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If you have ever been stopped for a faulty headlight or one that has burned out, you will know how expensive it can be to replace them. Headlights are simple to change and in most cases this can be accomplished with little more than a screwdriver. The common cause of burnout on a single headlight is filament failure.

To change your headlight remove the cover molding, which is held in by screws. If your car is a late model General Motors car you will need a torx-head screwdriver to remove the screws. This type of screwdriver can be purchased at your local auto parts store. After the cover molding is removed you will need to remove the screws that hold the metal ring, which is holding the headlight to its housing. When you are doing this be very careful not to touch the spring-loaded screws that control the headlight's aim or you will disturb the adjustment. If any of the screws are rusted in place simply spray them with a good dose of WD-40 or any penetrating solvent. Wait for another 15 minutes before attempting to loosen the screws.

To unplug the wire connectors you will need to pull the headlight forward. If you are not sure if the headlight is bad or suspect the problem may be something other than a burned out headlight, you will want to check the lamp. To do this you will need a jumper wire. This is a length of wire with an alligator clip on each end. Attach the jumper wire to either battery terminal and hold the other terminal of the headlight against the second battery terminal. Place the open end of the jumper wire to the other headlight terminal one at a time. If the headlight does not light up it is probably burned out. Another thing you can check while doing this is to see if there is any corrosion on the headlight terminal or wire connecter terminal. If you find corrosion use a wire brush to clean it off and test the headlight again.

When the headlight is burned out you will need a replacement that is exactly the same size and type as the one you are replacing. In this case, the brand is not important. If the headlight has a halogen lamp be sure you do not install a standard lamp. When you install the headlight, check to be sure you are installing it right side up with the locating lugs lined up with the housing. In some cars you will find what is called aerodynamic headlights. This type of headlight has a replaceable halogen bulb. The bulb can be removed at the rear of the housing and can be replaced by simply raising the hood of your car. When you are replacing one of these bulbs handle them only by the plastic base and very gently. The owner’s manual for your vehicle will have replacement instructions for this type of bulb.

Tail lights and turn signal lights are in many cases replaced by changing out the bulb. It is wise when changing out either of these to diagram the parts as they are removed to aid you in properly getting the housing back together. In some cases the entire assembly will need to be replaced and you will need to purchase the placement from your local automobile dealer.