When do you need a headlight bulb replacement?

Your car’s headlight bulb(s) may need replacing if:
  • One or both bulbs is flickering or dim
  • One or both bulbs is dead
The bulb is just one part of your car’s lighting system. The following components work together to light the road in front of you, including the:
  • Switch
  • Relay
  • Fuse
  • Wiring
  • Socket
  • Bulb housing
If all your car needs is a new bulb, you can usually replace it yourself. If a new bulb doesn’t fix the issue or you’re not sure how to replace it on your own, take your car to a skilled mechanic to have the issue resolved before you get stuck driving at night with no headlights.

How to replace a headlight bulb

In a headlight bulb replacement, the mechanic will:
  • Test the electrical lighting system to ensure the bulb is causing the issue
  • Access the bulb by popping the hood, if necessary
  • Carefully unscrew the faulty bulb
  • Inspect the socket and bulb housing
  • Install a new bulb
  • Run the vehicle to make sure the new bulb illuminates correctly
Pro Tip: Have both bulbs replaced, even if just one is acting up. That way, you won’t have to take the car in an extra time when the second one gives out before the first one needs replacing again.

Tips for a headlight bulb replacement

This service can be unnecessarily expensive due to labor costs. The bulb itself doesn’t cost a lot of money, so it may be worth it to try to replace the bulb yourself before bringing the car to a shop.
You’ll also want to make sure that a dirty lens or bulb housing isn’t to blame. There’s a chance that your bulb is working fine but a dirty lens is preventing the light from shining through. Try cleaning out the dirt and grime from your headlight lens and see if your visibility improves.
If you’ve tried replacing your bulbs one or more times and the issue reoccurs, though, it’s time to get professional help.

Bulb types

Different car models use a variety of bulb types, including incandescent, LED, HID, and sealed beam. Your owner’s manual will probably indicate which type is in your vehicle.
However, some cars can operate with multiple bulb types. A mechanic can look up your VIN to determine which bulb needs to be installed. If you’re interested in becoming more energy-efficient, ask the mechanic if you can switch to LED bulbs if your car doesn’t use them already.

Find affordable car insurance

Taking your car to the shop for a special appointment can be a pain—just like shopping for car insurance. While Jerry can’t tell you whether your bulb or bulb socket needs replacing, we can make finding affordable car insurance easier than ever.
All it takes is a 45-second sign-up and you’ll have access to up to 50 competitive quotes from top providers. Just review your options, select the one you like best, and Jerry will do all the heavy lifting to get you switched over—including helping to cancel your old policy.
Why do all the extra work when Jerry can do it for you?
“As the owner of a sports car and high-end sedan, I couldn’t find quotes below a certain threshold. By using Jerry, I managed to find comprehensive coverage on both vehicles and am now saving $150 a month!” —Channing Y.