How to choose a new bulb
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Browse the manufacturers' Web sites before you go to the store.
The options are mind-numbing.
The hardest part of the job is choosing
a new bulb. You can spend more
time shopping for the bulbs than it
takes to install them. The choices are
mind-boggling. Every bulb manufacturer
has its own confusing names for
each style, making comparisons difficult.
But it boils down to four upgrade
categories—brightness level, life span,
light color and energy consumption
(photo). Here’s the scoop:
- Bright bulbs draw the same power as
factory bulbs but give off 30 to 80
percent more light. You’ll sacrifice
bulb life, but if you live in a rural
area or do a lot of highway driving,
these may be your best choice.
- If the factory brightness works for you
and you do a lot of night driving,
choose a “long-life” bulb. It lasts three
times longer than a standard bulb.
- If you’re into “cool,” choose a “blue”
bulb if you want to imitate the look
of the high-intensity discharge (HID)
lamps in luxury vehicles.
- Or, if you’re an aging boomer, choose
a bulb that projects different colors of
light at different sections of the road.
Finally, if you want to milk your fuel
budget for every last nickel, buy an
“eco-friendly” bulb. They can save four
gallons of gas over the life of the bulb
and they last twice as long.
Install the bulbs
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Photo 1: Unbolt the headlight
Eliminate the hassle of trying to fish the bulb out from under the hood. Remove the headlight
assembly retaining bolts and pull the whole unit forward.
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Photo 2: Out with the old
Disconnect the wiring harness from the
bulb and twist the bulb a quarter turn.
Then pull it straight out.
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Photo 3: In with the new
Push the new bulb straight in (don't touch
the glass with your fingers) until you feel
the silicone O-ring seat. Then twist the
bulb (or retaining ring) to lock it in place.
Reconnect the wiring harness.
Replacing a headlight bulb is easy. You
can replace both of yours (always
replace them as a set) in about 30 minutes
and save about $30 labor. The best
part is that the entire procedure is
almost always right there in your
In some late-model vehicles, you
have to remove the entire headlight
assembly from the vehicle to get clear
access to the bulb (Photo 1). Remove the
old bulb and install the new one (Photos
2 and 3). Then put the headlight assembly
back in and secure it.