How to Change Car Headlights


Under normal operating conditions, headlights will usually last at least a couple of years. However, headlights, like any other automotive part, are subject to failure at any time. If your headlights have gone out, replace them immediately. Driving at night or in bad weather conditions with no headlights (or only one) is dangerous and illegal in most places.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers (optional)
  • Socket wrench (optional)
  • Screwdriver (optional)
  • Replacement bulb(s)
  • Obtain a replacement bulb compatible with your vehicle. If visiting your local auto parts store, ask a representative to show you which bulbs are compatible with your vehicle. See the resources to find bulbs online.

  • Pop your hood and examine your headlight assembly. Look directly behind the headlight to see if you need tools to access it. Most cars allow easy access to the headlight bulb without tools; others may require removal of a protective cover.

  • Turn your engine off and remove any covers or parts blocking the rear of the headlight assembly.

  • Grasp the headlight module from the rear of the headlight assembly. Twist the module counterclockwise to release it, and then pull straight out to remove it.

  • Pull the bulb from the headlight module to disconnect it. Install the new bulb in its place.

  • Place the module back in the rear of the headlight assembly and twist it clockwise to lock it.

  • Replace any panels you removed to access the rear of the headlight assembly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the online resource to find the correct model number for the bulb needed. Write down the number and bring it with you to the auto parts store.
  • Vehicles equipped with HID headlights do not have bulbs. Professional installation is required.
  • Photo Credit magnus_back/
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