How to Change Headlights How to Change Headlights

What You'll Need
Halogen Light Bulb or a full headlamp and light bulb combination
Flashlight
Screwdriver

It is easy to learn how to change headlights. Replacing a bulb in your car is relatively an easy task. If you take your car to a mechanic and you will pay four to six times more than you would if you were to do it yourself. Most cars use halogen bulbs inside a large glass headlamp. Other cars, you must replace both the inner bulb and the headlamp at the same time. In this style, the headlamp and the bulb are formed as one unit.

Step 1 - Locating the Light Bulb

Open the hood of the car and look at the back of the headlight. Locate the bulb holder (also referred to as the headlamp).  To determine the type of replacement you will make, inspect the headlamp.  If there is a small, plastic knob on the back of the headlamp, you must replace the halogen bulb (instructions to follow).  If you do not see this then proceed to the section called “Step 4 - Replacing the All-in-one headlamp and bulb”

Step 2 - Removing the Wiring Harness

On the back of the headlamp you will see three wires coming out of a plug (or a three-pronged connection). Remove the wiring harness. There are three different clips or catches used in different cars

If you see a plastic catch, press the lever down with your thumb and pull firmly on the plug.  The plug will slide off.

If you see a metal clip, pull up and away and it will come off in your hand.

If you see a screw cap, unscrew the cap by turning it counter-clockwise.

The bulb, located inside the headlamp, is attached to this black knob and will come out with it.

Step 3 - Removing the Bulb and Replacing the Bulb

Change the bulb with a new halogen light. Never touch the halogen light bulb with your fingers. The oils from your fingers will destroy the bulb or it will cause the shelf life / useful life of the bulb to shorten.

Screw the knob and the new bulb back into the headlamp

Open your car door and proceed to turn on the lights. Walk around your car to check that it works.

Step 4 - Put Everything Back Together and Test

Unscrew the screws that hold the metal band down.  Place the screws on a piece of masking tape or painter tape (on the sticky side – this helps to keep them in one place and will make sure you do not lose them in the process of changing the light bulb).

Remove the metal band.  The headlamp should look limp.  Pull back the rubber covering and unplug the headlamp from the back.  Put the new headlamp in the right spot and plug it in.  Put the rubber cover back over the connection.

Put the metal band back on, screw the small screws back into place. 

Move around the car and open your door.  Turn on your headlights.  Walk around to the front of the car and visually inspect your headlights.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!