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DIY: How to Replace a Headlight Bulb - Sears

DIY: How to Replace Your Car's Headlight Bulb


Having functional headlights can help you safely navigate low-light and inclement weather conditions throughout the year. And just like the lights in your home, headlight bulbs will burn out over time and need to be replaced. Fortunately, changing a dead headlamp bulb can be simple with the right tools and a few tips from the pros.

What You'll Need:

Close Up of an Automobile Head Lamp

Step 1: Find the headlight compartment.

When you pop the hood, look for the area that houses the headlight. Most new vehicles have headlight compartments with power wires or a wiring harness attached to the back panel.


Step 2: Detach the wires and unscrew the panel.

Remove the wires or wiring harness from the back panel. Use the screwdriver to unscrew the back panel. Some new vehicles might have a panel with a lever or metal clip. Back panels with a lever can be removed by pulling the panel while pressing down on the lever. If your car has a metal clip back panel, pull the clip up to pop it off.


Step 3: Remove the old bulb.

Once you remove the back panel and wires, take out the old headlight bulb from its socket. Headlight bulbs are made of an especially thin glass that can break very easily after burning out, so make sure to have a pair of latex gloves on while removing it. 


Step 4: Carefully screw the new bulb into the socket.

The natural oils on the skin of your hands can actually short out a new bulb before it is even installed. Your pair of latex gloves should remain on when you remove the new bulb from the package to prevent damage to the bulb. Remember to handle the replacement bulb from its surface while installing it.


Step 5: Reconnect the back panel and wires.

Take the socket attached to the power wires and plug it back into the headlight compartment. Next, screw or pop the rear panel back into place.


Step 6: Test out the new bulb.

It's important to test out the new bulb before taking your car for a spin. Turn your headlights on to see if the bulb is working properly. If it's not, check the wiring or see if there is corrosion in the bulb's socket. Either one might be the actual problem.