Whether you’re one of the many who gets tired of their stock headlights eventually or just someone whose lights are broken, knowing how to change headlights is an imperative knowledge to learn.
Imagine saving hundreds of bucks that you could’ve spent on labor. Now you can spend it on more important things if you’re able to change your headlights on your own. With that in mind, this post presents a step-by-step process of changing your headlights. Take a look and try it on your own!
Prepare your new lights
First, you should have your brand-new headlights. Make sure to purchase a unit that is compatible with your car’s make and model. The bulb specification is an important thing too. There are hundreds, even thousands of options in the market including LEDs, halogens, and the like.
Also, make sure you’re not violating any headlight regulation in your state. You might attain your desired aesthetics, but you could also end up getting stopped by a cop during your night drive. If you’re not sure what type suits your specific vehicle, simply consult your dealership or a local auto parts store.
Remember: you can’t just buy any random headlight that you might like. We could discuss headlight specs here but it’s an entirely broad topic deserving of its own post. So, to continue, let’s assume you already have your headlights prepared.
Get your tools
Items are easy to gather if you already have them. As a car enthusiast, you’re most likely a fan of DIY jobs too which means you already have all the tools in the store. The most important tool needed is a Philips screwdriver. Almost all other steps simply require your hands.
Other essential tools include tissues and wipes. You can use them to wipe your new bulbs clean later.
Find your headlight holder
Well, you already know where your headlights are. The next step is locating the headlight holder itself. You can’t access them externally so you must reach through your engine compartment.
1. Open your hood. (read your car’s manual if you’re not sure how)
2. Find the headlight. It should be near the front part usually connected with a three-wire power connector.
Getting rid of power wires
Now that you’ve located the headlight holder, it’s time to remove the power tires.
1. They are attached to a plug near the headlight’s base.
2. Depending on your specific make and model, the power wires are held by a screw cap, a metal clip, or a plastic catch.
3. If it’s a plastic catch, know that it usually has a small lever at the top. Simultaneously pull the plug out while pushing that lever down.
4. If you’re dealing with a screw cap, simply unscrew it by rotating in a counterclockwise motion.
5. If your model is designed with a metal clip instead, simply hold onto the wires while pulling the metal clip up.
Getting the old bulb out
Now it’s time to remove the old bulb. You should now be able to remove the back part of the headlight holder since you’ve successfully disconnected the power wires.
1. Hold onto the base
2. Carefully remove the old bulb by pulling it out
3. If it somehow resists, try rotating the bulb until it’s free
Installing the new bulb
Important note: Make sure you don’t handle the new bulb with your bare hands. It’s best to wear some gloves; sometimes a tissue will suffice. The reason behind this includes protecting the bulb against unnecessary dirt you may have on your hands while also protecting your hands from whatever oil it may come in contact with.
1. Get the new bulb while wearing a glove or by using a tissue
2. You may (optional) clean the new bulb with an alcohol wipes
3. Stick the new bulb into the plug’s base. You will not see any of the bulb’s rubber gasket IF you installed it correctly. Otherwise, you might want to do it again. This time make sure no rubber gasket can be seen.
4. When you’ve installed the new bulb correctly, you can now place the headlight holder back in place.
5. After placing the headlight holder, carefully plug the power wires back in.
Testing your new bulb
It’s exciting but don’t get too confident. Don’t close your hood yet. The next, and hopefully the final step, is to test your bulbs.
Go to the driver’s seat and try turning the knob on, then see whether the new headlights are working. If it does, then congratulations! Otherwise, try repeating the steps stated in this post.
If you can’t seem to do it correctly, even after multiple attempts, it won’t hurt to consult a professional mechanic. The important thing is you tried doing this DIY stuff and that fact alone is something to be proud of.
At least you now know how to change headlights theoretically. It’s only a matter of practice to finally perfect it.