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Emergency car repair: changing a headlight

headlight bulb replacement

Don’t drive with a non-working headlight!

One of the most annoying little things that could happen to your car is the headlight stopping to work.

It’s no big deal if you’re driving during the day and have a chance to make a quick stop at the nearest car repair shop to get it replaced.

But it’s also one of the scariest car malfunctions that may happen to you in the middle of night driving.

Driving with a missing headlight is quite dangerous, as you’ll end up with limited night vision, which reduces your ability to assess the road situation correctly.

The chances of you misinterpreting the distance to other vehicles on the road, not noticing other vehicles on the non-working headlight side or other vehicles not noticing or improperly determining the distance to your car and causing an accident are quite high.man driving at night

But, even if you get lucky and nothing happens, driving even without one headlight turned on is actually illegal.

What I’m trying to say is that you need to determine what happened to your headlight and, if that’s the bulb that’s burned out, you need to replace it ASAP.

You don’t want to get into a car accident or receive a ticket, do you?

So, visit HireRush.com to find the best local car repair pro or get the replacement light bulb and use this guideline to install it on your own.

Things you need to replace a headlight bulb

  1. replacement bulb (the kind that suits the headlight’s lamp)
  2. alcohol wipes
  3. paper tissue

Steps of replacing a headlight bulb

  1. The first thing you need to do is to check in with your car’s manual to determine which type of headlight bulbs to purchase.different headlight bulbs
  2. If you can’t find that information in the manual (or the manual itself), you may just open the hood of your car, reach the back of the headlight frame and use this simple guide on Autorepair.about.com to find out which bulb your headlight features.
  3. Once you have the right bulb, go back to the car, open its hood and secure it in place. Find the bulb holder along with the three wires that come out from the plug on the headlight lamp. You’ll have to undo its catch.headlight from the hood
  4. If the plug’s catch is plastic, you’ll see a little lever on its side. Press onto the lever with one hand and pull the plug with the other one at the same time in order to disconnect the plug.
  5. If the catch is metal, the only thing you’ll have to do to open it up is to pull the catch upwards. Sometimes those plugs have screw-on caps. If that’s your case, just unscrew it from the base.opening headlight plug's metal clasp
  6. Set the wires out of the way. Make sure not to lose the catch.
  7. Hold onto the headlight’s base and pull out the non-working bulb.
    should come out just like so, but if you have trouble getting it out, just twist it a couple of times before pulling from the base.taking out old headlight bulb
  8. Wash your hands and wipe them dry before touching a new bulb. Try not to touch the bulb’s glass with your hands.
    Also, it would be great if you could clean the glass part of your replacement bulb with alcohol wipes to make sure that no oils or other dirt are left on it.
  9. Holding the metal end of the bulb with a paper tissue, install it into the headlight’s base.
    Make sure that you’ve located it in its place. Just check if the rubber gasket of the replacement bulb is all the way inside the headlight’s base and none of it is showing.replacing headlight bulb
  10. Reinstall the headlight’s plug along with the wires. Ensure proper connection. Get into your car and turn the lights on. If everything is working fine, you’re done!

Useful tip

As headlight bulbs often stop working just out of nowhere, it’s better to have a spare pair of them in your car on a regular basis.

However, if you’re experiencing non-working headlight problem too often, you should go ahead and ask car repair pros to check the entire headlight mechanism to be sure that it’s not the wiring issue or something else that makes the bulbs burn out way faster than they should.

Leave your request here

Comments (3)

  1. Jeff Carbine

    Thanks for the article, I think a lot of us forget to look for the little lever on the side. I would also add one more tip. If you are changing out the headlight, and it just does not seem to be lighting up or working, try testing the bulb on another car. I remember one time I tried replacing a headlight, and it took me hours wiht no success. At the end of the day, I realized it was because the bulb I had bought was a dud!

    1. Elena Sheplyakova (Post author)

      That’s a great tip, Jeff! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kirk Ziegler

    Good tips and tricks! That is why I love browsing here. You give much information. Thanks for sharing.


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