We have all been there. A burned-out car light. We know it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re in a tight parking spot and can’t see, it can be annoying, to say the least. So the first thing we want to do is ask ourselves, “do I need to disconnect the car battery to change the headlight bulb?“
Should You Disconnect the Car Battery To Change Headlight Bulb?
Always disconnect the battery when replacing a blown headlight bulb.
When it comes to the bulbs, headlights are connected to your vehicle’s electrical system.
The alternator will recharge the battery while it pulls power from the battery.
You need to open the hood and remove the battery. The battery connects to the headlights, so if you disconnect the battery, you only need to remove one nut (sometimes two).
You will then see three wires connected to a harness — usually plastic or rubber. You may have to cut them off when replacing your headlight bulb.
- PHILIPS – Philips H11 Standard Halogen Replacement Headlight Bulb, 2 Pack
- Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT Automotive and LTV Battery
How To Disconnect Car Battery?
Disconnecting the battery in your car can be necessary to replace a faulty alternator or starter. You can also disconnect it if you need to change a fuse or perform another task that requires power to be cut to the electrical system.
Before disconnecting the battery, you need to know what type of battery is in your car and how long it will take for the computer systems in your car to reset after the battery has been reconnected.
Locate your car’s battery. The location of the battery varies by make and model of vehicle. In some cars, it’s under a cover in the trunk, and in others, it’s under the hood behind a protective cover on one side of the engine compartment.
If you’re not sure where your car’s battery is located, consult your owner’s manual, which should have instructions for finding it as well as information about its type and specifications.
Disconnecting your car battery
To disconnect your car’s battery, use a wrench to loosen and disconnect the negative terminal clamp. Then, loosen and remove the positive terminal clamp. Once you’ve completed these steps, cover the battery terminals with plastic covers to insulate them from touching anything metal.
If your car battery is leaking or corroded, you’ll need to clean it up before you disconnect it. To do this, use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub the corrosion off the battery clamps and posts. Then, rinse off any residue with water before disconnecting the battery.
Mistakes to Avoid When Changing a Headlight Bulb
Wrong Bulb Size
Headlight bulbs come in a variety of sizes.
If replacing your headlight bulb, you’ll need to choose the right size for your car.
The bigger a product is, the less likely it is to fit.
If it fits you, it may be a bit loose once installed.
You can find the right size of a bulb by removing the old bulb and matching it with a new bulb of the same size.
Not Disconnecting the Battery
As we already said, you should always disconnect the battery when changing a headlight bulb.
It’s very important to disconnect the battery when performing any electrical work on your vehicle. You could end up causing serious damage to your car if you’re not careful.
You don’t need to remove the battery. You just need to disconnect the ground wire (the black wire) when you are finished replacing the blown headlight bulb.
Keep your hands away from the new headlight bulb until it’s time to remove it from the socket.
Why is this a problem, exactly? Most headlight bulbs are halogen bulbs.
Your bare hands could be transferring oil to your new headlight bulb. You might want to wash your hands before touching it!
After we touched it, the bulb burned less evenly. It heated up more in the areas where we touched it, which caused 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.
If the housing is damaged, it can lead to the settling of moisture in the area, which results in an inferior-quality bulb.
Not Looking at the Clips
Most vehicles have clips for their headlight bulbs. After accessing the housing, you should see a clip or two holding them in place.
Use the following clip to replace your headlight.
You’ll need to remove the old bulb from the clips. You can then secure the new bulb in place with the same clips.
Headlights are designed to secure and hold light bulbs in place so that they don’t sway around.
How To Replace A Headlight Bulb?
As with most automotive maintenance tasks, there are varying levels of difficulty when it comes to replacing a headlight bulb. If a headlight is bulging or cracked, you’ll need to replace the entire headlight assembly, which can be quite expensive.
If your car is relatively new and you have access to the back of the headlight, then you may only have to replace the bulb itself without much trouble.
In addition to having access to the back of the light, you need to make sure that your car is not equipped with xenon headlights — otherwise known as HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights.
These types of bulbs can be damaged if you touch them with bare hands because they are highly sensitive to oil on the skin. Most newer cars are equipped with HID headlights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Replace My Own Headlight?
Fortunately, it’s easy to change the headlight on your car.
Halogen HID and LED bulbs have been around for a long time, but they’re becoming more difficult to find.
They are held in place by thin wire clips or rotating bayonet-style retainers
How To Change Car Headlight Bulb Toyota Corolla
If you’re new to working on cars, changing the headlight bulb can seem a little intimidating. The good news is that with most vehicles, it’s not difficult at all.
The first thing you’ll need to do is locate the back of the headlight assembly. This is usually located underneath the hood and behind the grill.
After you’ve found it, look for a tab (usually shaped like a circle) or screw on either side of the assembly. Use your hand or a flathead screwdriver to press or unscrew this tab until the assembly comes loose. Then gently pull it out of the car and set it down somewhere safe.
Once you have the headlight assembly out, reach inside and remove the old headlight bulb by turning it counter-clockwise and pulling it straight out. If you’re feeling resistance while turning, double check to make sure that you’re only unscrewing and not pressing inward as well.
How To Replace Headlight Assembly
If the light source is the problem, replacing a headlight bulb is easy. First, you find the right one for your vehicle by searching for “headlight replacement” or “headlight bulb replacement” on AutoZone.com and entering your vehicle details. You’ll also need a pair of gloves and protective eyewear to avoid accidentally touching the glass or bulb.
Find the headlight assembly under the hood, then remove it. Depending on your year, make and model, you may need to remove components like a battery or an air box before accessing it. Check your repair manual to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Find the retaining clips holding the lens in place and remove them with a screwdriver or another tool. Pull out the old light bulb by grasping its base and turning it counterclockwise to unlock it from its socket. Replace it with your new bulb and put everything back together in reverse order of removal.
A word about LED headlights: While LED lights are brighter than traditional halogen bulbs, they are not necessarily more effective in terms of overall illumination on the road. The key is getting enough light to illuminate objects on the side of the road while maintaining a bright enough beam.
Do You Need To Disconnect Battery To Change Brake Light?
Yes, it should be disconnected. The brake light switch is almost always grounded through the cars body. If you don’t disconnect the battery, you could ground yourself to the car every time you touch anything metal on the car. This can cause a spark which can ignite any hydrogen that is coming off of your car battery.
Should I Disconnect Battery Before Changing Hid Bulb
If you have an aftermarket HID kit, don’t worry about disconnecting the battery. An HID kit is a plug-and-play device that does not require any special wiring or connection to the car’s electrical system.
If you are putting in new bulbs, it would be a good idea to disconnect the battery since there is always a chance that you could create a short with the metal parts of the bulb and the car’s chassis – although If the car’s headlight is switched off, there will be no power going through the HID bulb and you can safely change it without disconnecting the battery.
As a recap of the answer we gave to the question, Do I Need To Disconnect Car Battery To Change Headlight Bulb?
In short, yes, remove the battery.
Thanks for reading.
Joe lives and breathes cars and trucks. After many years working in the Auto industry, he decided that it is only right to share his knowledge with the public. As a qualified expert in trucks and cars, he started working for Truckile.com and is the main editor and publisher.