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How Do I Know What Kind of Headlight I Need?

Lighting - by Joe Weber - updated on 1/19/2023

Man with dog in front of a vehicle with the headlines on

It's easy to forget about your vehicle's headlights until it's too late and burns out in an inconvenient time and place. All headlights have an average lifespan and should be replaced before they burn out so don't get stranded in an unlit area with only one or no working headlights. Added bonus, you can get a citation for not having properly functional headlights. Save yourself the trouble and replace your headlights early.

What Headlight Bulb Do I Need?

There are a few ways to find the bulb that your vehicle uses.

  1. Remove and look at the headlight to see which part number is listed. Depending on the vehicle make and model, this can be a quick and painless task while some vehicles require a greater amount of time and effort to remove the lightbulb.
  2. Check the vehicle manual. There should be a reference to the specific bulb required for your vehicle.
  3. Head over to and use our helpful car and truck bulb fitment finder to see all of the automotive bulbs specific to your vehicle.

How Often Should I Replace My Headlights?

Like most car parts headlights wear down over time, just like your tires, brakes, windshield wiper and many other parts. The type of headlight bulb that is used can have a large impact on the lifespan of the headlights. For more information on each of these headlight types, read our blog "How to Find the Right Headlight Bulb For Your Car or Truck".

Headlight Technology Average Life
Halogen 500 - 1000 Hours
Xenon 10,000 Hours
HID 2,000 Hours
LED 30,000 Hours

Your experience may vary as these are just estimates. Many things can contribute to a shorter life. It is important to add headlights to your regular vehicle maintenance routine to maximize your visibility during your darkest drives. Before burning out, headlights can indeed dim as they age. Nearing the end of your headlights life, they can lose up to 50 feet of visibility. This is just one more reason to add headlights to your maintenance plan.

From The Experts

Halogen bulbs do tend to have a lower-rated lifespan; however, in a report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute  , the average driver uses their low-beam headlights only around 100 hours per year. 500 hours doesn't seem so low after that.

How Do I Change My Headlight Bulb?

This procedure is pretty simple for most vehicles; however, if you feel at all uncomfortable completing this, you should leave it to the experts.

Have Someone Else Do It

If you are not mechanically inclined and don't want to do it yourself you can take your car or truck to any automotive service center to have your headlights replaced. Be aware that you may have to pay a labor charge to have it done by a mechanic.

Do It Yourself

Instructions on how to replace your headlight bulbs can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual.

There are also many online resources available to you if you are not sure how to replace the headlights in your car. CARCAREKIOSK   is a valuable resource for any "do it yourself" individual. Just enter your vehicle year, make and model and select the repair that you're doing; in this case a headlight replacement. They will provide you with step-by-step videos to guide you through replacing your headlight using your specific vehicle in the video.

When replacing headlight bulbs yourself, it is extremely important to never touch the glass of the bulb with your bare hands. Doing so can result in early failure of the lightbulb forcing you to replace them more often than you should.

How Do I Aim My Headlights?

Your headlights need to be adjusted so they are pointing in the right directions and aimed to provide the best angle of light for optimal visibility. This is not something that needs to be done often but you should know how to complete this if it needs to be done. In How to Adjust and Align Your Headlights we walk you through the process so you are ready to tackle this small project when you need to.

Where Can I Go to Get Replacement Headlight Bulbs?

Visit us online or stop into your local Batteries Plus to see our extensive selection of automotive light bulbs. We carry every type of lightbulb that your car or truck needs from headlights and brake lights to interior lights. Stop in today to see how we can help you with all of your automotive lighting needs.

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