How to Change a Headlight for Your Car

Guide of headlight bulb changing

Believe it when we say that headlights are usually the last things on a car owner’s mind until it starts fading out or goes out completely. And just like your eyes, that is how important your headlight is to your car.

You will know the importance of having a functional headlight when you are on the road. But since we are talking about how to change your headlight, this article will put you through all you need to know to get the job done like a pro. But let’s get some questions answered first before we delve into the topic of the day.

The importance of replacing your headlight

Like already mentioned, a burned-out or dimming light is the last thing you want to experience especially while driving on a dark and lonely road. You certainly won’t be able to see an oncoming vehicle and the same goes for the vehicle driver that is oncoming.

It is purely a recipe for disaster. And if you are caught with a faulty headlight, you may be charged for it. Having a good headlight surely gives you more visibility so there is no reason you should settle for an inadequate, yellow or dimming headlight.

When you should replace your headlight

You don’t have to wait until both headlights start dimming or go bad before you change your headlight. The thing is – if one headlight is already acting up, just know that it won’t take long before the other one starts acting up too. Therefore, once you notice a dim or bad headlight, change both headlights. Just make sure to find the one that the car manufacturer recommends.

What are the different types of headlights available?

Each car comes with a certain kind of headlight which is in most cases the standard headlight. And they are usually LED, halogen, or Xenon/high-intensity discharge (HID). Although it is common to find many cars with a halogen headlight, it’s still important that you know the difference between the three mentioned:

Light Emitting Diodes or what is best referred to as LEDs is much better than halogen because they don’t need much power to run. And they certainly are cooler than the later obviously. However, LED lights may not come as cheap as a halogen light would.

Halogen headlights are much brighter than what you get with most conventional headlights because they make use of filament known as tungsten-halogen with a mixture of halogen gas.

HID or Xenon as the case may be made use of gas instead of heated filament. They tend to shine brighter and operate at low temperature and usually last longer. However, you may need a professional to install one for you and that is not even mentioning that you will most certainly pay more to get HID headlights.

car headlight bulbs

How to tell the right headlight for your car

The easiest way to find out which headlight would go best with your vehicle is to refer to the manual from the manufacturer to know the options you can choose from. Or you could drive down to your local automobile parts and ask the professionals.

With that said, there are three things you should bear in mind when choosing a headlight and they are – the brightness, the price and color temperature.

As earlier mentioned, most cars come with halogen headlights, but since LED and Xenon bulbs starting gaining popularity, some car manufacturers are beginning to factor them in for better visibility.

Once you have gone through your user manual, you can then decide on which type of light to go for. Since we have answered the basic questions that people usually have about their headlights, it’s time to get down on how to change a headlight for your car.

Find the car bulb holder

Some cars require that you get some specific tools like a screwdriver or pliers before you can get to the bulb holder, while some cars do not call for such. Once again, it will be helpful if you can refer to your user’s manual to know if you will need one or not.

And make sure to park on a safe side of the road with your car engine turned off. Then open your car hood to find the back of your headlight which is usually where the bulb holder is located. Most times, there are 3 wires that look like a trapezoid that comes of the plug.

Remove the wires

Now that you have seen the 3 wires, you need to remove them. These wires are hooked to the plug found on the headlight base and the plug is held together by a metal clip, plastic catch and maybe also a screw cap.

If what you have is a plastic catch, then there will be a small lever that sticks out of the upper part of the plug. Once you press it down firmly but gently it will slide off. If what you have is a metal clip, just pull it up and then pull away to have the plug come off.

And for a screw cap, you can get the plug to come off by unscrewing it in a counter clock manner.

Take out the old headlight or bulb

Since the wires are no longer in your way, just reach and pull out the old bulb while holding the base where you had the plug. Some bulbs require that you rotate a little or gently wiggle them before they lose their hold and come off.

Fix in the new bulb

To avoid getting the new bulb stained with your body oil or fingerprints, get a clean rag or tower paper and take hold of the end of the bulb’s plug and then replace fix it in right where you took out the old one. If the bulb’s rubber gasket is not showing and the bulb is evenly lined up, it means you fixed it correctly.

Confirm that the light is working

The only way to tell if you did an amazing job at changing your car’s headlight is to confirm that they are actually working. Go ahead and plug back the wiring and everything you removed when taking out the old bulb. Once you are done turn on your headlights and if both of them turn on, you can pat yourself at the back for a job well done.

You can see how easy it is to change your car’s headlight. This can save you not only the hassle of having to pay a professional to do it for you but will also add to your automobile repair skills.