How To Remove Headlight Bulb From Socket

In this article, we’re going to tell you how to remove a headlight bulb from its socket.

If your headlights, or one of your headlights, are intermittent or failing outright, checking your headlight bulbs should be at the top of your list.

Put your headlights on to see if one or both lights have a problem. If only one is out, a simple bulb replacement will solve the issue 99% of the time.

Because standard halogen headlights, which is the headlight technology most cars on the road are fitted with, relies on filaments, they have limited lifespans. Once the filament burns out, the only solution is to replace the bulb.

Stay with us as we look into easy DIY ways to remove a bulb from the socket, and replace it to get your headlights working properly again.

Why You Might Want To Remove Headlight Bulb From Socket

Firstly, if one or both of your headlights have stopped working, the bulb is usually at fault. That said, it could also be the fuse, socket, or wiring, so you’d want to isolate the problem before jumping into fixing it.

It’s easy to test your entire headlight circuit with either a multimeter or by simply using a 12-volt battery. In both instances, you’d have to remove the headlight bulb from the socket.

How To Remove Headlight Bulb From Socket

Headlight bulbs are secured with either clips or small screws, depending on the vehicle make and model.

If it is the socket type, turn the bulb counterclockwise (but be gentle!) and wiggle it slightly until it feels loose enough to turn and remove.

If the bulb is secured with metal clips, it’s simply a case of unclipping and pulling the bulb out of its enclosure.

In the case of a screw mount, remove the screws, and the bulb should slip out of the housing.

Things To Consider When Removing Headlight Bulb From Socket

There are a number of factors to beat in mind while removing a headlight bulb from its socket. These are to prevent damage to the bulb itself, and also to make the job as easy and painless for you as possible.

Firstly, you should be able to access the headlight bulb by opening the hood and looking in the inside front of the engine compartment.

The bulb sits in a bulb-holder, which has a three-wire power connector. It’s easy enough to spot.

Then, the wiring is connected to the bulb enclosure with a plug at the base of the headlight casing. It’s usually held in place with either a metal clip, or a plastic catch. Some older vehicles use a screw cap. Make sure to disconnect the wiring harness by pulling the plug from the enclosure before attempting to do anything else.

Once you’ve succeeded in removing the wiring harness, remove the old bulb by the base. Rotate a little to set it free.

Make sure to handle the new bulb with care. Avoid touching it with any part of your skin – if you do, you may leave an oily residue on the glass part of the bulb, which will create a hots spot and lead to the bulb blowing. Install it in the same way you removed the old bulb – simply do everything in reverse.

Now, test!

Many times, vehicle owners opt to replace front and rear bulbs simultaneously. So, we’re throwing in a little bit of advice on taillight bulb replacement too.

The process is only slightly different from headlight bulb replacement. The bulb housing is unscrewed from the outside on some vehicles, and from the inside on others.

Once unscrewed, you’ll be able to see if the bulb is held in place by tabs or screws. In the case of taillights, you probably won’t need to remove the wiring harness, like you did in the headlights, but make sure to pull the wires too taught while you’re working.

From here, the process is the same as with headlight bulb replacement.

A parting shot

Many people have bulbs replaced professionally. This is costly if you consider how quick and easy it is to do it yourself. A proper headlight check should, in fact, be a part of your general vehicle maintenance schedule. A good idea is to do it every time you wash your car.

Check out our most popular pages to find the best headlight bulbs.

Check out the brightest headlight bulbs as well.

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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.