Make Light Work of It: How to Easily Replace Your Headlights Yourself

When it comes to car repairs, you may not think that there are many you can do on your own. However, there are some small tasks that you can do easily with some simple instructions and the willingness to learn. Changing out the headlights on your vehicle is one of these easy tasks that you should be attempting to do yourself to save yourself a bundle on labor costs.

Purchase the Right Replacement Bulb

You can figure out the right sized replacement bulbs in several ways. First, you can look in your owner’s manual under the headlights section to see what replacement bulb is recommended. Second, you can go to the auto parts store and use their database system to look up the right bulb for your year and model of vehicle. Lastly, you can take out the old bulb and read the product number off of it. It doesn’t matter what way you find out what bulb you need, you just need to make sure you get the right one.

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Take Out the Old Bulb

Go ahead and pop your hood. You’ll want to locate the headlight bulb that needs to be replaced. Headlights are installed via a screw-in system or a plug-wire system. By simply looking at how the bulb is attached to the rest of the headlight housing components, you can easily know which method you’re dealing with. For example, a d3s bulb is typically a plug-wire system. You’ll need to pull the plugs out of the light housing to remove the bulb from the assembly.

Install the New Light Bulb

Take the new replacement bulb that you purchased and install it. This would be installed the same way as you removed the old bulb, either through the screw-in or plug-wire system. When you’re installing the light, you should never touch the glass. The oils on your hands can create a hotspot when the light is turned on. This can cause the bulb the burn out more quickly, sometimes as soon as you turn on the bulb for the first time. Instead, clean the bulb when you remove it from its packaging, and only handle the glass portion with a rag, tissue, or pair of gloves. Be careful that you install the plugs in the correct order so they lock tightly when you’re done. You can tell the bulb is fully in place when you can’t see any of the rubber gasket.

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Test Out Your New Light

Turn on your headlights and see if the new bulb illuminates. If so, you’ve done the job correctly. If not, then you’ll need to reassess your connections. Check that everything is fully settled into place. If everything looks okay, then you may have a defective part from your local auto parts store. You should be able to exchange it for a working piece.

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Replacing your car’s headlights isn’t overly difficult to do. While you may not be as efficient at it as a mechanic that does it every day, you still can get the job done, and save money while you do. Take your time, read through your owner’s manual, and follow the steps above.