Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: replace head light

asked by on

can't get light assy out

My car has 120000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

To replace the Low Beam headlight bulb on the Driver Side of the vehicle, you’ll need the following tools: a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a pair of needle nose pliers and a flathead screwdriver. To replace the Low Beam headlight bulb on the Passenger Side of the SUV, you’ll need the following tools: a Torx T-25 star bit screwdriver, a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a pair of needle nose pliers and a flathead screwdriver. If you need to replace any of the other bulbs, it would be best to partially detach the front bumper cover in order to remove the headlight housing. (You may be able to reach the high beam bulbs with out entirely removing the headlight.) To separate the headlight assembly from the vehicle, you’ll need the following tools: a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench, a 7mm socket, a flathead screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers.

Spin Out 10mm Bolt

Washer Fluid Bolt Removed

Pull Out Pop Rivet Fastener

To access the Low Beam headlight bulb on the Driver Side, first remove the single 10mm bolt holding the window washer fluid bottle in place to the front of the engine bay frame. Set the bolt aside in a safe place. Then remove the black plastic friction fastener, which holds two rubber tubes in place, by using a pair of needle nose pliers or pry it out with a flathead screwdriver.

Pull Back Rubber Cover

1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise

Remove Old Low Beam Bulb

Pull back the rubber cover to access the old low beam headlight bulb. Rotate the base of the old bulb 1/4 turn counter clockwise and pull it straight out of the headlight housing.

Press Release Button

Disconnect Power Plug

Philips H11 LL 12V 55W

Press down the release tab on the black plastic electrical connector before pulling it straight off the base of the old low beam bulb. Try to avoid touching the glass part of the new halogen H11 low beam bulb with your fingers or anything greasy in the engine bay. If you do get the bulb dirty, wipe it clean with an alcohol moistened paper towel.

Push On Power Plug

Insert New Low Beam Bulb

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock

Push the electrical connector on to the base of the new low beam bulb until it clicks securely in to place. Insert the new low beam bulb in to the headlight housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it in place.

Tighten 10mm Bottle Bolt

Test Driver Side Low Beam

Passenger Side Headlight

Close the rubber flap to cover the low beam bulb and push in the pop rivet friction fastener with the loop that holds the two thin rubber hoses in place. Re-insert the 10mm bolt to secure the windshield washer fluid bottle in place and tighten it in the clockwise direction. If you need to replace the High Beam bulb on the Driver Side, scroll down to my pictures of the procedure done on the passenger side headlight. It involves removing the two 10mm upper headlight bolts in order to slightly pull out the top of the housing and make enough room to reach the high beam bulb.


At this point in the tutorial, we are going to move over to the Passenger Side Headlight. First, I’ll show you how to replace either the Low Beam or High Beam bulb by removing the engine air filter box. Then we’ll entirely remove the headlight assembly in order to reach the Turn Signal, DRL (daytime running light) and Front Side Marker light bulbs.

Engine Air Filter Box

Loosen Torx T25 Screws

T-25 Screw Removed

To access the Low Beam and High Beam bulbs in the Passenger Side headlight housing, you’ll need to remove the engine air filter box. Remove the four screws that hold the top half of the air box in place by turning them counter clockwise with the Torx T-25 star bit screwdriver.

Loosen Counter Clockwise

Screw Near Intake Hose

Remove 4th T25 Screw

There is one Torx T25 screw at each of the four corners of the air box.

4 Air Box Screws Removed

Pull Off Top of Air Box

Engine Air Filter Exposed

Set the four air box screws aside in a safe place. Lift up the top half of the air box to expose the engine air filter.

Remove Engine Air Filter

Pull Out Bottom Half Box

Air Box Lower Half Removed

Remove the engine air filter and set it aside in a safe place. You may want to clean it with a wet/dry shop vacuum while you have it out. Firmly pull out the bottom half of the air box from the engine bay. The lower half of the air box is held in place by a few plastic pegs on the underside of the box that insert in to rubber grommets and act as friction fasteners.

Rubber Flap Cover

Pry Out Pop Rivet Fastener

Remove Fastener With Pliers

Once the lower half of the air box has been removed, you’ll see the black rubber flap that covers the back side of the headlight housing. Pry out the black plastic pop rivet friction fastener that is closest to the center line of the SUV with a flathead screwdriver or use the needle nose pliers.

Pull Back Rubber Cover

Old Low Beam Bulb

Too Tight To Remove

Pull back the rubber cover and you’ll see the green/black base of the old low beam bulb. Since there isn’t enough room to rotate the low beam bulb and remove it, we’ll need to remove two bolts on the top of the headlight housing.

Remove 10mm Bolt

10mm Top Headlight Bolt

Remove Horizontal 10mm

Remove the vertically mounted bolt on the top of the headlight housing by turning it counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Then remove the horizontally mounted bolt on the top of the headlight housing closer to the center of the vehicle by turning it counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Set the two 10mm bolts aside in a safe place.

2nd Top Bolt Removed

Slightly Pull Out Headlight

More Room By Low Beam

Gently pull the top of the headlight housing an inch or two away from the front of the SUV. Now there should be enough room in the back of the headlight to access the low beam bulb.

1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise

Remove Old Low Beam

Press Plug Release Tab

Rotate the base of the old low beam bulb 1/4 turn counter clockwise and pull it straight out of the headlight housing.

Remove Electrical Connector

Philips H11 12V 55W

Low Beam Bulb Socket

Press down the release tab on the electrical connector and slide the plug straight off the base of the old bulb. Try to avoid touching the glass part of the new halogen bulb with your fingers or anything greasy in the engine bay. If you do get the bulb dirty, wipe it clean with an alcohol moistened paper towel.

Push Plug On New Bulb

Insert New Low Beam Bulb

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock

Push the power plug on to the base of the new H11 low beam bulb. Insert the bulb in to the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to secure it in place.

High Beam - Inner Edge

Old High Beam Bulb

1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise

The High Beam bulb is located near the inner edge of the headlight housing. With the two upper headlight bolts removed and the housing pulled forward a bit, you should be able to access the old high beam bulb. Rotate the black plastic base of the old high beam bulb 1/4 turn counter clockwise.

Remove Old High Beam Bulb

Pry Up Retaining Clip

Disconnect Power Plug

Pull the old high beam bulb straight out of the socket. Gently pry up the retaining clip on the power plug before sliding it straight off the base of the old bulb.

Philips 9005 LL 12V 60W

Push On Power Plug

Insert New High Beam Bulb

Try to avoid touching the glass part of the new halogen 9005 high beam bulb with your fingers or anything greasy inside the engine bay. If you do get the bulb dirty, wipe it clean with an alcohol moistened paper towel. Push the power plug on to the base of the new high beam bulb until it clicks securely in to place.

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock

Test New Low Beam Bulb

Test New High Beam Bulb

Insert the new high beam bulb in to the socket and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it in place. If you are done changing bulbs, replace the two 10mm upper headlight bolts, re-insert the rubber flap’s pop rivet and replace the engine air filter box. (Detailed pictures of the preceding steps are included near the bottom of this page.)


If you need to change the Front Turn Signal, the DRL (daytime running lamp) or the Front Side Marker light bulbs, continue with the following steps.

Turn Signal & DRL Bulbs

Turn Front Wheels

Wheel Well Liner

Turn the steering wheel all the way in the opposite direction of the headlight housing with the burnt out bulb to make extra room in the wheel well.

Remove 10mm Bolts

Bumper Cover Bolt Removed

Remove Fascia Bolts

Remove the two 10mm bolts on the top of the headlight housing as shown previously in Picture 37 and Picture 39. The outer bolt is mounted vertically and the inner bolt is mounted horizontally. Then remove the three bolts along the top of the front bumper cover and fascia (or "grille") by turning them counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

10mm Bolt Near Center

Five 10mm Bolts - 4 Torx T25

Remove 7mm Screw

Set the five 10mm bolts aside in a safe place. (I also had 4 Torx T25 screws at this point from when I previously took out the engine air filter box. Removing the air box is not necessary if you are taking out the headlight assembly to access all of the bulbs.) Move to the front of the wheel well liner or "splash guard" and remove the upper screw by turning it counter clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Turn Counter Clockwise

Plastic Pop Rivet Fasteners

Pry Out Center of Fastener

Remove the two part black plastic fastener by first prying out the smaller center piece with a flathead screwdriver and then remove the larger outer piece with the needle nose pliers.

Center Piece Removed

Remove Outer Piece

Pry Out Pop Rivets

Then remove the two black plastic pop rivet or "Christmas Tree" friction fasteners just in front of the tire by prying them out with the flathead screwdriver.

You may need to use the needle nose pliers to remove the two pop rivets once they have been loosened.

Remove Lower 7mm Screw

Splash Guard Screw Removed

14 Fasteners Removed

Remove the screw at the bottom of the wheel well liner by turning it counter clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Pull Back Wheel Well Liner

Lower 10mm Headlight Bolt

Bumper Cover Bracket

Pull back the plastic wheel well liner. Locate the rear headlight bolt which faces in towards the center of the SUV. Locate the two bolts on the black plastic bracket that holds the plastic bumper cover to the metal quarter panel.

Loosen 10mm Bolt

Remove Lower Headlight Bolt

Remove 10mm Bolts

Loosen the rear headlight bolt by turning it counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Bumper Cover to Quarter Panel

Loosen 2nd 10mm Bolt

Plastic Bracket Removed

Remove the two bolts that hold the black plastic bracket in place by turning them counter clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Set the two bolts and the plastic bracket aside in a safe place.

Bracket & Two 10mm Bolts

Gently Push Down Front Bumper

Pull Out Headlight Housing

Now you can gently push the front bumper cover slightly down and pull it away from the headlight housing. Very carefully begin pulling the headlight assembly away from the vehicle. You may want to place a towel on the bumper or cover it with painter’s tape to prevent from scratching the painted surfaces or the plastic headlight lens.

Headlight Partially Removed

Turn Over Headlight Assembly

Low Beam Bulb

It is not necessary to completely remove the headlight housing in order to change any of the bulbs. You can reach in behind the headlight and access any of the bulb sockets. I pulled the headlight assembly entirely out of the car to make it easier to illustrate the bulb replacement procedure.

High Beam Bulb

1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise

Turn Signal Light Bulb

The Turn Signal and DRL bulb sockets are located near the bottom of the headlight housing. Rotate the tan and black plastic turn signal bulb socket 1/4 turn counter clockwise and pull it straight out of the housing.

Pull Out Old # 3157AK

Re-Insert Bulb Socket

DRL Bulb Socket

Pull the old turn signal bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new amber colored number 3157AK or 3157NA bulb. The bulbs are available from manufacturers such as Sylvania, Wagner, PIAA, Eiko and GE. Turn the black plastic DRL (daytime running lamp) bulb socket 1/4 turn counter clockwise and pull it straight out of the housing.

1/4 Turn Counter Clockwise

Pull Out Old # 3157K Bulb

Re-Insert DRL Socket

Pull the old DRL bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new number 3157 or 3157K bulb. Re-insert the DRL bulb socket in to the housing and rotate it 1/4 turn clockwise to lock it in place. The small Front Side Marker bulb socket is located at the outer edge of the headlight housing next to the turn signal. Rotate the small socket 1/4 turn counter clockwise before removing it. Pull the old side marker bulb straight out of the socket and push in a new number 194 bulb. You may also use any other miniature wedge base bulbs such as the # 168, 175, W5W, 2825 or a brighter LED unit.

1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock

Plastic Pegs & Metal Holes

Re-Insert Headlight Housing

Re-insert the headlight housing in to the front bumper with the plastic pegs on the outer edge lined up with the corresponding holes in the metal body work.

Gently Push In Headlight

Slide Headlight In Place

Re-Insert Top 10mm Bolt

Slide the headlight housing back in to place and line up the two bolt holes on the top with their corresponding holes in the engine bay frame. Re-insert the vertically mounted bolt at the top of the headlight and tighten it in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Re-Insert Horizontal Bolt

Spin In Rear 10mm Bolt

Tighten 10mm Clockwise

Re-insert the horizontally mounted bolt at the top of the headlight housing and tighten it. Move to the wheel well and pull back the black plastic splash guard. Re-insert the rear headlight bolt and tighten it in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench

Bumper Cover Bracket

Re-Insert Plastic Bracket

Spin In 10mm Bolts

Push the black plastic bumper cover bracket in to place with the two pegs facing up towards the metal quarter panel. Spin in the two 10mm bolts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Two 10mm Bolts

Tighten Bolts Clockwise

Bracket Re-Installed

Tighten the two bracket bolts in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Check that the outer edge of the plastic bumper cover and the metal quarter panel are flush together. If there is a gap, you may need to either tighten the two bolts a bit more or the bracket was installed incorrectly.

Push Wheel Well Liner In Place

Re-Insert 7mm Screw

Push In Pop Rivet Fastener

Push the wheel well liner back in to place. Replace the lower screw by turning it clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Push the two black plastic pop rivet or "Christmas Tree" fasteners in to place.

Push In Larger Outer Piece

Push In Smaller Inner Piece

Push the larger outer piece of the black plastic fastener in to the hole near the top of the wheel well liner and then push in the smaller inner piece to secure it in place.

Spin In Upper 7mm Screw

Tighten 7mm Screw

Splash Guard Replaced

Replace the upper screw by turning it clockwise with the 7mm socket and ratcheting wrench. Make sure that all of the wheel well liner fasteners are secure and have been replaced in the correct locations.

Replace Upper Bumper Bolt

Replace Fascia Bolt

Replace the three bolts that were removed from the top edge of the bumper cover by turning them clockwise with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Replace Inner Fascia Bolt

Tighten Bolts Clockwise

Double check that all of the headlight and bumper cover bolts are tight. If you didn’t remove the engine air box, you can stop at this point and test the new headlight bulbs.


Push In Flap Fastener

Rubber Cover Replaced

Lower Half Air Box

Push the black rubber flap over rear of the headlight back in to place and replace the pop rivet fastener.

Plastic Pegs On Bottom

Push Down In Place

Re-Insert Engine Filter

Line up the plastic pegs on the bottom of the engine air filter box with their corresponding grommets and push it down in to place. Make sure that the bottom half of the air box is securely in place within the engine bay. Re-insert the engine air filter element in to the lower half of the box with the pleats facing down and the metal mesh screen facing up towards you. (If you haven’t done so already, I’d recommend cleaning or replacing the engine air filter while you have the air box disassembled.)

Replace Top Half Air Box

Re-Insert 4 Torx Screws

Lower the top half of the air box down in to place. Re-insert the four air box screws and tighten them in the clockwise direction with the Torx T-25 screwdriver.

Tighten T25 Clockwise

Air Box Re-Assembled

Test New Headlight Bulbs

Check that the two halves of the air box are flush together all the way around with no part of the filter visible. Test the new bulbs by turning on the parking lights, switching on the headlights, flashing the high beams and activating the hazard signals.

If you’d like, a certified Your Mechanic Technician can come to your location to replaced bulbs or assembly. Please look at this web site for more information and service options. headlamps

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: High beams stay on

Hello, thank you for writing in. Any exterior lighting fuses or relays are going to be located inside of the fuse box under the hood. There will be a black box with a removable lid. Once the lid is removed,...

Q: What does it mean if cylinder 2 and 6 are not firing and it is not the plug, plug wire, or coil because they have all been changed.

Hello. If the misfires are continuing to occur and the ignition parts are good then it may be a faulty fuel injector or an issue within the engine. I usually do a compression test first. By doing this I would...

Q: engine

Unfortunately, Your Mechanic does not perform engine replacements or engine swaps. While I'm sure it can be done with the right shop and deep enough pockets, it might be simpler to swap a V8 that was available in the Camaro...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.