How to replace your car headlights

You may have fabulous wheels, but if your headlights don’t work, this will be nothing to consider (and as we know from many movies and cop shows, a glowing light will lead to an unwanted stop by a highway patrol car). Fortunately, replacing a headlight bulb is a relatively painless process.

Tools you need:

New Light Bulb (s) – Make sure you’ve got the right type of bulb for your vehicle (your local auto parts store will be able to match a bulb to your make and model).
Alcohol wipes and tissues (new bulbs to clean and hold)
Philips screwdriver driver

Step 1: Locate the headlight holder

You can access your headlight bulb through your engine buggy more than the front of the vehicle. Open the hood and locate the vehicle in front of the headlights. It will be in a bulb, with a power connector (usually three wires) pointing to the bulb.

Step 2: Remove the power wires

The power wires are attached to a plug at the base of the headlight and are held by a plastic catch, a metal clip or a screw cap, depending on your vehicle. The plastic catch has a small lever on top – push it down as you pull the plug. If you are dealing with a metal clip, pull it and pull it away and be sure to hold it as you pull. If you are working with a screw cap, you can turn it counterclockwise and open the screw.

Step 3: Remove the old bulb.

After the wires have been disconnected, you are able to remove the rear bulb of the headlight holder and remove the old bulb by holding it to the base. In some cases, you may need to rotate a bit to release the bulb.

Step 4: Clean and install the new bulb.

Operate the new bulb with tissues or gloves – you don’t want the oil from your skin to get it. You should make a good cleaning with wiping alcohol before installing it. Once the bulb is ready, attach it to the base of the plug. If it is installed correctly, no gasket on the bulb’s rubber will be displayed. Once the bulb comes in, you can put the headlight holder in place and plug the power wires back in. Check the bulb by turning on your headlights.

Extra: Replace the tail light bulb

The process of replacing rear tail lights (including your brake lights) is a bit different than working with your headlights. In some models, the housing that contains the bulb is screwed on the outside, and in others, you must remove it from the inside of the trunk. Once you have screwed the housing you need to open the tail light cover and tackle the tabs, screws or small taps to access the bulb (make sure you don’t lose it if you want to remove the screws). You do not need to remove the electrical wiring, but make sure you do not pull the housing too far so that you do not tear the cables.

To unscrew the bulb, you must be able to straighten it out (most modern vehicles are national) or push it and must be unscrewed simultaneously. Once the new bulb arrives, replace the housing and reconnect it (screws, tabs, knocks, etc.). Again, make sure you test the bulb by keeping the key in the combustion and trying the brakes.