I am going to show you how to replace the entire headlight assembly in a 2008 Chevy Aveo. In this case, I am replacing the driver's side headlight (there may be slight differences if you need to replace the passenger side). The old headlight had a leaking seal and had water building up on the inside of the lens.
- 10mm socket wrench,
- Philips screwdriver
15-60 minutes, depending on skill and experience
The first step, after you pop the hood, is to remove the two 10mm bolts securing the headlight to the radiator support. Always be sure to keep all bolts, screws, etc. in a safe place while working. You wouldn't want to lose any!
There is a third 10mm bolt holding in the headlight, but the coward is hiding! You'll need to remove the grille to gain access to the final bolt. There are three screws (green arrow) and two plastic screw/insert things (blue arrow) holding the grille in place. After removing these you will need to pull the grille directly upwards to get it out (There are several plastic tabs holding it in place at the bottom).
Here is the last bolt that is holding the headlight in. Remove it and you are nearly victorious! Although there are no more bolts holding it in the headlight will still put up a fight. There is a plastic tab hidden in the back of the headlight assembly near the fender. You will need to pull rather firmly to get this free. But after a bit of wiggling and arguing the headlight should get past the bumper and fender, allowing you to access the connector at the back.
Once you've pulled the headlight out past the bumper you will have good access to the single electrical connector at the back. There are no tabs, just grab the plastic and pull straight back. Do NOT pull on the wires! I was unable to remove the connector at first. I went ahead and pulled the rubber boot away from the headlight so that I had better access to the bulb and connector, but this usually shouldn't be necessary.
This is what you'll see after you get the connector off. The new headlight I was installing came with a brand new bulb and boot (the big black rubber seal around the bulb), but I will go over how to transfer the old bulb and boot to the new headlight assembly. First you'll want to take off the boot to get at the bulb. Just carefully pry at the edges and it should come off without trouble.
The light bulb just sits an it's place, held down by a metal clip. To remove the clip simply push down on the tab, indicated by the arrow, and move it to the side, so that when you lift off the clip the spring does not catch on it's anchor tab.
Swing the clip out of the way and you can pull the bulb straight out. When installing the bulb make sure that the three tabs around the base of the bulb sit in their indents and the base sits perfectly flat. Lay the clip down over the back of the bulb, push down the tab and slide it over so that when you release the tab the tip will catch on the anchor. Once you are sure that the bulb is straight and secure put the rubber boot back on. Make sure that it is fully on and won't allow water to enter. Finally put the electrical connector back onto the bulb's terminals. Before you move on to the next step it is a good idea to turn the ignition key to the "run" position and make sure that the headlight works, both high and low beam. If it doesn't work, make sure that the connector is all the way on and the bulb itself is not blown.
Now you need to get the headlight into it's place. It can be a little difficult to make everything line up. Make sure that the plastic tab on the back of the headlight goes into it's slot and seats fully. Just line up the tip with the hole and push firmly(arrow indicates where tab is). Then just line up the three bolt holes and install the bolts. Make sure that everything is lined up properly and tighten the bolts.
When re-installing the grille first you'll want to line up the bottom tabs with their holes, slide them in fully and then line up the screw holes on top. Remember, the three middle holes are for the small metal screws, the outer two are for the plastic inserts and screws.
When you have the holes for the plastic inserts lined up you'll want to put in the insert first without it's screw. You'll have to pinch all four tabs together so that it will actually fit into the hole. Once the insert is in you should be able to just push the screw straight in. This spreads out the tabs and secures everything in place. Once the grille is installed everything should be good to go! Before closing the hood just quickly confirm that you've properly tightened all fasteners (screws, bolts etc.) and aren't forgetting to pick up all of your tools and things.
Now you should have a nice, shiny, new headlight! I hope I have provided a useful, accurate and easy to understand guide on how to perform this task. This is my very first hub, I hope I did a good job. Please leave me comments, feedback, and suggestions! I would love to hear from you! Thank you very much for reading!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Kevin on August 01, 2020:
This made the headlight fixture easy to install. The main light went in simply. But, on my new fixture the signal port isn't cut out. That's where the fixture has a disbursing lens on the front, but no locking tabs on aft side. On the opposite end of Assembly part number REG GM377-A001R there is a round metal washer covering a smaller diameter (toward the center of the car) with locking tabs. Am I to understand this is a light reflecting system that the disbursing lens is to get from the opposite side of the headlight? Or am I supposed to cut out the plastic of the outer edge diameter to accommodate the turn signal light, but with no locking tabs?
alanfish91 (author) from Greenfield, Massachusetts on February 07, 2012:
RedElf from Canada on February 07, 2012:
Wow, I think even I could do this now. Love the step-by-step photos.