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mechanic replacing headlight

Headlights are a key part of ensuring visibility while driving. If your headlight goes out, you could save time and money by replacing the burnt bulb yourself. Follow these steps to changing your own headlight.

Things you’ll need:
• New headlight bulb (Not sure what bulb you need? Use AutoZone’s part selection tool to find out.)
• Owner’s manual
• Clean wipes or gloves
• Screwdriver (just in case – these days most headlights don’t need any tools)

Find the headlight holder
First, reference your owner’s manual, as it will have the most accurate information regarding your headlamp and how to replace a bulb. With the vehicle shut off, open the hood and locate the headlight near the front of your vehicle. There will be a headlight holder with a power connector going to the bulb. Often, the headlight holder is located through the engine compartment.

Remove the bulb
First, disconnect the power connector attached to the base of the headlight. Usually, the power connector will have three wires held in place with a plastic catch, a screw cap, or a metal clip. Once the power connector is disconnected, pull the bulb out of the holder. You might have to rotate the bulb to release it from the holder. Only handle the bulb at the base to ensure the glass doesn’t break.

Put the new bulb in place
Before unwrapping your new bulb, make sure you have your clean rag or gloves on hand. (If you need to touch the glass, do so with the rag because the oils on your hands could cause it to burn out prematurely.) Holding the bulb by the base, screw the bulb into the socket. After the bulb is securely in the socket, insert the holder into the housing and rotate with a quarter-turn to lock into place. You can now reattach the power wires.

After everything is back in place, turn on the headlights to check that the new bulb works. If the bulb doesn’t come on, you could have erosion in the headlight holder or an electrical problem. Try cleaning the headlight holder with electric contact cleaner. If it still doesn’t turn on, there may be an electrical problem that your mechanic should look at.

(Adapted from Napa, Headlamp Replacement)

Want to watch the headlight changing process? Check out this step-by-step video from Car and Driver Magazine.

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