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Picture of Fix a loose headlight reflector on a Volvo 850
While driving at night, have you ever noticed other people's headlights that appear to be shaking and bouncing around? Isn't it annoying and distracting? Your brain is so good at noticing motion that it's hard to ignore those bouncing headlights, especially if they're in your rear view.

Embarrassingly, I found that I was one of those "other people, bad citizens" when I replaced a headlight bulb and noticed the reflector was loose.

Step 1: Open hood and check reflector

Picture of Open hood and check reflector
Follow the instructions in the manual for replacing a headlight bulb. The bulb screws into the reflector, so you can feel if it's loose or not.

This is 1996 Volvo 850 GLT with cold weather package. I imagine the headlight assembly and surrounding components aren't that different for models around the same age.
 
mfrumer1 year ago

I was replacing a broken turn signal lens unit. It was relatively easy (with a little straining) to get the unit out using the instructions here. But I found it almost impossible to get the spring back into position when I went to replace the unit. The area is so constrained by surrounding parts, that it seemed like only a gorilla with long, very strong fingers could pull the spring and hook it. I finally did it by using a long screwdriver. I inserted the screwdriver down from the top and into the loop at the end of the spring. I could then leverage the screwdriver with my right hand to pull the spring while with my left hand fingers I guided the s-bend into position over the v-notch where it needed to go. The instructions here were very useful in convincing my that a human could do the job, but the task was not trivial. It took me several hours of straining and puzzling over it to get it done.

Crescent wrench.
Toulouse6 years ago
hey, nice instructable! nice 850! I just recently purchased a 1997 850 R. (240hp) :-)
ReyRey8 years ago
I've been looking for instructions on how to replace the headlight glass on my 1996 Volvo 960. I am going to try and take it off using your instructions. The headlights on your 850 look pretty similiar to those on the 960. Had an accident, my fault w/only liability ins. had to use used parts to fix. One headlight had to be replaced and it's not as clear as the one on it before. Let you know how it turns out. Thanks for posting your repair.
ewilhelm (author)  ReyRey8 years ago
It's probably pretty close on the 960. One of my headlights was cracked by an icicle and it was really expensive to replace the glass!
Von Klaus9 years ago
He calls that the ranch. All thoses horses in all that small space.
ranex9 years ago
thanks for the instructions- i have the same car but a year newer and if my headlights start bouncing i'll use this
trebuchet039 years ago
Nice car :P I'm actually looking for an S70 or V70 GLT :D