One can have the fanciest wheels, despite that it would not matter if the headlights of the car are not working. At such times, installing new headlight bulbs becomes very important. Fortunately, the task of headlight bulb replacement is a natural process that can be done within a few minutes. A novice can even replace the bulbs without requiring many tools. In this article, we will be talking in detail about the different headlight bulbs available in the market, how to install headlight bulbs, and some tips to assist you along the way. Let us start by how to select the right bulb for your headlights.
Finding The Right Bulb
Today, there are different types of headlight bulbs available in the market. Thus, before you install a headlight bulb, it is essential to know which headlight bulbs are available in the market and choose the headlight bulb according to your vehicle requirements. In case you are considering changing the old headlight bulbs of your vehicle, you should consider upgrading the bulbs.
According to the vehicle and the make, the type of headlight bulb required varies. There are three types of headlight bulbs available in the market. Each of them has been described below:
1. Halogen Bulbs
The oldest type of bulbs used in vehicle headlights are halogen bulbs. Containing a tungsten filament that gets hot and produces light when current passes through it, these bulbs contain halogen gas. The gas ensures that the bulb does not turn black. These types of headlight bulbs are the most standard ones used in most classic cars.
Although there are five halogens available, only two of them can be used in headlight bulbs: Bromine and Iodine. This is because halogen is a monovalent element and can quickly form negative ions. The halogen headlight bulbs use bromine and iodine gas in a combined form, preventing the tungsten from breaking and ensuring there is no blackening in the bulb. These bulbs are known to produce the right amount of electricity for lightening up the bulb, making these bulbs not exactly easy to handle.
- Low manufacturing cost
- Cheaper than other options
- Service life is longer
- Fairly low lumen output
- Handling can be delicate as it is sensitive to fats
2. Xenon or HID Bulbs
Xenon, better known as high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs, produce light by creating a high voltage arc with two electrodes. This can be understood as a lightning bolt taking place in a small tube. These bulbs use xenon gas for their operation. The gas creates a bright bluish/white light when ignited and at the same time do not produce excessive heat like halogen bulbs. The only point to be noted is that they require time to warm up and achieve full brightness.
- Requires less energy
- High visibility spectrum
- Last much longer than halogen bulbs
- The light produced is brighter
- Xenon bulbs can take some time to achieve the maximum brightness level
- The price of these bulbs is on the higher side
3. LED Bulbs
The light-emitting diodes or LED bulbs have become one of the most popular options for using as headlights in new cars and the latest makes. These bulbs are energy-efficient as they convert electricity into light with the help of diodes present inside the headlight. This also ensures that the light lasts longer. The task of installing LED headlights is easy and would not take more than 30 minutes.
- Easy installation
- Enhanced brightness level
- High level of visibility
- Energy efficient
- Less power consumption
- Expensive on the pocket
- They disperse more of blue light which is not suitable for the eyes
Step-by-Step Instructions: How To Install Headlight Bulbs
Following are the step-by-step instructions on how to install headlight bulbs:
Step 1. Determine How To Access The Headlight
Accessing a headlight bulb might not be as easy as it might seem. It can be challenging, especially if you have no idea about what you are doing. You might feel that the bulb can be easily removed. However, one needs to note that removing a headlight bulb might require you to remove some other parts before removing the bulb.
Generally, one can access the headlight bulb from the engine compartment. Simply look around for the headlight present in a bulb holder after you open the hood. In case of any confusion, you can always refer to the owner’s manual that comes along with the vehicle.
Step 2. Remove The Old Bulb
After you have determined how to access the headlight bulb, the next step is to remove the old bulb from the headlight. In some automobiles, this bulb is connected to a headlight assembly through a wire assembly. In others, the bulb is secured directly to the headlight assembly. After you have determined how the bulb is being held, you would quickly know how you need to remove it, along with the tools that you might require. Although this process might not require any device in most of the vehicles, you might need a screwdriver for others.
In case the bulb has power, wires connected at the back, you need to remove them. Some vehicles may even have a dust cover that needs to be removed from the headlight bulb along with some clips for holding the headlight bulb in its place.
Step 3. Pulling Out The Bulb
For completely removing the old bulb from the headlight, you need to hold the bulb housing and then pull the bulb out. In some cases, one might have to twist the bulb gently to remove it. It is important to note that you need to be gentle while pulling out the bulb to avoid the risk of breakage of the bulb.
Step 4. Installing The New Headlight Bulb
The next step is the installation of the new headlight bulb in your vehicle. However, before you install the new bulb, it is advisable to clean it with the help of an alcohol wipe. Alternatively, you can also rub with a lint-free cloth and alcohol. After you are done, grab the bulb through its housing, put it in line with the socket, and insert it. You should avoid any touch with the bulb as any contact with the skin may leave a hot spot on the bulb, causing it to burn faster. This can be avoided by wearing gloves while installing a headlight bulb.
In this step, you need to do the reverse of what you did to remove the old headlight bulb. Do not forget to attach back any clips or wires that you might have removed or replaced any dust cover that was removed.
Step 5. Check If The Headlight Bulb Is Working Properly
After you are done with the above steps, you should make sure that the headlight bulb has been correctly installed and is working accurately. We would also suggest you check the direction and aim of the headlights. The headlights should be aligned appropriately, such that it has a proper focus on the road. In case you feel that they are not suitably aligned, you can always check the owner’s manual on how to correct the alignment.
The below video illustrates how to install headlight bulbs in a few easy and quick steps along with some practical tips for you to follow. Just follow the steps, and you would be done in no time.
Tips For Installing Headlight Bulbs
The above steps have described in detail how to install headlight bulbs, however following are some additional tips that would help you install a headlight bulb easily and quickly:
Do Not Wait For Your Headlight Bulbs To Burn Out
Once you get the warning signs, such as flickering or dimming of the bulb, it is better to replace it immediately. Also, both the headlight bulbs should be replaced together as if one has burned out; the other would also follow within a few days.
Do Not Touch The Bulb With Bare Hands
It is always advisable to wear gloves or use a rag while changing a headlight bulb. It helps to keep them clean while avoiding any safety issues. In case you do touch the bulb, do not forget to clean the lamp with an alcohol wipe to remove any grease or stains.
Access The Headlights With Caution
It is a good idea to have a good look inside the engine compartment before you access the headlight bulb. You might need to remove any wires, clips, or protective shield attached to the old headlight bulb before removing it. Similarly, do not forget to attach all these things back while installing a new headlight bulb.
Address The Space Constraint Carefully
The space compartment in your vehicle might be limited. This may require you to remove some extra compartments before you can access the headlight bulb. In such a scenario, it is advisable to go through the owner’s manual and follow the detailed instructions given in it.
Changing a headlight bulb is a spontaneous process and does not require you to call a mechanic. This detailed guide would provide you with all the information and tips that you need on how to install headlight bulbs for your vehicle.