the damage to my car and he told me to get whatever I needed. I pulled the parts and ask him what I owed him, he said nothing. I ended up doing the repair myself and repaired everything except a small paint crack about 1/2" long on one of the fenders. I think my out of pocket cost ended up being less than a $1 for a new parking light bulb and an afternoon changing the parts.

Prices can get a little out of hand.

Here’s an example. My sister has 2002 Ford Explorer Limited 4.0 L. She was complaining of a gas smell from the vehicle along with it stalling at stops with a Check Engine light on. The CEL was caused from multiple misfires. It turned out it was caused from a defective Fuel Injector Pulse Damper leaking into the vacuum line. This is basically a fancy name for a fuel pressure regulator. Which is mounted on the end of one of the fuel rails. But! This component is almost impossible to find. Look it up! Rock Auto lists it, but they send an E-mail the next day saying that they can’t get it! The only local Ford dealer that had this component wanted $385.00 for it. What?

So, I went to a local auto recycler. And for $50.00 I aquired a complete fuel rail assembly. This included the Fuel Injector Pulse Damper along with six injectors. So now the vehicle is fixed, and she has six extra injectors waiting in the wings.

I was lucky! But sometimes luck isn’t on your side.


Prices get out of hand by design as well. I’m presently doing battle with Toyota. My truck is just 5k out of warranty by miles, but has a position switch that sticks that’s embedded in an actuator that’s embedded in a transfer case that costs $2300 to fix. Used to be a $50 item on previous trucks. This, just to see if truck did make it into 4 wd.

My goto independent makes the same estimate as well. I could do it myself for $50, a lift, the right tools, space and a better attitude. At some point, one of us will give in. Have had great service from my previous 6 Toyota trucks…I told them if it isn’t settled to my satisfaction, it will be my last and my bad attitude about it will be related to anyone else in the market to buy who cares to listen. Designed in profit.

I work for a Honda dealer, the lx trimed minivan does not have a center console. Had a customer who wanted an lx but needed the console. You can’t get the whole unit from Honda, only parts. If you add up all the parts to make one the “cost” is around $1500. Wow!

Yep, back when my mom had her 94 XJ12 . one of the windscreen washer nozzles because clogged. I tried to clear it out with a pin , but was unsuccesful. So I went over to the body shop where I worked when I was in school, and talked to my old boss to see he if could order me a new one, figuring he’d be cheaper than the Jag dealer. He said he’d be happy to, and pulled it up on the computer, then he said “huh, that can’t be right”, and showed me me the screen. It said that part , a windscreen washer nozzle, mind you, just a small piece of plastic basically, was $75. He thought it must’ve been a misprint, so he called up the supplier, and sure enough the price was $75, there was no mistake. So I said, I’d call around to see I could source the part myself, The Jag dealership was the only other place in town that had it, and they wanted $99 for it. The Jag’s regular mechanic said that his price on it was $75 for the part as well. So I ordered the part from the body shop and made the repair when the the part came in.

Some years back while changing the plugs on my previous Lincoln my hand slipped off the ratchet and bumped the ABS sensor switch on the brake booster. This cracked the plastic grommet that it plugged into.
After getting it apart I discover that it’s a hard plastic grommet with an odd shape in a few places so a parts store generic grommet won’t work.

Swinging by the Ford dealer with the grommet (which has the parts number molded in) they tell me that grommet is not available by itself. The entire brake booster at over 400 dollars must be purchased if I want that grommet.
A check at the boneyards showed that the one yard that had a booster wanted 150 for it.

At that point I said to heck with it and spent a few hours on the lathe making one out of aluminum, which did work fine although I would have preferred to just buy the grommet and be done with it.
I can’t fault the Ford dealer on this because they simply have no way of ordering that small part by itself as the system simply won’t allow it with the grommet part number not even being shown.

Today a customer requested a price quote for a new steering wheel for his 2005 Lexus LS430, wood/leather trimmed. The leather is worn, I think an upholstery shop could replace the leather sections for a fraction of the price. Anybody care to guess how much?

It’s probably got audio and cruise controls on it; maybe more. I’d guess about $1700.

I had the bleeder screw on the gasoline cap of my 2 stroke roto-tiller fall out due to the vibration of the tiller and was lost. I went to a small engine parts store and a bleeder screw wasn’t available. A new gasoline cap had to be ordered and was $25. I decided it wasn’t worth it, so I went to a hardware store and bought a bolt that had the same size threads as the bleeder screw for 5 cents. I replaced the bleeder screw with the bolt and drilled a small hole in the cap for a vent. The tiller works just fine. Since it is stored in a shed away from the house, I don’t think there is a problem. If a part is unique to a particular application, it always seems to me to be overpriced.

2005 Lexus LS430 steering wheel $2332.80, I was told the audio switches and cruise control switch was not included.