Tag Archives: DIY Projects

How to Change a Headlight Bulb

How to Change a Headlight Bulb

Replacing the headlight bulbs on your car is not as difficult or time-consuming as you may think. Read on to learn more about headlight bulbs, how you can find the right one for your vehicle, what tools you’ll need, and more.

Changing the bulb in the headlight of your vehicle is a simple repair you can do yourself, and you don’t need any fancy tools to do it. In fact, depending on your vehicle’s make and model, you may not require any tools at all.

How Do I Change My Car Headlight Bulb?

The steps to replace your headlights will also vary depending on your vehicle. However, in general, these steps can help to get you started:

Remove the Burned-Out Bulb

To begin extracting a burned-out headlight bulb from your vehicle, lift your car’s hood, and remove the lamp connection at the back of the headlight housing unit you need to replace. Grab the bulb casing and turn it counterclockwise until the tabs line up, then pull it out straight. Be aware that some cars have an additional hinged or rotating panel that will make it easier to access your headlights. Others may have splash guards or air cleaner housings that will need to be completely removed before you will be able to get to the headlight housing and put in the replacement bulb.

It is almost always easier to replace the headlight bulbs in an older car model. Older headlights usually have a square or circular cover that is larger than that used in modern cars. The metal rings can be loosened from the front of the car so that you do not need to reach into the dark and crowded area under your car’s hood.

Insert the Replacement Bulb

Insert the Replacement Bulb

When you are carrying the new bulb and screwing it in, you will need to be very careful that you do not touch the glass of the headlight bulb. The oils in your skin and the small amounts of dirt and dust carried on your hands can hurt the bulb and cause it to fail early. This is another good reason to purchase a pair of work gloves and use those to handle the new headlight bulb.

When putting in one or more new headlight bulbs, replace one bulb at a time. Simply place the new bulb where you removed the old one and turn it a quarter turn until it clicks in. Repeat with all other bulbs. Put back any part of the housing you needed to remove and make sure everything is secure.

Even if your vehicle’s corresponding high beam or low beam headlight is not burned out yet, it may be better to also replace the other bulb than to go through the replacement process a second time—especially if you’ve previously replaced both bulbs at the same time. Since both bulbs turn on at the same time, they will likely fail around the same time unless other elements cause your headlights to stop functioning, such as water that became trapped in the covering or an accident on one side of the vehicle.

Test Your Car’s New Headlights

The last step is to get into the car, turn it on, and test the headlights to see if they are working. If they are not and you replaced more than one type of bulb, you may want to check whether you put the high beam and low beam headlight bulbs in their correct spots. If the problem persists, the issue could be within the electrical components of your car. If that’s the case, schedule an appointment at an automotive repair shop so that a professional can check into other issues that may have caused your headlights to stop working, like a problem with the vehicle’s wiring.

Test Your Car’s New Headlights

Can You Change a Headlight Bulb Yourself?

You can purchase most headlight bulbs at an auto parts store. If you aren’t sure what kind of headlight bulb you need, the employees there will likely be able to look up your vehicle to find the correct replacement bulb. Often, these stores can also provide you with advice regarding the brightness and color that suits your needs, as well as any additional tools you might need.

Larger problems with headlight repairs usually only arise if replacing the bulbs does not restore your headlights to proper working order. If that is the case, you may want to have your car inspected by professional automotive repair specialists. They can tell you if your car is having other issues, which in the case of a headlight bulb malfunction, would most likely be a malfunction in the wiring harness or another electrical component of the vehicle.

If this is the case, a professional shop is your best choice to continue addressing the issue. Problems with the wiring or electrical systems in your car are always better handled by professionals who know how to make the proper repairs without risking injury.

Do You Need Tools to Change a Headlight?

The only tools you need for replacing the headlight bulb on your vehicle are a flathead screwdriver and the replacement bulb for your car’s make and model. However, to help protect your hands and ensure you don’t get fingerprints on the headlight bulb or other lens parts, you might also want a pair of work gloves.

Gloves are always useful for vehicle repairs and a variety of other household maintenance projects, so it may just be a good idea to have gloves in your toolbox for any number of repairs that you can do at home and any future projects. If you don’t have a pair of gloves on hand, most auto supply shops can furnish you a pair of disposable gloves to use while you change your headlight bulb.

Other tools that might be helpful for your repair include:

  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Extra sockets
  • A flashlight

Pliers can be useful for some specific cars that need extra grip because the headlight housing unit is screwed in tightly. A flashlight is a universally useful tool that can help you be able to see into the darkest areas of your car. Depending on the layout of your headlight’s housing, a flashlight can help you better pinpoint any parts you need to remove and where you need to put the replacements back in.

Picking the Right Headlight Bulb for Your Vehicle

Picking the Right Headlight Bulb for Your Vehicle

When considering getting new headlight bulbs, the most important aspect to pay attention to is that it fits your vehicle’s make and model. Other components to decide on for your replacement bulbs include how far in front and to the sides the bulb can light up, the color, and how long it is supposed to last.

Your local auto parts stores will likely carry a variety of different headlight bulbs for whatever you need, including HID or LED bulbs. You may also need to purchase two different kinds of bulbs if you want to install replacements for both your vehicle’s high beam bulbs and its low beam bulbs. Be sure to also pick a bulb package that is crisp and unbent to reduce the risk that you end up purchasing a broken bulb.

More Vehicle DIY

If there are cracks, fogginess, or other damage to the headlight housing unit on your vehicle, or the whole headlight including the plastic covering, you will need to have the whole unit replaced before you will be able to change a damaged or burned-out headlight bulb. When it is just the bulb that has gotten old or has burnt out, that is a simple repair that can be done at home with minimal tools that are available at any store that carries auto parts.

In addition to replacing your headlights, there are many at-home maintenance tasks you can perform to ensure your vehicle is in top shape. Take a look at our blog to learn more vehicle maintenance tips, tricks, and how-tos.

Cash Saving DIY Projects for Your Car

DIY Projects for Your Car

If you are looking for great ways to keep your car looking sharp while saving money, there are many simple projects automobile owners can do to improve the look and even the performance of their vehicles. It only makes sense to put a little elbow grease into making your car attractive and comfortable because if you are like most individuals these days, you likely spend a great deal of time behind the wheel.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the typical commute for Americans is 26.1 minutes each way. This equates to about nine full 24-hour days on the road each year. When you consider that many drivers who live in the suburbs and work in urban centers drive an hour or more to and from work, that number can be more than twice as much. When you spend this much time in your car, you want it to look and feel good to drive. Keep these DIY tips and car accessory hacks in mind as you make improvements to your vehicle.

DIY Ideas for Your Car’s Exterior

Install a backup camera

This is an easy project that you can do for around $100 if your car doesn’t come equipped with a backup camera. You can find a tutorial from Car and Driver and Popular Mechanics online that details how to complete this project, and you’ll be glad you looked it up if you have an older car. Although many of us learned to drive without a backup camera’s assistance, this modern convenience makes parking easier. It helps you avoid bumping into small obstacles that you might not see otherwise. The aftermarket camera streams a wireless feed to a display in your rearview mirror, so there is no need for a computer control screen in the car. Automotive electronic mini projects such as this one are very popular among car and electronics enthusiasts and can add value to your car if you choose to sell it.

Backup Camera

AUTO-VOX Solar Wireless Backup Camera

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Rear window defogger repair kit

Rear Window Defogger Repair Kit

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Rear window defroster repair

If your rear window defroster is on the fritz, you can save a lot of money by fixing it yourself. This is a bit trickier than some other DIY projects, but you can educate yourself with online tutorials and improve your visibility on the road all year long.

How to Decorate Your Car’s Interior

There are so many cool things to do to your car interior if you use your imagination. There’s no limit to the things you can change up, fix up, and customize. From dressing things up with new floor mats to covering your entire car ceiling with photos of friends, interior decorating can be as much fun with your car as it is with your home. Consider these popular ideas.

Car MountUniversal Dashboard Windshield Magnetic Car Mount

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Interior smartphone mount

You can purchase and install many mounts for your smartphone to make calls on your phone hands-free and use the phone’s navigation system if you don’t have one in the car. These products range in price, depending on where you purchase them, but discount stores often sell them for just a few dollars. If you want to take a truly DIY approach, you can make your own using duct tape, string, rubber bands, and a binder clip. This may not be the classiest-looking smartphone mount, but you can impress your friends with your ingenuity!

Trim Tools

Auto Trim Removal Tool Set

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Reupholster door panels

If you have fabric door panels in your car, you can probably pop them out and cover them with a material that suits your personality and gives your car a custom look. You can be as subtle or as quirky as you want with the many fabric patterns available.

center console covers

Auto Center Console Cover

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Console covers

You can buy console covers that dress up faded or worn consoles in cars showing the signs of age. If you are a crafty individual, you can also create your own console covers with fabric or faux fur.

Seat Covers

Black Neoprene Snug Fit Bucket Seat Cover

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Seat covers

The great thing about car seat covers is that you can change them as frequently as you want. You can typically find them at very reasonable prices, and various styles can completely transform the entire look of your car’s interior. If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can make your own seat covers that show off your talents and your unique flair for design.

Leatherette Steering Wheel Cover

Leatherette Steering Wheel Cover

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Steering wheel covers

This is one of the easiest ways to create a unique look for your car interior, as there are thousands of different designs on the market. If those options aren’t enough, homemade steering wheel covers are also a fairly simple DIY project. When you cover your steering wheel, it often makes it more comfortable and keeps it cool on those days when the sun has been beating down on your interior.

Carpet Dash Board Cover Mat

Carpet Dash Board Cover Mat

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If your car is an older model, your dash may be looking faded or worn from the effects of the sun’s UV rays. You can purchase commercially made dashboard covers, but they are often a bit pricey. Talented DIYers, however, often choose to buy a bit of vinyl fabric and cover their dashboard using adhesive to hold the vinyl in place.

How to Decorate Your Car’s Exterior

The possibilities for cleaning up and decorating your car’s exterior are as varied as those for decorating the interior. DIY car projects such as adding unique bumper stickers, license plate frames, and new wiper blades are easy and can make your car more attractive and functional. If you want to dress up your car’s exterior, consider some of these options.

LED Strip Lights

Car LED Strip Lights

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LED strip lights

These awesome light features can be used on the interior as well, but they are most popular placed in strategic places under the car to make it appear as if the vehicle is floating on a beam of light. It creates a modern space-age look that is sure to impress.

Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber Glass Cleaning Towel

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Clean up headlights

If your headlights are looking old and foggy, they affect the overall look of your car’s exterior. They also affect your vision while driving at night because they don’t project as much light as crystal-clean headlights. This is an easy problem to remedy by using a microfiber cloth and a mild polishing compound. Some DIYers even skip the compound and use toothpaste to clean the hazy headlights. Be sure to apply a coat of wax after cleaning. You may also look into automotive lens wrap to add another layer of protection after cleaning your headlights.

Bondo Fiberglass Resin Repair Kit,

Bondo Fiberglass Resin Repair Kit

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Fix rusty spots around fenders and wheel wells

This DIY project is a little intense if you don’t have any experience working with metals, but it certainly does dress up an older car showing signs of age. You will need products such as matching paint and Bondo to complete the task, but you’ll be happy with the finished product.

trunk-mounted bike rack

Premier Trunk Mounted Bike Rack

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Bike racks

If you’re an avid cyclist, and you’re looking for an exterior add-on that is both functional and attractive, consider adding a rooftop or trunk-mounted bike rack to take your bikes to nearby parks and trails. This also solves the issue of needing to rent bicycles when you’re on vacation, as you’ll be able to take your bike with you wherever you go.

Save Money By Fixing Your Vehicle Yourself

No matter how you choose to dress up your car’s interior or exterior, you can almost always save money by doing it yourself. These small projects help your car look nicer if it begins to show signs of age and express your own personal flair while making your commute a little more comfortable.