Auto DIY - Replacing Headlights

It’s amazing how clearly headlights allow you to see in the dark, but these essential tools have a shelf-life and, eventually, you will have to replace them. Fortunately, today's headlights are easy to replace and our DIY replacing headlights guide will have you seeing the light in no time.

Most owners can perform this task themselves with ease, and they can do so in just a few minutes. Heck, it’s a job that you could complete while parked in front of the auto parts store or your local Wal-Mart, and many times you won’t even need tools to do the job.

Which Bulb Do I Need?

The most difficult part of the job is figuring out the type of bulb that you need, and it’s dead simple. Flip open that manual and look for the maintenance section. You’ll find a list of replacement parts, including the bulb type for your vehicle. Make sure that you match it with the make, model and engine type of vehicle you have, though, because many manuals have multiple models listed now.

If you don’t have a manual in your vehicle, you can still figure out which part you need with a quick internet search, or by talking to the associate at an automotive parts store.

Make Sure You Have the Tools

Sometimes you’ll need a wrench, a socket, or some other basic tool as noted in your manual. Pay attention for tool requirements and make sure you have what you need to do the job before you go to change out the bulb. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting started, and then having to run to the store midway to get that last little tool.

Change out a New Vehicle Bulb

  1. Pop the hood to your vehicle.
  2. Find the back of the headlamp with the blown bulb.
  3. Figure out which of the several bulbs is actually blown. You can usually do this by looking at them all and their filaments, or simply by turning your lights on and looking at the headlamp up close.
  4. Follow along with the directions to open up the back of the lamp, pop the old bulb out and slip the new one into place.

Dealing with an Older Bulb

If you have an older vehicle, there’s a chance that you’ll have to pull the whole lamp out and then take it apart to access the bulb. It’s still quite easy to do, but you’ll have a bit more work to deal with.

  1. Disconnect the bracket holding the headlight.
  2. Disconnect the wire powering the light.
  3. Remove the lamp and disassemble it to access the bulb compartment.
  4. Pull out the old bulb and replace it.
  5. Put the lamp back together.
  6. Mount it in your vehicle once again and plug in the electrical wire.

The only thing left to do is to carefully check the position of your light to make sure it’s still aimed at the road properly after you finish the change. If not you’ll either have to adjust it yourself or have a mechanic handle that task for you before you drive around at night.