Headlight Repair: How to Replace a Headlight Bulb Headlight Repair: How to Replace a Headlight Bulb

What You'll Need
Low or high beam replacement bulb
Paper towel

Headlight repair varies slightly from vehicle to vehicle. But regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, there's a good chance that at some point the headlight bulb will burn out and you will need to replace it. Replacing a headlight bulb yourself saves you a trip to the mechanic as well as some money. Follow these general headlight repair steps to replace a headlight bulb. Check your owner's manual to find out if there are any unique steps required for your vehicle brand.

Step 1 - Find the Bulb Holder

Turn off your car's engine and remove the keys from the ignition. Make sure that the headlights are turned off. Open the hood by pulling the hood release handle. This handle is usually located in the front of the car on the driver's side. It can be near the gas pedal close to the floor. Depending on the type of vehicle you have, it can also be on the left side of the instrument panel under the steering wheel.

Exit the vehicle and go to the front. The hood should be up an inch or so. Reach under the hood and run your hand under it until you find the auxiliary latch. Pull it and lift the hood. Insert the hood's strut in the holes to keep the hood from falling on your head as you begin the headlight repair.

Reach down the inside front of the car to the back of the headlight to find the bulb holder. Typically it'll have a trapezoid-shaped plug with three wires coming out of it.

Step 2 - Release the Bulb Harness

The plug that you just located is at the base of the headlight. It's held in place with a bulb harness that can either be a screw cap, a plastic catch or a metal clip. Each type of harness requires slightly different steps to release it. The screw cap is the easiest and all you need to do is rotate it counter-clockwise to unscrew and remove it. Metal clips usually come loose with a firm pull. Be careful not to drop the clips. You'll need them to install the replacement bulb and they're hard to find if dropped.  A plastic catch bulb harness has a small lever sticking out from the top of the plug. Firmly press down on it with your thumb and pull it out steadily.

Step 3 -Remove the Old Bulb and Install the New

To remove the bulb, pull it out by holding it at its base. Discard and recycle where facilities exist. Open the new bulb packaging without touching the bulb. Remove it using a piece of paper towel so you don't transfer the oils from your skin to the bulb which can cause it to burn out faster. Try to only grab the new bulb by the base. Plug the bulb into the headlight so that none of the rubber gasket shows.

Re-plug in the wiring and double-check to make sure the bulb is secure. Turn on the lights to make sure they're working.

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