6 Tips and Tricks for Replacing your Headlight
1. The Right Bulb
Make sure you get the right replacement headlight bulb for your specific car. Choose between a direct replacement or upgrade with a wider light span or a brighter bulb.
2. Hands Off
Be careful to never touch the glass of a halogen headlight bulb. The natural oils from your hands can cause the bulb to burn out prematurely. Use latex gloves or a paper towel to handle the bulb, and if you accidently touch the glass, wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol.
3. Grease to Last
Using a bit of dielectric grease on the base of the bulb will ensure it gets a good electrical contact, and it will help you get the full service life out of the bulb. Dielectric grease is available in one-use packets, perfect for headlight replacement.
4. Tool Free
Most headlight bulbs can be reached and replaced without tools, but take your time when removing and installing the bulbs. If you're too rough, you may accidentally pull the wires out of the sockets or clips.
5. Read Up
Consult your owner's manual on where to find your bulbs and how to remove and install them. Some bulbs are held into the headlight assembly by the wiring socket assembly, while other bulbs install directly into the headlight assembly. Most bulbs and socket assemblies are removed (and installed) with either a push-in-and-turn motion or by releasing small clips used to hold the pieces together.
Tip: Don't remove both clips at the same time. Use one side for reference when replacing the other, and repeat the process for the other side.
6. Take Aim
Check the aim of your headlights. While driving, headlights can become loosened and knocked out of proper alignment due to rough road conditions. This can cause the light output of your bulbs to be directed away from where you need it most - on the roadway. Pull your vehicle up to a garage door or wall and check to see that both headlights shine at the same angle. If you need to adjust the aim, consult your vehicle's owner manual.
The Exception To The Rule
If you're having a difficult time finding out how to get to your headlight bulbs, you may have one of the few vehicles that require disassembly of car panels and/or removal of the headlight assembly in order to change the bulb. In general,how-to-videos for these vehicles can be found on YouTube.
You have Questions, We have Answers
Car is its own language—luckily, we’re fluent. Our Glossary will help you learn automotive lingo and better understand each terminology. You can browse by letter, or simply enter a keyword into the search bar.