Replacing Your Headlights


Introduction: Replacing Your Headlights

About: I love fixing things and DIY, but that doesn't mean I'm good at it.

I enjoy being able to see while driving. So when the 16 year old halogen bulbs on my car started going dim, I decided it was about time to swap them out for some better (and dare I say, cooler?) bulbs. Unfortunately for me, I'm not very car-intuitive. At all. I blew a fuse once trying to replace the glovebox light. So I searched for advice on instructables. There were plenty of cool headlight mods, but none that really told how to just replace headlights. So I decided to write this instructable and show you how I did it. Keep in mind that the specifics might not apply to all cars, but the basic premise probably does.

Note: Sorry about the poor picture quality/ lack of pictures. I did this mostly by myself and didn't have a free hand to hold my phone, which I was using as a camera. Also, this is my first instructable. Tell me what you think!

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Step 1: What You'll Need

This is the really easy part. All that you really need is your new headlights and the car you're gonna put them in.

I used:

A pack of Sylvania Silverstar 9004 headlights

A 1992 Dodge Dynasty. :D

Be sure to use the little computer thingy or a catalog or ask someone to find out what kind of bulb your car uses. Get the wrong bulb, and you'll end up with a connector that doesn't match the one your car's using, or even worse, possibly draw too much power and short out parts of your vehicle's electric system.

As you can see from the picture, my lights are pretty pathetic. I can barely see the road while driving. So let's do something about that!

Step 2: Remove the Power Cord

This is a fairly easy step, but remember to keep safety the priority:
Make sure your headlights are OFF before doing any of this stuff.

(also, don't be dumb like me and attempt an electronics project in the rain).

Release the clip on top of the cord by pressing down on it, then pull it out like a standard power cord. The bulb is that thing sticking out from the black dome of the back of the light, and the clip kinda resembles a clothes pin, and is right above the wires you see.

Step 3: Disable the Security...

My headlights had this nifty ring that screwed on top of the bulb and kept it in place. All I had to do was unscrew it and set it aside.

Step 4: Out With the Old

My headlights were kinda difficult to budge since they'd been in there so long (I estimate an astounding 16 years). But basically with the ring thing gone, they slid right out with a little wiggling.

Step 5: Prepping for the Operation

This is where you have to be delicate.

The bulbs you just paid a fortune for (my set was 40 dollars) are very fragile. If you look on the box, you'll get these hyrogliphics that basically are trying to tell you to NOT grab the unit by the bulb, but rather by the base. BE SURE TO DO THIS!!!

To get them out of the box, I lifted them by the little plastic ring that keeps the whole unit from falling into the headlamp, as seen in the picture.

Step 6: In With the New!

(Sorry for my lack of pictures here; my hands were tied.)

We're in the final stretch!

Pop that new bulb in the opposite way you took the old one out (get it?) and re-enable the ring or twist lock or duct tape or whatever security mechanism was active on your car. Plug back in the cable, and make sure the clip locks into place.

Step 7: Results:

*Ok, you can't really tell by the picture. I know this. I admit it.

Just trust me, they're brighter.*

Close your hood and turn your lights on. Do they work? If not, open your hood again and check to make sure the cables are secure. Make sure you didn't accidentally disconnect the battery somehow during the procedure. If none of that works, open your fuse box, find the "low beam" fuse, and make sure it's not blown.

There's a possibility you messed up your headlight alignment during this. I'm not really sure if the method to correct this is the same in all cars or not, but on mine you use these cables (second picture) to adjust it until you think it's right. It may not seem important, but it is. You may end up with one light too far in the other lane and blind oncoming traffic. So check that stuff.

Step 8: Go for a Drive!

Sweet. New headlights for a new you.

You might wanna check to see if your lights have stuff built up on them from years of road splatter. If so, you can take the rough side of a sponge and get it off (with some muscle anyway).

Drive safe!

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    10 years ago

    This is a great Instructable, but you need to add a main image of the final project to the intro step. Please do that and leave me a message when you have so that we can publish your work. Thanks!