How To Change Low Beam Headlight

This is our guide on how to change a low beam headlight. 

If you’ve noticed your headlights putting out low brightness, a blurry beam, or a beam that is full of dark spots, it might be time to change the low beam headlight. 

And if you aren’t too keen on paying someone to change your low beam headlight, it’s pretty easy to do at home, with very few tools necessary. 

In fact, with most modern headlight bulbs, all you really need to change the low beam headlight bulb is a screwdriver. 

We’ve been testing and working on headlights for over a decade, so if you need help changing your low beam headlight bulb, you came to the right place. 

Keep reading for more information on how to change a low beam headlight bulb. 

Signs You Should Change Your Low Beam Headlight 

Low Brightness Output

The brightness output of your low beam headlights can become weaker and weaker over time. While this may allude to a problem with the wiring, or some other issue, it is possible that the low beam headlight bulb needs to be replaced. 

Dark Spots 

Another dead giveaway of a low beam headlight bulb that needs to be replaced is dark spots in the beam. These could be small patches of the beam that appear darker than the rest, or parts of the beam that don’t even light up at all. 

Blurry Light

If you notice your low beam headlights putting out blurry, unfocused light, the only way to fix the problem might be to replace the bulb. 

What You’ll Need To Change Your Low Beam Headlight

Replacement Headlight Bulb

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to buy a replacement low beam headlight bulb before getting to work replacing it! More important, you need to make sure you get the right type and size of headlight bulb for your low beam headlight. And if you’re not sure about the kind of bulb you need, the owner’s manual should tell you exactly the one you need. 

Vehicle Owner’s Manual

Speaking of, it’s always a good idea to have the owner’s manual handy when installing new headlights. Ours is a good general guide, but the exact process for changing low beam headlights will vary from vehicle to vehicle and your car’s owner’s manual should have some useful information regarding it. 

Gloves

We urge you to wear gloves when handling the new low beam headlight bulb, as the natural oils from your hand can very easily smudge the bulb glass. This in turn can lead to poor visibility and even lower the lifespan of the bulb. 

Screwdriver

You don’t necessarily need a screwdriver to change a low beam headlight bulb but it’s always nice to have one on hand. 

How To Change Low Beam Headlight

So here’s our guide on how to change a low beam headlight bulb. 

Step 1: Turn Off The Car And The Headlights

When doing any kind of maintenance on your car’s headlights, it is best to switch them off as well as turn off the engine. It doesn’t happen often, but an electric shock is still possible and it’s best to play it safe. 

Some professionals even prefer to disconnect the battery while they are changing out the headlight bulbs, though that might be overkill. 

Step 2: Find The Headlight Bulb Holder

Now that you’ve turned off the car’s engine and electrical systems, pop your hood and find the headlight bulb holder, as shown in the picture above. It should be right behind the headlight assembly. 

Depending on the make and model of your car, it might have two separate bulbs for low and high beams, or one bulb for both. Make sure to remove the low beam bulb. 

Step 3: Disconnect Any Wires

There should be an array of wires that lead from the back of the headlight bulb to the car’s electrical system. You will need to disconnect these in order to remove the low beam headlight bulb. 

These wires may be held in place by some clips or tabs that you have to unlatch. If the clips are in an awkward spot you just can’t reach with your fingers, use your trusty screwdriver to pop them open. 

Step 4: Pull Out The Old Bulb

Next, pull the old low beam headlight bulb out of its socket. On some models, you can just pull the bulb out, whereas others will require you to twist the bulb in its socket to get it out. Again, the owner’s manual will have all the information you need. 

Additionally, there may be a bit of the car’s bodywork in your way, so you’ll have to reach around the back in order to remove the headlight bulb. 

Step 5: Insert The New Bulb

Once the old low beam headlight bulb has been removed, it’s time to install the new one. We urge you to be extra careful when handling the new bulb as it’s very easy to damage. 

You can very easily shatter the glass, or leave smudges/fingerprints on it that reduce the lifespan and cause the beam to look blurry. That is why we always recommend wearing gloves when handling the replacement headlight bulb. 

And this goes without saying, but avoid banging the bulb against any bodywork or other parts of the engine bay. 

Once the bulb has been slotted in place, lock it in place by twisting or just leaving it in depending on how the headlight bulbs on your car function. Reconnect the wires to the new bulb, and you should be golden. 

Step 6: Test The New Bulb

Once all of that is done, it’s time to see if you did everything correctly. Turn on the headlights and see if they work normally. Look for any flickering in the bulb, any dark spots in the beam, and other stuff like that. 

If one of the bulbs does not turn on at all, try flipping the connector around 180 degrees. 

Conclusion

So, to sum up, changing your car’s low beam headlight is pretty easy and can be done with very few (if any) tools necessary. 

Still, there are a couple things you need to be careful of when swapping out old bulbs for new one, such as buying the correct type of bulb, handling sensitive components with care, and making sure to consult the owner’s manual for any info you might need. 


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Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.