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How to change a headlamp

A set of fully functional headlights is absolutely essential for any vehicle, as well as being a legal requirement. Sometimes a headlamp malfunctions, so it will have to be replaced. Providing a spare headlamp bulb is available, it can be replaced reasonably easily.

The basics

Headlamps differ from vehicle to vehicle, so it is necessary to have the correct bulb to hand; the type of bulb required can be checked by reading the vehicle handbook or service manual. The service manual will also advise of the tools required in order to change a headlamp.

Changing a headlamp in newer models is a fairly simple procedure. In older models it can sometimes be more complicated and time consuming.

Changing a headlamp on a new model

Changing a headlamp in one of the newer models has been made easier than in the past. This is because modern cars have headlamp bulbs that are simply slotted into the back of the lens housing.

The first job is to check the type of headlamp bulb that needs to be replaced. This can be determined by looking in the service manual or at the back of the headlamp. Once the new bulb has been acquired it can be fitted by following the instructions in the service manual. This procedure varies depending on the model and manufacturer, so it is important to have the manual to hand when performing the task.

Changing a headlamp on an older model

Changing a headlamp in an older model may take more time. In addition, more care will be required to ensure no wires are loosened.

The correct bulb will be needed, along with a screwdriver to carry out this task. The screwdriver will be needed to unscrew the headlamp-frame from the bracket that holds the headlamp. Care should be taken to ensure only those screws are loosened; loosening the adjusting screws should be avoided. The electrical connector in the back of the headlamp should then be removed. This is done by hand, pulling the socket away from the headlamp.

The old headlamp is then removed and replaced with the new one. The service manual should have been checked to ensure the new headlamp bulb is the correct one for the make and model of vehicle concerned. The bulb is then inserted into the socket, taking care to ensure that it is fitted the right way up.

The next task is to fit the headlamp into its frame and the frame onto the bracket. The screws are then reattached to securely hold the frame and bracket in place.