How to Change a Headlight
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.
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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.
Austin Blankenbeckler is the General Manager of Carlisle Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac and the third person in his family, after his father and grandfather, to work at the Waxahachie Chevy dealership. Carlisle Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac has been selling quality cars to the Ennis, Midlothian, and Waxahachie area since 1926 and their commitment to quality and customer service is more than just a business approach, it’s the family way. Stop by the Waxahachie GM dealership today to see what a difference three generations of car and truck selling can make. Austin on Google +