Headlights are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They provide safety, comfort and entertainment to you and others around you. If they don’t work properly or if there’s some problem with them, it could cause accidents and even death. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to make sure that headlights will perform their function correctly from time to time without causing any problems for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for a DIY guide on how to do your own headlight restoration, then you’ve come to the right place!
The first thing that needs to be understood is that headlights are not just simple pieces of metal. There are actually several different types of lights used in cars: high beams, low beams, turn signals and taillights. Each type works differently depending upon what kind of traffic conditions exist at the time.
In order to get the best possible performance out of your headlights, you need to understand exactly which part of the light bulb is responsible for each function. For example, when driving at night, your high beams are designed to illuminate other vehicles ahead of you so that they won’t run into yours.
In contrast, your low beams are designed to light up the road immediately in front of your car so that you can see any dangers in the road, such as potholes or fallen branches. Finally, although many people don’t know this, your turn signals actually use a different kind of bulb that flashes on and off really fast so that other drivers will know what you intend to do.
As you can see, each light bulb fulfills a different function and depending on what type of traffic you’re encountering, your headlights will need to turn on the correct lights at the right time in order to keep you safe. For the most part, this process is handled automatically by a computer chip that is sensitive to changes in velocity and other important factors.
The computer knows when to turn on your high beams versus your low beams depending on what is happening at the present time. For example, if you happen to be driving on an open road with no other vehicles around, it will automatically turn off your high beams since they aren’t needed at that point in time.
However, if another vehicle is detected on your path ahead, the computer will turn on your high beams so that you have an unobstructed view of the road in front of you. There are also sensors that can tell when you’re signaling a turn or changing lanes and will automatically turn on your turn signal lights at the appropriate time.
Of course, all of this technology requires electricity in order to work properly, which means that the battery will drain more quickly than normal. To prevent this from happening, the computer will automatically turn on all of your car’s lights when you start the engine and turn them off shortly after you turn the engine off.
So now that you have a basic understanding of how car lights work, here are the steps you can take to restore or replace your own headlights…
* Car jack and/or tire iron (for removing wheel)
* New headlight bulb (check your owner’s manual for the correct type)
* Set of Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
Step 1: Park your car on a level surface and pop the hood. Locate the black plastic cover over your engine, then use a screwdriver to remove the screws around its perimeter. Set the screws aside in a safe place. Now remove the cover and set it aside as well. You should be looking at a lot of belts and moving parts.
Tip: Be careful when removing the plastic cover not to bump into or move any of the exposed parts, as even the tiniest nudge can send your car careening out of control.
Step 2: Once you’ve studied the layout, locate the large rubber belt on the side of your engine. It is probably covered in dirt, dust and grime so it might be hard to tell what it is exactly. Just look for the thickest, widest belt and you can’t miss it. It may have a cover on it, but that should be off to the side.
Step 3: Locate the headlights switch near the steering column. It will most likely be a dial of some sort with a “H” on one side and an “L” on the other. Turn the dial fully to the “H” position, which will turn the headlights on. If your headlights don’t turn on, then you will need to call a tow truck or bring your car to a professional.
Step 4: Use your screwdriver to remove the screws holding the headlight housing in place. There will be one at the bottom and two on top. After removing all three, carefully pull the headlight housing away from the front end of your vehicle. Take note of any wire harnesses that may still be attached. Set the headlight housing aside.
Step 5: Once you have access to the old bulb, remove the wire harness locking mechanism by pulling it upwards. Now pull the old bulb straight out of its socket (it helps to use a flathead screwdriver to pry against the edge of the socket). Discard the old bulb and replace it with a new one.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The Harpy Eagle: biology, restoration and hacking procedures (A Muela, R Watson, B Mutch, W Heinrich… – … -Panamá. Ciudad de …, 2003 – globalraptors.org)
- Automatic headlight dimmer system (WC Keeran – US Patent 3,177,397, 1965 – Google Patents)
- Isles of Amnesia: The History, Geography, and Restoration of America’s Forgotten Pacific Islands (MJ Rauzon – 2016 – books.google.com)
- A Technique for Hair‐Grafting in Between Existing Follicles in Patients with Early Pattern Baldness (DA Brandy – Dermatologic surgery, 2000 – Wiley Online Library)