How to Change Old Bulbs | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

How to Change Old Bulbs

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Not only do you risk your safety if you drive with a headlight or a taillight out, but you also risk the safety of others. In addition, you risk being pulled over if you’re caught driving with bulbs that have gone out. It’s a fairly simple process, you just have to make the time for it. If you have a light that’s gone out, here is a foolproof way to change it on your own. 

Taking Care of Your Headlights

You know that your headlights are essential for nighttime driving, however, they go beyond just keeping you safe at night. In the event of bad weather, your headlights also play a crucial role in keeping you and other drivers safe. If you drive in the rain, snow, or fog, your lights help you cut through the weather to see in front of you, while helping cars behind you know just how far away from you they are. 

Other than just burning out altogether, overtime bulbs can dull and not provide enough light to drive safely. Like getting your oil changed or switching out your windshield wipers, your headlights are another part of your car that you should check and maintain on a regular basis. According to a study done by Car Care Council, 34% of drivers have never changed out their headlights. Further, 28% of drivers report having trouble seeing hazards or other drivers on the road at night, and 62% of motorists just avoid driving at night completely.

Driving at night doesn’t have to be scary, especially if you’re taking good care of your headlights. If it’s time to change a burned out bulb, or just brighten those lights that have gone dim over time, follow this simple 4-step process:

Changing Your Headlights in 4 Steps

First, you’ll need to gather all the supplies you need. Most commonly, you’ll need new bulbs, alcohol wipes and tissues, and a Phillips screwdriver.

1. Locate the headlight holder

You’ll access your headlight through the engine, not the front of the car. Open your hood and locate the headlight near the front of the vehicle. You should see a bulb holder and a power connector (that typically has 3 wires) which will lead you to the bulb.

2. Remove the power wires

Next, you’ll remove the power wires that are attached to a plug at the base of the headlight. There is usually a plastic catch that is securing them. You should see a small lever, you’ll push down on it and pull the plug out.

3. Remove the old bulb

One you’ve disconnected the wires, you should be able to take the back of the headlight holder off and remove the old bulb by holding on the base. Be prepared to rotate the bulb a bit to get it free.

4. Clean and install the new bulb

Handle the new bulb with tissues or gloves so you don’t get the light dirty with your hands. Take an alcohol wipe to clean the bulb before installing it. Once it’s ready, stick it into the base of the plug. Once the bulb is in place correctly, you can put the holder back in place and plug the power wires back in. Test the bulb by turning on your headlights. 

Changing Tail Lights 

This process is a little different than changing out a headlight. Depending on your car, you might be able to unscrew the bulb from the outside, but other cars you have to access the bulb from the trunk. Once you’ve unscrewed the housing, you might have to work with tabs, screws, or knobs to open the tail cover and get to the bulb. Be gentle with any wires you may come in contact with back here. 

To unscrew most tail light bulbs, you just pull it out directly. However, some cars you might have to push the bulb in and unscrew simultaneously. Once you have taken that bulb out ,put the new bulb in. Test these lights before you drive again to make sure they’re working properly. 

Call Scott’s Auto

As you can tell, changing out your headlights is a pretty simple process. All you have to do is set aside some time in your day to get it done. If you find that something is messed up and you can’t update the bulbs on your own, don’t hesitate to call our team here at Scott’s Auto. With two convenient locations and taking extra safety measures during these unprecedented times, we’re here for you! Call now – Fort Collins: 970-682-4202 Loveland: 970-541-4404. 

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