A Definitive Guide To Replacing Your Car Bulbs: Headlights, Sidelights, Brake And More

A Definitive Guide To Replacing Your Car Bulbs: Headlights, Sidelights, Brake And More

When a car bulb burns out, many drivers are quick to take their vehicle to a mechanic. However, replacing car bulbs is easier than you might think, and most drivers are perfectly capable of doing it on their own.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know to replace all your car bulbs, including headlights, sidelights, brake lights and more.


Before replacing your headlights, it's always a good idea to check your vehicle's owner's manual. This will show you how to replace the headlights on your specific vehicle. It may also include helpful illustrations. Plus, the owner's manual will tell you which fitting of bulbs your vehicle requires.

Replacing headlight bulbs is essentially the same process no matter what type of vehicle you have. There are certain steps you can follow to easily remove an old bulb and install a new one:

  1. Open the bonnet or hood of your car, and prop it up.
  2. Disconnect the power connector from the back of the headlight assembly.
  3. Remove the dust cover.
  4. There may be a clip holding the bulb in place. If so, gently remove this.
  5. Find the housing of the bulb and gently pull it out.
  6. Compare the old bulb to the new one whilst still in its packaging, to ensure you have the correct fitting.
  7. Insert the new bulb in the open socket, making sure the glass part of the bulb doesn't touch anything (including your hands).
  8. If there's a clip, replace this now.
  9. Replace the dust cover.
  10. Reconnect the power connector.
  11. Turn on the car and headlights to make sure the new bulb is working. You may wish to re-align your headlights at this point - find out how to do that here.

Please note that this is a general guide. Every car is different, and some may have extra steps you will have to follow to replace your headlight bulbs.

Shop headlight bulbs here.


Sidelights are a little trickier to replace than headlight bulbs. That's because every car is designed differently. For specific instructions on how to locate and replace the sidelights in your vehicle, you should consult your owner's manual. This will also tell you which fitting you require.

In most cases, you can follow the same basic steps to replace your sidelight bulbs:

  1. Open and prop up the bonnet or hood of your car.
  2. Locate the sidelight assembly.
  3. Remove the back cover.
  4. You should be able to slide the assembly out from the front, but this may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
  5. Remove the bulb socket - this may be done by twisting it counterclockwise.
  6. Pull the bulb out gently.
  7. Insert the new bulb.
  8. Replace the socket into the assembly.
  9. Slide the assembly back into place.
  10. Replace the back cover and ensure everything is correctly in its place.
  11. Turn on the car and ensure the new bulb is working properly.

Shop sidelight bulbs here.

Brake lights

Like headlights, brake lights are fairly easy to replace on your own. They're also similar across many different vehicle makes and models, so once you know how to do it, you can confidently replace the brake lights on just about any vehicle.

Unlike with other bulbs, you may need some tools to replace your brake lights. Some brake light assemblies require a socket wrench to remove. Others are accessible through the inside of the vehicle. Look around your vehicle and consult your owner's manual to determine how you can access the lights. Either way, you should still be able to replace your brake light bulb fairly easily following these steps:

  1. Open the bonnet or hood of your vehicle.
  2. If you can access the assembly easily from the inside of the vehicle, skip to step 5.
  3. If you can't get to the assembly from the inside, you'll need to locate and unscrew the mounting bolts holding the assembly in place. This will require a wrench.
  4. Remove the tail light lens cover.
  5. Locate the brake light socket. Unscrew the bulb socket by turning it counter-clockwise.
  6. Remove the old bulb by gently pulling it out.
  7. Insert the new bulb.
  8. Mount the brake light socket and turn it clockwise.
  9. Test to make sure the new bulb works - have someone else get in the car, turn it on, and press the brake pedal.
  10. If you removed it earlier, you will now replace the tail light lens cover and mounting bolts.

Shop brake light bulbs here.

Other lights

Through the most important lights on your vehicle are the headlights, brake lights and sidelights, you may find you need to replace other lights. Often, these are interior lights, which are usually fairly easy to replace.

When replacing interior bulbs, there are typically only two steps - removing the lighting cover and change the bulb. In some cases, you may need a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the cover. Other covers can be popped off using a flathead screwdriver. The bulb can then be changed easily by unscrewing the old bulb and inserting the new one.

Shop LED interior lights here.