Do it yourself!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How to Change a Headlight

When a headlight goes out on your car, it can be quite frustrating.  For many people, the first sign that a headlight has gone out doesn’t occur until you see a flash of blue lights behind your vehicle.  Checking your headlights is important, and replacing a burned our bulb as soon as possible is crucial.  Don’t spend a small fortune to pay your mechanic to do the job, however.  Your headlights can be replaced inexpensively and quickly right at home, and in many cases you will not even need a single tool to get the job done.

When you are ready to change your headlight, you will want to go to the local auto parts store to purchase a replacement.  You can find the bulb type in your owner’s manual.  If you do not have the manual, someone at the shop should be able to help you quickly find the right bulb.  Once you have purchased the bulb, you can smile and relax knowing that this minimal charge is all that you will have to pay for the entire process.

With your new bulb in hand, open your hood and prop it open.  Find your headlight assembly and look for a plug coming out of the bulb area.  It will likely be oddly shaped and will have a few wires coming out of the back.  You will find that the plug will either have a metal clip that you need to pull, a screw cap that you need to twist, or a plastic button that you will need to press.  When you do this, the plug should come right off, bringing the bulb out with it.  The bulb may pull right out of the harness or it may need to be rotated slightly, but it should come out without a problem.

Now that your old headlight has been removed, you need only to put the new one in place.  Make certain that you do not touch the glass, as the skin contains oils that could damage your bulb.  Simply plug the light back into place and ensure that it is aligned properly and none of the rubber gasket is showing.  When this is done, plug the wiring back into place and ensure that everything is secure.  Test out the light by turning on the headlights from inside the car.  If possible, test the lights against your garage wall or other solid surface to ensure that the new lamp is properly aimed. 

When you have tested your bulb and successfully ensured that it works and is aimed properly, you are finished.  The entire process takes only a few minutes of your time and can help you save a great deal of money over hiring a mechanic to do the job for you.  Taking the time and effort to do such jobs yourself can be very rewarding and can instill a great sense of pride in your vehicle.  Changing headlights is something that virtually anyone can do, and the level of skill required is not nearly as high as your mechanic may lead you to believe.


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