We help you choose the best headlight bulb for your car and show you how to quickly and easily install it.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine:July / August 2010
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
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.
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