How to Replace a Car Headlight

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Replacing a burned-out bulb or headlight on your car is relatively easy. Cars will have one of two designs: On some cars, you replace only the small halogen bulb inside the larger glass headlamp, and on other cars (usually older ones), the inner bulb and larger headlamp are one piece that must be replaced.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You'll Need

  • Car Manuals
  • Magnetic Screwdrivers
  • Headlight Bulb
  • Screwdriver Sets
  1. Replacing a Halogen Bulb

    • 1

      Determine which type of bulb your car uses: Open the hood and look behind the headlamp. If you see a small, plastic, usually black knob on the back of the headlamp, your car requires a small halogen replacement bulb. Go to step 2. If the headlamp is the all-in-one-piece type, you'll see a thin metal band around the outside of the headlamp. This is what holds it in place. On the back of the headlamp you'll see a three-pronged connection covered by a piece of rubber (go to "Replacing a Headlamp" below).

    • 2

      Unscrew the black knob and pull it out. You may have to push in and turn. The bulb is attached to this knob and will come out with it.

    • 3

      Remove the bulb.

    • 4

      Avoid touching the glass on the new halogen bulb with your fingers. The oil from your fingers will ruin the bulb and cause it to burn out.

    • 5

      Put the new halogen bulb in.

    • 6

      Screw the knob and the new bulb back into the headlamp.

    • 7

      Turn on the headlights to test that it works.

    Replacing a Headlamp

    • 8

      Determine if you need to replace the bulb only or the headlamp itself: If the headlamp is the all-in-one-piece type, you'll see a thin metal band around the outside of the headlamp. This is what holds it in place. On the back of the headlamp you'll see a three-pronged connection covered by a piece of rubber. Go to step 10. If you see a small, plastic, usually black knob on the back of the headlamp, your car requires a small halogen replacement bulb (follow the directions in "Replacing a Halogen Bulb" above).

    • 9

      Unscrew the screws (typically there are two to four) that hold the metal band down. These screws are very small and short - don't confuse them with the two screws that are used for horizontal and vertical headlamp adjustment. The adjustment screws are larger and longer.

    • 10

      Put the screws where you won't lose or kick them.

    • 11

      Remove the metal band. The headlamp should hang limp.

    • 12

      Pull back the rubber covering and unplug the headlamp from the back.

    • 13

      Put the new headlamp in place and plug it in. Put the rubber cover back over the connection.

    • 14

      Put the metal band back on, and screw the small screws back in to hold it in place.

    • 15

      Turn on the headlights to test that it works.

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