Pro Tips: How to Change Headlights and Taillights

Do you know how to change the headlights and taillights on your vehicle? If you’re like most car owners, the process may have you stumped.

With winter comes longer hours of darkness that make your headlights and taillights critical for your safety on the road. Following is a simple guide to the ins and outs of changing your own lights.

Tools of the Trade

Before you begin, it is always important to consult your owner’s manual for your car or a local shop to find out what type and size bulb you need, plus the procedure you should follow to replace it.

Most automotive experts recommend that, if you’re going to change one of your headlamps or taillights, it’s a good idea to replace both while you’re at it. If you don’t want to do both, buy two bulbs at the auto parts store and keep the spare on hand. You’ll probably need it soon!

To change bulbs on either the front or rear of your vehicle, you need to have:

  • New headlight or taillight bulbs, or if your model requires it, a new lamp assembly
  • A screwdriver or wrench, depending on your car’s model
  • Any specialty tools required for your vehicle

Changing the Headlights

Although every car is different, the basic steps for changing headlights are:

  • Open your hood and find the back of the headlights on each side.
  • Unhook the wiring and remove the back of the headlight assembly as instructed in the car’s manual.
  • Carefully remove the bulb from the headlight housing.
  • Install the new bulb, taking care not to touch the new bulb with your fingers. Skin oils can affect the performance of some bulbs or dramatically shorten their lives.
  • Test that the bulb works before you replace the backing.
  • Finally, securely replace the components and wiring.
  • Test the light’s operation one more time after you’ve put it all back together.

How to Change the Taillights

Now, to change your taillights, follow these general steps:

  • Open the trunk and find the back of the taillight assembly.
  • Following the instructions in your owner’s manual, locate and remove the wiring and back of the taillight housing.
  • Carefully remove the old bulb from the housing.
  • Put in the new bulb, but again, take care not to touch the bulb itself.
  • Make sure the new light works before you replace the backing.
  • Replace the back of the light assembly and the wiring.
  • Finally, test the lights one more time to ensure they’re working

In many models, especially foreign cars and trucks, this procedure can be a bit tricky.

Some models provide very little space to work, preventing easy access to the light assemblies. In other models, you may have to remove some components to even reach the lights.

Many savvy motorists prefer to let a professional handle this important car maintenance. That way, you save both time and aggravation, and you ensure that the job is done correctly. This will keep you safe on the road in the dark, especially in the harsh winter weather we have in northern Utah!

In Midvale, Utah, and the surrounding communities. Viking Automotive can provide all the automotive maintenance service you need to keep your vehicle running safely all year long.

Contact us today for help changing your headlights and taillights, and for all your vehicle’s needs.



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