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Burnt-out Headlight? Here’s How to Replace It

Posted at Fri, May 4, 2018 11:15 AM

When it comes to safety, one of the most crucial parts of your Toyota is the headlights. They’re important not only for night driving, but also those days when inclement weather reduces visibility. Unfortunately, headlights sometimes go out and when that happens, you’ll want to get them fixed as soon as possible. Driving around with a broken headlight is not only unsafe, but also makes you a prime candidate for a ticket if the police happen to notice.

If you’d like to learn how to change the headlight yourself instead of hauling it into the shop every time one quits working, look no further. We here at Westbury Toyota have put together a comprehensive guide to teach you how to replace a headlight bulb and get your car safely back onto the road in no time.

The Right Tools

While changing your Toyota’s headlight bulb isn’t quite on the same level of difficulty as cleaning your gas tank, you’re still going to need a few tools to get the job done. Fortunately, most of the tools required are things you’ll already have and if you don’t, they are pretty easy to find. The tools you’ll need for this specific task include:

  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver (for older models)
  • A clean cloth
  • alcohol wipes (or rubbing alcohol)
  • Owner’s manual

Once you’ve got everything on this short list, you’re officially ready to get started.

Use the Right Type of Bulb

Unfortunately, there’s no generic “one size fits all" type of bulb for car headlights, so the first thing you’re going to have to do is figure out what kind of bulb you need. The easiest way to do this is to refer to your Toyota owner’s manual. In the event that you don't have access to your owner's manual, feel free to call the parts team here at Westbury Toyota by dialing (516) 333-9451 or check out any of the major headlight manufacturers' website guides (Slyvania, Philips, etc.) to find your bulb type based on your Toyota's model and year.

Removing the Old Bulb

The first thing you’ll need to do is open the hood so you can locate the headlight holder at the front of the car. Disconnect the power wires from the back of the headlight that needs to be replaced. Twist or push down on the cap or clip holding those wires in place. From here, you’ll remove the dust cover at the back of the headlight.

At this point it’s time to remove the bulb. Some cars have clips that hold the lightbulb in place, while others don’t. If your car does have those clips, it’s very important that you don’t break them. If you do, as the editorial staff at Nationwide explains, you’ll have to replace the entire headlight fixture and not just the bulb.

Once the clips are released (if your car has them), it’s time to remove the bulb itself. Do so by grasping the bulb’s housing carefully and pulling. You may have to do a little jiggling to get it loose, but don’t wrench it out! You could break the bulb if you do.

Placing the New Bulb

Once the old bulb is removed, hold it side by side with the new bulb to make sure they’re the same type. If they are, it’s time to put the new bulb into place. Before you actually insert the new bulb, you’ll want to make sure it’s free of any smudges, dust, or residue. The staff at have a good suggestion: Use alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol to get it perfectly clean.

After you have done all of this, align the bulb housing with the open socket and then carefully slide it in. Test to make sure it’s inserted securely. Once that’s done, put the bulb into its proper place. If you need to, twist to lock it.

Finishing Up

Once the bulb’s been fixed, it’s just a matter of getting everything back the way it was. You can start by reattaching the clip (if your Toyota has one). From there, replace the dust cover and reattach the power wires. The final step is to turn your car on and check the headlights. If everything went as planned, both should be working perfectly! In the event that the bulb still isn’t working, though, it might mean that there’s a more serious problem. At that point, it would be a good idea to bring it in to Westbury Toyota to have one of our certified mechanics take a look at it.

Lighting Up the Road

It’s always important to make sure your Toyota’s working the way it should be as you go about your daily commute or a longer trip outside of Westbury. A burnt-out headlight might seem insignificant at first glance, but it means reduced visibility for you while driving and what’s more, could lead to a hefty ticket!

At the end of the day, it's much better to be safe than sorry on this front. Thankfully, with this handy guide presented by Westbury Toyota on your side, it will not be long before you are back behind the wheel of your favorite Toyota with a brand-new pair of headlights guiding your way all across Long Island.

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