You’re driving along at night and notice that the road ahead of your is not illuminated as brightly as you are used to. So, you pull over and check your headlights. Unfortunately, one of them is out. While you may want to continue driving home, you are likely wondering if it is illegal or not. Learn about the law and changing your headlights.
Is It Illegal?
The answer to this varies from state to state. However, the short answer is yes. Most states require that you have two functional headlights and that you continue to use them from sunset to sunrise. If one of them is out, you could be pulled over and given a ticket. You may be able to talk your way out of it by saying that you just noticed, but it is not a good idea to continue driving more than you must without a non-functioning headlight.
Furthermore, it is dangerous to have a headlight out. Even ignoring the fact that other drivers will have a harder time seeing your vehicle, you will also have a harder time seeing the road. In short, it is a good idea to fix the problem quickly. The good news is that you can do it yourself at relatively little expense.
Changing a headlight bulb is easy on many cars. The process depends on the make and model, so you should consult your vehicle’s service manual before starting. However, the general steps are the following:
- Open the engine bay.
- Locate the headlight bulb. There may be two per side: one for the high beams and one for the regular headlights.
- From behind the headlight, rotate the assembly with the connector cable.
- Remove the headlight bulb from the cable.
- Wearing gloves, place the new bulb in the assembly.
- Screw everything back into place.
- Check that the headlight is now working
Some vehicles have sealed headlights. These have to be changed in their entirety. However, the process is similar. You will find the headlight, loosen the screws holding it in place and pull the light assembly out. Then, replace the entire light assembly with the new one and put everything back in place.
Finding the Right Headlights
One of the challenges of changing your headlights can be finding the right parts. To do this easily, check out your favorite auto parts store’s website. Some such as AutoZone have free VIN lookup tools. This will give you the exact headlights or bulbs that need to be used on your vehicle. You can also often look it up with the year, make and model of your car or truck.
Changing your headlights is easy and necessary. It can save you from a ticket and also help you stay safe out on the roads.
Better yet, once you learn how to take care of your vehicle, you can cut your maintenance costs and enjoy a better ownership experience. Doing your own vehicle work is fun and rewarding. Get started today by ordering your new headlight bulbs and necessary tools.