Replacing Bulbs in Your Vehicle

If you’ve ever paid to have a light bulb replaced in your vehicle and then looked at the price of the bulb, you probably got a little confused. Why did you have to pay all that money? Replacing light bulbs in your vehicle isn’t that difficult, and it could save you quite a bit of money.

Get the Right Bulb

Before you do anything, go out and buy the right bulb. If you really want, you can remove the old bulb first and then take it with you, but your owner’s manual should list the bulbs you need. If you go to the store before finding out what type of bulb you need, just ask someone at the auto parts store, or consult the headlight books. They’ll be able to look up the right bulb if you know the year, make, and model of your car.

Headlights, Taillights and Other Lights

Look in your owner’s manual to see what tools you’ll need to remove your old bulb and install the new one. Most often, all you need is a screwdriver or a small socket wrench, but many modern vehicles don’t need tools at all. Taillights can be slightly more difficult than headlights, but it will be nothing more than one or two screws. Other smaller lights like license plate light bulbs will often pull right out. Once you have everything the owner’s manual says you’ll need, pop the hood and follow the directions in the manual.

Some manuals have vague instructions so here are some tips.

  • Many modern vehicles don’t require you to remove the headlight or taillight housing. If you can reach the back of the housing you can probably replace the bulb without removing anything but the bulb.
  • Make sure not to touch the glass part of the bulb. The grease from your fingers could cause the bulb to break, and you’ll have to replace it again. If you do touch the glass, clean it with rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth.
  • Keep in mind that the light bulbs are designed to be easy to replace. You won’t need to remove several parts or screws.
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