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How to Change a Headlight

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Audi A8

Having a burnt out headlight is only good for one thing: allowing road-trippers to win points playing “Padiddle.”  Other than that, having only one headlight is dangerous, removing half of your visibility when the sun goes down. It can even be a distraction to other drivers.

If your headlight is out, don’t stress out too much – you can replace it yourself pretty quickly with these few steps.

Purchasing a new bulb

Before you head to the auto parts store, check your owner’s manual. Inside the manual, there may be a section about the headlights and what kind of bulb you’ll need to replace them. If not, make a note of the year, make, and model of your vehicle and simply let an associate know in the auto parts store; they will be able to help you find what you need.

Removing the existing bulb

Make sure you remove the existing bulb before even taking the new one out of the packaging. Pop open the hood and locate the headlight from the inside.

Begin by disconnecting the power connector from the headlight. Then, take off the dust cover protecting the bulb.

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Once you are able to access the bulb itself, go ahead and pull that out by the base. Be careful not to tug too hard; the last thing you want to do is break the bulb and have broken glass everywhere. Plus, you risk hurting yourself on sharp, jagged pieces of glass while trying to clean it up.

Once you’ve removed the old bulb, compare it to the bulb you just removed to make sure they match. If not, you’ll want to return to the auto parts store.

If the bulbs match, you can discard the old bulb at this time and insert the new bulb.


Inserting the new bulb

There is one very important thing to remember, something they won’t tell you on the instructions on the new headlight’s packaging: do not touch the new bulb. The oils on your hands and fingers will damage the bulb, causing it to burn out prematurely. Use a pair of gloves or handle the bulb with a paper towel or tissue.

Using an alcohol wipe, make sure there are no fingerprints or oils on the bulb. Then, go ahead and insert the bulb in the holder where you just removed the other bulb. Make sure the bulb is secured in place; a twist may be necessary to lock the bulb into its slot.

You can put back the dust cover and re-attach the power connector at this time.

Model Showroom: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado

Testing it out

Before you drive off, hop into the car and check your handiwork. Test your running lights, regular headlights, and brights to ensure everything is working properly. If everything works as it should, you’re good to go, and it only cost you the price of the bulb.

DIY car maintenance is not always possible, but when it is, it can be nice to save some money. If you have more advanced headlights or you run into difficulties, stop by a local mechanic or dealership to have it checked out.

Sources: DMV,