How To Replace A Headlight Assembly Damaged In An Accident

The first snows of winter are often the hardest to drive in as people get used to slippery roads and icy parking lots. Invariably, a lot of drivers will damage their cars when they slide into poles, snow piles, and other cars. If you end sliding into something and breaking your headlamp assembly, you need to replace as quickly as possible so you have both headlights working as you drive at night. Here is how you can replace the headlight assembly on a typical automobile.

Remove Headlight

Open the hood and locate mounting bolts on the back and sides of the headlight assembly – there are usually only two or three bolts.  Remove the bolts.

Disconnect the wire harness from the headlight.

Pull the headlight out of the car.

Remove Wiper

If your headlight assembly has a wiper on it, it might need to be removed before you can pull the assembly off of the car. The bolt holding the wiper in place is located inside a rubber boot at the base of the wiper arm.

Take a small flathead screwdriver and slip it under the edge of the boot. Pry the boot up until the bolt is exposed. Use a ratchet to unscrew and remove the bolt.

The wiper might be sticky and may not slide off the wiper shaft easily. In this case, gently wiggle the wiper back and forth until it slides up off the shaft.

Replace Headlight

Slide the new headlight assembly into position and bolt it in place.

Reconnect the wire harness.

Replace the wiper.

Adjust Headlight

You have to adjust the headlight so light beam aims in the proper direction. Headlight beams should point down slightly and shine directly over the road in front of you so can see the road well and so the beam doesn't shine in the eyes of drivers on the opposite side of the road coming at you at night.

There is a screw at the top of the assembly you twist to raise and lower the headlight beam and another screw on the fender side of the assembly to move the beam to the left or right.

Park the car on a flat surface facing a flat wall. The exact distance you should be away from the wall varies, and you should follow manufacturer's recommendations. You can call a car dealer to get this information from their service department.

Adjust the side screw on the headlight assembly until the beam points directly at the wall. Use the top screw to make sure the beam points slightly downward so it'll partially light up the road in front of you as you drive at night. You can also take your car to a body shop like Widrick Auto Sales.