Your vehicle's headlights are critically important. Without them driving would be an unnecessarily dangerous challenge. In some states, you're required to drive with your headlights on if it's raining or foggy, even in the middle of the day. So when one of your headlight bulbs burns out, you should replace it immediately. With one headlight , you're not only driving with reduced visibility, which is a safety hazard, but your car will also fail state inspection and you run the risk of getting a ticket.

If you have an older car, you probably have sealed beam lamps which were common until the 1980s. They were often rectangular or seven inch round units and were essentially large light bulbs. To replace them, you usually need to remove a piece of trim, possibly even the grill, as well as whatever bolts or screws that secure the entire headlamp to the headlight bucket.

Modern cars usually have separate bulbs and lenses. If you have a lens that's broken, you'll need to replace that as well as any burned out bulb. Removal differs by make and manufacturer, but often, you'll pop the hood of your car and access the bulb from inside the engine compartment. You'll probably have to pull off a protective rubber boot and a retaining clip before you can unplug the bulb from the connector, and with this type of headlight, it's extremely important not to touch the bulb glass with your bare hands if at all possible because the oil from your skin can cause the bulb to burn out prematurely.

It's usually best to replace headlight bulbs in pairs, even if one is still working, because chances are it's in similar condition to the burned out bulb and may not have much life left in it. Another reason to replace headlights in pairs is that the older bulbs will have aged and replacing only the burned out bulb will lead to uneven illumination. It's also a good idea to hang onto the good bulb as an emergency spare. (Warning: Make sure that if you were driving with the good headlight turned on, that you give it a few minutes to cool before attempting to remove it.)

Finally, pay close attention to the replacement bulbs you're purchasing. Just because a bulb is the same size and will fit in the headlight socket doesn't mean it's a correct match for your original bulb. Check your owner's manual or with the parts counterperson, if you're not sure what kind of bulbs you need.

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