Mistakes to Avoid When Changing a Blown Headlight Bulb

Mistakes to Avoid When Changing a Blown Headlight Bulb

22nd Apr 2021

close-up of headlight on red car

Is A Headlight Blown?

Does your vehicle have a blown headlight bulb? When driving at night -- as well in rainy or foggy weather -- you'll need working headlights to see the road. Even if just one of your vehicle's headlights has a blown bulb, you'll experience a significant loss of visibility while subsequently increasing the risk of collision. Fortunately, you can change a blown headlight bulb without hiring a mechanic. With that said, you should avoid making the following mistakes when changing a blown headlight bulb.

Using the Wrong Size Bulb

Headlight bulbs come in a variety of sizes. When replacing a blown headlight bulb, you'll need to choose the right size for your vehicle. If it's too big or too small, it may not fit. And even if it does fit, it may be loose once installed. You can find the right size by removing the old, blown bulb and matching it with a new bulb of the same size.

Not Disconnecting the Battery

Always disconnect the battery when changing a blown headlight bulb. Headlight bulbs are connected to your vehicle's electrical system. They'll pull power from the battery while the alternator recharges the battery. When performing any electrical work on your vehicle, you should err on the side of caution by disconnecting the battery. You don't have to remove the battery. Rather, you just need to disconnect the ground cable (the black cable) until you are finished replacing the blown headlight bulb.

Touching With Bare Hands

Don't make the mistake of touching the new headlight bulb with your bare hands. Why is this a problem exactly? Most headlight bulbs are halogen bulbs. If you touch a new headlight bulb with your bare fingers, you'll transfer oils from your skin to the bulb. As a result, the bulb will burn evenly. It will heat up more in the area or areas where you touched it, which can cause it to burn out more quickly.

Not Inspecting the Housing

If you're going to change a blown headlight bulb, you should take a moment to inspect the housing. The housing is the plastic, acrylic or glass case in which the bulb is installed. Headlight bulbs typically last for a long time. If the housing is cracked or otherwise damaged, though, moisture may enter it. When this occurs, moisture can settle on the bulb while causing it to degrade.

Overlooking Clips

Most vehicles have clips for headlight bulbs. After gaining access to the blown bulb's housing, you should see one or more clips holding it in place. When replacing the blown headlight bulb, you should use these clips. You'll need to remove the blown bulb from the clips, after which you can secure the new bulb in place with the same clips. Clips are designed to secure and hold headlight bulbs in place so that they don't shift while driving.