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Do-It-Yourself Headlight Replacement: Step-by-Step Instructions

Got a burned-out headlight? Here are our quick and easy step-by-step instructions for headlight replacement, along with tips on how to choose the best new headlight bulb. 

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1. Choose a Replacement Headlight Bulb

The hardest part of headlight replacement 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 headlight 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 colour and energy consumption.

Here’s the scoop on replacement headlight bulbs:

– Bright bulbs draw the same power as factory bulbs but give off 30 to 80 per cent 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 colours 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 15 litres of gas over the life of the bulb and they last twice as long.

Required Tools & Materials for this Project:
* 4-in-1 screwdriver
* Wrench set
* Plastic gloves
* New headlight bulbs 

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2. Unbolt the Headlight

Replacing headlight bulbs is easy. You can replace both of yours (always replace them as a set) in about 30 minutes and save about $30 labour. The best part is that the entire procedure is almost always right there in your owner’s manual.

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. In some late-model vehicles, you have to remove the entire headlight assembly from the vehicle to get clear access to the bulb.

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3. Remove the Old Headlight Bulb

Disconnect the wiring harness from the headlight bulb and twist the bulb a quarter turn. Then pull it straight out.

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4. Insert Replacement Headlight Bulb

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.