How to replace a headlight bulb yourself

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Headlight bulb replacement

Save money by taking care of your own headlight maintenance. Headlight bulb replacement is a great DIY project for experienced auto enthusiasts or first-time DIYers. Find out how to replace a headlight and where to go for affordable and convenient bulbs in this guide.

Compare bulbs

You may be surprised to see how many bulb options are out there. Here are just a few types of bulbs you need to compare when choosing your replacement parts:

  • LED
  • HID
  • Halogen

In addition to these basic categories, you’ll also need to compare brands, bulb types, throw distances, and color temperatures. The throw distance of a bulb describes how far you will be able to see in low-light conditions.

Color temperature differences affect the color of the bulb. Some give off a yellow light, while others are a vibrant white. Discuss the pros and cons of different bulbs with an auto parts representative to find the best option for your vehicle and driving style.

Gather your tools to change a headlight bulb

To replace a headlight doesn’t require any specialized tools, but you’ll still want to gather a few items. It’s best to wear safety gloves and goggles, since you’re working under the hood of the vehicle.

You’ll also need the right replacement bulbs and potentially a screwdriver and/or wrench, depending on your vehicle. Park your vehicle on a flat, dry surface that has plenty of light before you pop the hood and start the process.

Remove the old ones

Before you touch any bulbs, check to see if your vehicle has separate high beam and low beam bulbs. If so, determine which bulbs need to be replaced. Removing your old headlight bulb varies depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Most only require a few screws to remove the cover, while some are more complex. This can include removing your air filter housing, battery or other component before removing your old bulb.

Review your service manual to find out the best way to access the headlight’s interior compartment. Once you’ve removed the casing, carefully remove the bulb and safely dispose of it.

Take note of the location of any screws, bolts and components you need to remove too. You’ll need to install it all after you put in the new light.

How to change a headlight: Do both bulbs at once

It’s recommended to replace both headlight bulbs at the same time. While you may feel like you’re saving money by replacing only one, the reality is that the other is typically near the end of its life as well. Replace one bulb and you may discover that the other one is burnt out shortly after, which requires you to follow all of these steps again.

Never touch a headlight bulb with your bare hand. The natural oils on your skin can reduce the lifespan it.

Instead, carefully remove it with a glove or rag and insert it into the headlight assembly. Check to ensure it’s firmly secured before replacing the cover and any other components you removed.

Save time by shopping online

When it comes to how to change a headlight bulb, now you know the steps to do so yourself. Save time when you buy online pick up in store. Avoid the lines and find the exact components online with a helpful search tool and comprehensive parts database.