We help you choose the best headlight bulb for your car and show you how to quickly and easily install it.
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:
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.
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.
Disconnect the wiring harness from the bulb and twist the bulb a quarter turn. Then pull it straight out.
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 owner’s manual.
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.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
You'll also need plastic gloves.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.