Informational Guide

How to Change a Headlight

Learn how to change a headlight bulb with our DIY guide. Replace faulty or broken lights by following our easy steps for car owners.

Changing your own automotive headlight isn’t a difficult task, and it is one that you should know how to do. 

To help you save money, we will teach you how to change a headlight. It doesn’t matter if you need to know how to change a headlight bulb in Ford Fiesta cars or how to change a headlight on a 2008  Hyundai Sonata; this guide can help.

Old Age – End Of lifespan/Burned-Out Bulb

Why would you need to learn how to change a headlight on a 2006 Ford Taurus? In many cases, it’s simply because the bulb got old and reached the end of its life.

Extreme cold and heat

You might also need to learn how to change a headlight on a 2009 Saturn Aura if you are regularly parking your vehicle in extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Corroded Socket

Sometimes the light bulb socket can become corroded, which might cause the headlight to go bad.

Blown-Out Fuse

Some people learn how to change a headlight on a 2014 Ford Fusion only to find out that a blown fuse is actually causing the bulbs to go bad.

Electrical Short

As with a blown fuse, there could also be an electrical short causing the headlights to fail prematurely.


Headlight oxidation might cause you to replace the headlight bulb and housing.

Cracks in bulb housing

You will want to replace the entire housing if you notice any cracks or issues that can’t be corrected.

Charging System Problems

If the charging system in your vehicle is sending too much or too little power to your aftermarket headlights, it can cause the bulbs to go out.

headlight turned off

Other Signs Your Car Headlights Need Replacement

Flickering Headlights

As the headlights start to go out, you might notice one or both of them begin to flicker. If you catch it early enough, you can replace the bulbs before there is no light at all.

Dim Headlamps

Over time, the headlamps might start to dim. However, this can also be caused by a faulty battery, alternator, or cloudy lenses.

Single Headlight Out, or No Light

The halogen bulb reaches the end of its life between 500 and 1,000 hours. In comparison, the HID bulb should last between 2,000 and 10,000 hours, while the LED lightbulb lasts about 30,000 hours.

Constantly Blowing Fuses

If you notice that fuses continue to blow, it might simply be a faulty headlight. Of course, this can go the other way around, where a continually blowing fuse causes the headlight to go bad too.

Low-Beams Don’t Work, But High-Beams Do

You might need to learn how to change a headlight on a Kia Sorento if the low beams aren’t working, but you can still operate the high beams.

How To Change A Car’s Headlights

1. Turn Off Car

Before you learn how to change a headlight on a 2012 GMC Acadia, you must first shut the engine down. To ensure your safety, you should also remove the keys from the ignition.

2. Open Engine Compartment & Locate Headlight Holder

Pop the hood to your vehicle and find the headlight housing. It’s located at the front of your vehicle. Familiarize yourself with the design and gather your equipment.

3. Disconnect headlight bulb power wires

As you learn how to change a Hyundai Santa Fe headlight, you might see three wires attached to the lightbulb base. To remove it, you should push down the attached clip or cap that holds it in place.

4. Unscrew & Remove Old Headlight

Vehicles all have a different design. For example, learning how to change a Prius headlight bulb might be completely different from figuring out how to change the headlight bulb on a Mercedes A-Class. Sometimes you can get to the bulb easily, and other times you have to remove other parts, such as the air filter. Once you get to the bad bulb, unscrew it and dispose of it properly.

5. Clean & Screw New Headlight Bulb

Without touching the glass of the bulb, screw it into the socket. Reconnect the wires and put your vehicle back together.

6. Test the new headlights

Once you’ve learned how to change the headlight on a 2013 Chrysler 200, you want to test out your work. Make sure the lights are working before you head out on the road.

Tips & Tricks For Replacing Your Car Headlight

How To Tell Which Headlight Type You Have

Not only is a car headlight different from a motorcycle headlight, but you might also have a bulb or a sealed unit. Read your user’s manual to determine what headlight you need, as you might not be able to use an HID or LED bulb without an upgraded housing.

Items You Will Need

As you learn how to change a car headlight bulb, you realize you don’t need a lot of tools.

  • New light bulb – make sure it is compatible with your system
  • Alcohol wipes – to clean the bulb if you accidentally touch it
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Gloves – to prevent transferring oil to the bulb
Safety Requirements

Aside from wearing gloves and avoiding coming in contact with the bulbs, you also want to make sure you only work on your vehicle when the engine is turned off. To prevent accidents, remove the keys from the ignition.

Change bulbs in pairs

You might only have one bulb bad, but you should replace both in pairs. Not only will these bulbs provide full illumination for night driving, but it also promotes balance and safety.

Keeping Headlights In Tip Top Condition

To keep your headlights in optimal condition, follow these maintenance tips.

  • Clean the headlights often. As grime builds up, it becomes harder to see.
  • Restore cloudy or yellow headlights. With simple restoration, you can get a brighter beam.
  • Check illumination often to verify that the bulbs aren’t going bad.
  • Check headlight alignment to ensure you get the best beam possible.
  • Always replace your headlights at the first sign of trouble, and do it in pairs.

Headlight Restoration as an Alternative

A headlight restoration kit can remove the yellow and cloudy finish on the lens.

Sometimes, you might think you need to replace the bulb because of less illumination when you actually just need to clean the lens. With these simple kits, you can restore the optimal beam you once enjoyed.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Will AutoZone change my headlight bulb for free?

If you purchase your headlights from AutoZone, they might replace them for free. However, they are not mechanics and will not get involved if any parts need to be removed to access the bulb.

How much does it cost to replace a headlight bulb? What about headlight wiring?

The cost of a headlight replacement depends on what type of bulb you purchase. Halogen light bulbs cost far less than LED bulbs. Additionally, if you require new headlight wiring, you might have to pay a little more.

Can you get a ticket for driving with a broken car headlight?

Headlight laws in most states require use from sunset to sunrise. Because of this, having a broken headlight could lead to a ticket if you get pulled over. It can also prevent your vehicle from passing state inspections.

Where do I go to get my headlight bulbs replaced?

You can learn how to change a car headlight by yourself and save some money. However, if you aren't comfortable doing the replacement yourself, you will want to take your vehicle to your mechanic.

Is it safe to tape up a broken headlight?

You should never tape a broken headlight long-term, but you can do it to get you back home or to the mechanic to change the housing.


It isn’t difficult to change a car headlight. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, you can follow the easy steps provided in our guide to restore illumination again.