From time to time, different parts of your car may require maintenance, including the headlights. During the regular servicing, this part often gets skipped, unless one or both lights stop working. It is one of the essential parts of a vehicle from a safety perspective.
If you drive with one headlight and the police catch up with you, you'd be looking at a defect notice and a penalty. The laws vary depending on where you are in Australia, but you’re ill-advised to drive with any of the headlights out, not to mention that you also run the risk of getting into an accident due to low visibility.
So, when your headlights start to dim, the smart thing to do would be to replace them promptly to avoid any inconvenience, or worse, road collisions.
As is the case with many other parts, replacing a car’s headlight is an easy task if you’re up to it. It’s a basic car maintenance task that every car owner should know. Instead of paying a mechanic to do it for you, you get to save some hard-earned cash. All it takes is a little elbow grease and some enthusiasm to get things done yourself. And don’t forget this handy 5-step guide, of course.
Factors that Influence Headlight Longevity
1. Type of Headlight Bulb
Different headlight bulbs operate on different voltages, and this affects how long they last.
2. The Terrain in Your Usual Route
Uneven roads cause vibrations which damage the bulb filaments that may lead to your headlights burning out faster.
3. Driving Duration
The higher the usage, the more frequent you need to replace headlight bulbs. Car owners who drive more at night will find themselves changing their lights more often than day drivers.
5 Easy Steps to Replace Your Car’s Headlights
Now that you know why some headlights burn out faster than others, it’s time to learn how you can replace them:
Step 1: Identify the type and size of the bulb you need
Figure out the bulb size. You should check your car owner's manual first to figure out the type and size of the bulb you need. For example, your vehicle may use an H2 bulb or an H6 bulb.
Figure out the bulb type. This is where you can customize with options including halogen, LED or Xenon. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages such as pricing, availability, lifespan, brightness, heat resistance, and power consumption.
Step 2: Purchase new bulb(s)
Once you identify the bulb you need, you can place an order online or buy one from your local car parts store. Alternatively, you can also remove the old one, take it to the store, and find a matching bulb to save time.
Step 3: Remove the old headlight bulb
Firstly, pop the hood by pulling the lever beneath your dashboard, then unlatch the lever holding the hood to your car and open it. Next, locate the headlight connector. You should see the headlight connector in the front of the engine bay. The bulb will be attached to a plastic connector with wires.
Finally, remove the connector and bulb. Turn the bulb and connector counterclockwise, and the bulb should popup easily.
Step 4: Replace the old headlight bulb with the new one.
After removing the old bulb, you only need to insert the new one into the headlamp socket in the engine bay. Not so fast though. First, take the new bulb out of its packaging and be careful not to touch the glass. Oil from your hands may cause the bulb to overheat and crack in no time.
If you accidentally touch the glass, however, use rubbing alcohol to clean it. Then, fit your new bulb into the connector by inserting the base of the bulb into the connector and ensuring that it is securely attached. Finally, reposition and tighten the bulb. Fit the connector, bulb first, into the headlamp. Then turn the connector clockwise until it is secure.
Step 5: Test out the new bulb
Once you’ve replaced the bulb, turn the headlights on to check if they're working. It is recommended that you use the same type for both bulbs, so they have the same brightness. Here's a good practice to remember if you’re keen on DIY-repairing your vehicle: For auto parts or accessories that come and work in pairs, replace them at the same time.
Now, after you’ve done all the steps but still the bulb doesn't work, you may have to consider a wiring problem. If that’s the case, it’s best left to the professionals. You may search for auto electricians from CarPart’s directory. Specify the suburb and state to locate those nearest to you.
Additional Tips to Remember
1. Safety precautions
You need to take precautions even if you’ve done this multiple times before. Safety gloves are recommended since you will be holding sensitive bulbs and reaching into tight spots in the engine bay.
2. Identify the high beam and low beam placement
Most vehicles have separate bulbs for high beam and low beam, whereas some use the same bulb for both purposes. If your car has two bulbs, the low beam is usually on the outside.
DIY Maintenance - Finding Parts Has Become Easier!
Doing your own repairs has its rewards, but often, finding sellers for a car part can take so much of your time. Whether you’re looking to buy new or used parts, there’s a smart way to do it. Carpart.com.au recognises the recurring issue among car owners and offers an easy way to search. How does it work?
Whenever you require an auto part, all you have to do is send a request for the part to us at CarPart. Our system automatically notifies our network of over 500 auto parts sellers. You will then start receiving responses from sellers who have the part in their stock, each offering their lowest and best price.
Isn’t that neat? Instead of getting stressed searching for parts, you only need to request for it and suppliers begin sending you their most competitive price. What’s more, this service is free! So send CarPart a request now and start receiving quotes!
By M. Sarmad Murtaza