I was a CNC operator, became a CNC Setup person, and I am currently a Quality Technician.
Changing a Headlight Bulb
How much does a headlight bulb replacement cost? That was the thought I had when I found out changing a headlight bulb was going to be absolutely necessary. It was no longer optional once I got pulled over by the cop because the one on my passenger side was burnt-out.
I was luckily only given a warning, but I knew that if I got stopped again it would mean getting a ticket and having to pay a fine. So I started looking into the cost. The bulbs themselves aren't that expensive, especially if you buy them online. However, adding in labor costs, if you get a mechanic to do it, you could now be looking anywhere from $50 to $120 just for a regular light.
So I asked around about how difficult it was to change a headlight, and learned it actually wasn't that hard at all. So I figured I would try to do it myself. I found some instructions and tried following them. It was pretty easy, but there were a few little nuances that they missed that if I had known it, would have saved me some time. Plus, it might have prevented me from swearing after getting so frustrated. So, if you would like swearing and frustration-free instructions for changing a headlight bulb, read on.
These are the bulbs for my Jeep Patriot. If you own a Jeep Patriot (any year) it will fit your vehicle. If you don't know what bulb you need you can click on one of the bulbs below. When you click on them it will take you to Amazon, where it will have you enter your make and model, and then it will tell you which bulbs will fit your vehicle.
Recommendations Before You Start
I would recommend wearing gloves when changing a headlight bulb. There is the simple prevent getting dirty reason, as it can get very dirty under the hood. However, more importantly is that if you touch the glass part of the bulb with your fingers the oil from your hands will cause that spot to burn hotter. That will decrease the lifespan of your headlight.
Check to see what type of light your vehicle uses. If it uses a High Intensity Discharge (otherwise known as Xenon) light, I do not recommend doing it yourself. They are dangerous to change even when the battery is disconnected due to high voltage.
Pop the Hood
The first thing you need to is pop the hood to get access to it. So find your hood release lever and pull it. On the Jeep Patriot it is located on the driver side of the car, in front of the speaker on your car door.
Release the Safety Catch
The hood will be slightly raised. You now need to reach inside and release the safety catch. Once you push that over you can open the hood all the way.
Use the Hood Prop
Raise the hood up all the way and install the hood prop into place.
This will keep you safe while working on your vehicle.
Turn Counterclockwise to Remove the Old Bulb
Now you need to turn the bulb assembly counterclockwise.
Then you can pull it out.
Remove the Old Seal
The old seal will still be on the car. The new bulb already has one attached, so you need to remove the old one. Just peel it off with your fingers.
What It Looks Like
This is what the housing looks like when it is removed from the car. Notice the red locking mechanism at the back? That is locking it in the plug.
Remove the Bulb From the Housing
So to remove the bulb you need to pull back the red latch.
Then press down on the green area that is circled in the photo at right and you can easily pull the bulb out of the socket.
[I did not know about pressing that in to make it easier to remove. If you don't press it in, you can pull with all your might to get it out, like I did. However, I highly recommend pushing it in and saving yourself the hassle]
The Empty Plug
This is what the plug will look like when you have removed it.
The New Bulb
There are two sides on the headlight bulb. One has writing on it, the other has the latch to attach it to the plug.
You want to have the red locking mechanism facing up on the plug and the latch side of the bulb facing up when you connect them together.
Plug It in and Lock It
Put the new light into the socket. Then, push the red latch forward to lock it in.
Installing the New Headlight
There are three notches on the housing and three slots for them to fit into on the car.
To put it back in have the housing turned a little counter clockwise to line up the proper notches and slots.
[This is important as this was what I found was missing from the instructions that I got. I kept trying to put it in lined up wrong and it wasn't going in. I thought I just lacked the hand strength or there was extra material on the bulb I bought. This was what made the job longer and got me swearing.]
Push it all the way in. Then, turn it clockwise to lock it in place.
Repair Shop Manual for Jeep Patriot and Compass
If you want to do any other more complicated repairs yourself, I would recommend getting the official repair manual for your car.
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.
Do You Think You Can Now Change Your Own Headlight?
Yes, thank you. on September 30, 2019:
I am a 70 year-old woman, now single. I used to do lots 'guy' things to take care of my VW beetle when I was in college...
Now DIY is not as simple but I still need to watch my money!