We all want to save money on auto repairs.  For those who are beginners or people that aren’t confident in their home mechanic skills, this can be a tough choice.

Do I do it myself or take it to an auto repair shop? 

There are some simple auto repair jobs that can easily be done at home by anyone with the time to read some basic instructions. Of course, if you ever feel that you are not confident even after seeing the instructions, always bring your car by the repair shop for a professional to complete the job safely.  It is always better to be safe than sorry, and on the road, it can cost lives!

Today’s Job: Replacing a Headlight

Headlights burn out. It is a simple fact and a simple fix too.  You can pay to have it done for you, but you don’t have to.  Most of today’s halogen headlight systems have bulbs that are loaded into the back of the lens.

Wiring Harness Removal

This is pretty much a no tools required job.  Get your hood opened and secured, check behind the headlight and find the bulb holder.  There should be a trapezoid shaped plug with three wires coming from it.  You must remove the wiring harness.  The plug will be secured by either a metal clip, plastic catch, or possibly a screw cap.  If you have a metal clip, simply pull it up and off.  Remove it with caution because if you drop it, it may never be seen again.  If you have a plastic catch, there should be a small lever extending from the top of the plug. Use your thumb to depress the lever while pulling the plug free.  It usually slides off pretty easily.  If you’re among those with a screw cap, all you have to do is unscrew the cap turning it counter-clockwise.

Removing the Bad Headlight Bulb

Now that you have the wiring out of your way, it is time to remove the old headlight bulb. You will need to hold the base where the wiring harness was plugged in and pull the old bulb out. Usually it will slide out easily, but there are still a few that may require you to rotate the bulb just a little to release it.

New Headlight Bulb Installation

To start, you really need to handle the new bulb carefully.  You want to be sure to use a clean rag or cloth when touching the bulb.  The oils in our skin, if rubbed on the glass bulb, can cause the bulb to burn out very, VERY quickly.  Only touch the glass bulb with a tissue or cloth to prevent the transfer of these oils.

Now, holding only the bulb’s plug end, you should insert it back into the back of the headlight.  Make sure that it has gone in completely and that the bulb’s rubber gasket is no longer visible.  Everything should be lined up properly.

Securing the Wiring Harness

You’re ready to plug the wiring harness back into place now.  Considering how simple it was to remove, just re-attach the plug and replace the clip, catch or screw top reversing the directions for removal above.  Once that is done, so are you!  Switch those lights on and admire your work!

As we said before, if you ever lack confidence in your work, do not attempt home auto repairs.  Safety should always come first, and if you don’t feel good about making a repair, do not attempt it.  If you have questions or would like us to perform this job for you, just get in touch and schedule an appointmentSanford’s Automotive Service cares about our customers and we’re here to serve all of your auto maintenance and auto repair needs.