How to buy and change car headlight bulb?

40
Posted 15th Dec 2019
Can anyone tell me a decent bulb to buy for my car headlight as I am hopeless with cars and just know how to turn them on?

Mercedes A160, 2009 reg, left bottom headlight. Its just gone today but even when it goes to garage they always have problems fitting the lightbulb and charges too much for it so thought I would try myself - just in case I get a lucky break???
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autobulbsdirect.co.uk/

Look on YouTube for fitting instructions if you don't have a Haynes manual.

Some headlight bulbs can be fiddly but it's worth knowing how to do it yourself.
Not sure on the specific of that model but I usually get Halfords to do it. They don’t charge much and their fitters seem to know what they’re doing. I have done it myself in the past but too lazy for that these days!
I just checked and your car uses H7 for both dipped and main beam.

Do you prefer performance or long life? The performance bulbs last on average 6 months. Long life last around 4-5 years.

My recommendations:

Performance: Osram Night Breaker Laser H7 (amazon.co.uk/gp/…V7/)

Long life: Osram Ultra Life H7 (amazon.co.uk/hal…QN4)

I have the Night Breaker Laser H7 fitted to my car for dipped beam. They are very bright but still road legal! I keep a box of Ultra Life in the boot in case of emergencies.

Hope this helps?
Vichomerak15/12/2019 22:48

Not sure on the specific of that model but I usually get Halfords to do …Not sure on the specific of that model but I usually get Halfords to do it. They don’t charge much and their fitters seem to know what they’re doing. I have done it myself in the past but too lazy for that these days!


Halfords only sell GE and their own brand bulbs from what I remember. They don't sell Osram and Philips, the two leading brands. Their bulbs are also much more expensive than if you buy them from Amazon.
Watch this YouTube video

although in French, you can clearly see what needs to be done.
You'll need a little socket set for the nuts or the screwdriver like tool shown in the video (but you'll need to know the nut size for it (most will go for a small socket set like this though, got mine from Asda groceries.asda.com/pro…274
Edited by: "esar" 15th Dec 2019
I tried to do mine. Gave up after 30+ mins. Was so fiddly & tricky. Couldn't get to it.

Booked online with ATS. Cost about £10 for bulb & fitting. Took them 20 mins so worth it
If you are going to attempt this, I hope you don't have a "break" googley2!

Anyway, I haven't seen anyone mention it yet but * DON'T TOUCH THE GLASS PART OF THE NEW BULB *

Hold it with something like a cloth/rag/paper towel etc. whilst you install it. If you touch it with your skin, it can cause the bulb damage and can prematurely fail.


IS IT TRUE YOU SHOULD NOT TOUCH HALOGEN CAPSULE BULBS WITH YOUR FINGERS?
YES! You should not touch halogen capsule bulbs with your fingers. Halogen bulbs, tubes and capsules are made of quartz, rather than ordinary glass, so they can withstand the higher temperatures. If you touch the bulb with your fingers, the salts and oils from your skin will damage the bulb and cause the heat to concentrate. This can significantly reduce the life of the bulb or even worse cause it to shatter.


Good luck and take your time. Don't force things, especially when re-fitting the terminal plug. You don't want to create a bigger, more expensive job...
Vichomerak15/12/2019 22:48

Not sure on the specific of that model but I usually get Halfords to do …Not sure on the specific of that model but I usually get Halfords to do it. They don’t charge much and their fitters seem to know what they’re doing. I have done it myself in the past but too lazy for that these days!


What!!! The amount of headlights I fail for incorrect beam image because a Halfords fitter has fitted them incorrectly is too high. Come on Halfords it's only a bulb it's not rocket science.
richp15/12/2019 23:22

What!!! The amount of headlights I fail for incorrect beam …What!!! The amount of headlights I fail for incorrect beam image because a Halfords fitter has fitted them incorrectly is too high. Come on Halfords it's only a bulb it's not rocket science.


My old Focus the lights were only ever done by Halfords and never failed an MOT (which was always done at Ford dealer)
Vichomerak15/12/2019 23:39

My old Focus the lights were only ever done by Halfords and never failed …My old Focus the lights were only ever done by Halfords and never failed an MOT (which was always done at Ford dealer)


To be fair even a blind man can fit bulbs in those headlamps (easily removable) & get them right. Some vehicles you need hands of a 4 year old & the body of a contortionist to fit them & there's the good ole Renaults where you have to remove the sodding bumper to get the headlight out
Edited by: "richp" 15th Dec 2019
esar15/12/2019 23:11

Watch this YouTube video [Video] although in French, you can clearly see …Watch this YouTube video [Video] although in French, you can clearly see what needs to be done.You'll need a little socket set for the nuts or the screwdriver like tool shown in the video (but you'll need to know the nut size for it (most will go for a small socket set like this though, got mine from Asda https://groceries.asda.com/product/hand-power-tools/hyper-tough-stubby-tool-rachet-set/1000009333274


Thanks that video is enough to tell me not to bother, sure to break something etc. etc. Off to Halfords I will go.
Why on earth do you have to take a whole unit out, surely cars should be designed so the light cover can flip open and unscrew the old bulb to put in a new one? Rather cook a full course meal than attempt this.
DistortedVision15/12/2019 22:52

I just checked and your car uses H7 for both dipped and main beam. Do you …I just checked and your car uses H7 for both dipped and main beam. Do you prefer performance or long life? The performance bulbs last on average 6 months. Long life last around 4-5 years.My recommendations:Performance: Osram Night Breaker Laser H7 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07FXRDJV7/)Long life: Osram Ultra Life H7 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/halogen-headlamp-64210ULT-HCB-passenger-duobox/dp/B003A68QN4)I have the Night Breaker Laser H7 fitted to my car for dipped beam. They are very bright but still road legal! I keep a box of Ultra Life in the boot in case of emergencies.Hope this helps?


Thanks a lot, I have ordered the Long Life one as dont want this issue again in 6 months. Never knew car bulbs had such short lives. I have had the car 10 years (going soon) and maybe only changed bulbs 3 times so must be lucky then.
Phsycronix15/12/2019 23:21

If you are going to attempt this, I hope you don't have a "break" …If you are going to attempt this, I hope you don't have a "break" googley2! Anyway, I haven't seen anyone mention it yet but * DON'T TOUCH THE GLASS PART OF THE NEW BULB *Hold it with something like a cloth/rag/paper towel etc. whilst you install it. If you touch it with your skin, it can cause the bulb damage and can prematurely fail.IS IT TRUE YOU SHOULD NOT TOUCH HALOGEN CAPSULE BULBS WITH YOUR FINGERS?YES! You should not touch halogen capsule bulbs with your fingers. Halogen bulbs, tubes and capsules are made of quartz, rather than ordinary glass, so they can withstand the higher temperatures. If you touch the bulb with your fingers, the salts and oils from your skin will damage the bulb and cause the heat to concentrate. This can significantly reduce the life of the bulb or even worse cause it to shatter.Good luck and take your time. Don't force things, especially when re-fitting the terminal plug. You don't want to create a bigger, more expensive job...


Going to order the bulb (thanks for reminding me never touch it) and get someone else to fit it. Thanks
googley216/12/2019 00:47

Thanks that video is enough to tell me not to bother, sure to break …Thanks that video is enough to tell me not to bother, sure to break something etc. etc. Off to Halfords I will go.Why on earth do you have to take a whole unit out, surely cars should be designed so the light cover can flip open and unscrew the old bulb to put in a new one? Rather cook a full course meal than attempt this.


There are cars out that you can't even do that, the bumper has to come off #neverbuyingaRenaultMeganeveragain
You can't beat YouTube. The car indicator light fitting was damaged on my sons car and Halfords wanted £160 to change it. I looked on Ebay and the part I needed was only £14. It took 25 mins to change it myself
I got an '04 Clio that will need new headlights fitting as going cloudy-i bought 2 new units then looked on Youtube for a guide-yep arch liners and front bumper need removing-christ why make it such a chore-i can do it myself but blimey bumper removal to fit lights? I did have to change both dipped bulbs last week as both blew which was weird-10 mins to change em but yes small hands help.
googley216/12/2019 00:51

Thanks a lot, I have ordered the Long Life one as dont want this issue …Thanks a lot, I have ordered the Long Life one as dont want this issue again in 6 months. Never knew car bulbs had such short lives. I have had the car 10 years (going soon) and maybe only changed bulbs 3 times so must be lucky then.


OEM bulbs that manufacturers use generally have a long life. These new(ish) performance bulbs like Osram Nightbreaker and Philips X-treme have a lifespan of 6 months. The manufacturers even state it themselves on the packaging.

You really won't go wrong with Osram Ultra Life. They will probably surpass 5 years life.
Osram bulbs are the best IMO. We fit them at work and have no come backs due to faulty units, also the light is the crisp white versus the bluey type light. I have them fitted to my car now and the range is better than the GE bulbs that where fitted when new.
googley216/12/2019 00:47

Thanks that video is enough to tell me not to bother, sure to break …Thanks that video is enough to tell me not to bother, sure to break something etc. etc. Off to Halfords I will go.Why on earth do you have to take a whole unit out, surely cars should be designed so the light cover can flip open and unscrew the old bulb to put in a new one? Rather cook a full course meal than attempt this.



Bok, bok, chicken! Hehe. And there's me thinking you were brave...

I'm only kidding, googley2. If you don't feel up to the challenge then that's fair enough. It does perfectly answer your own question though. If they made it REALLY easy then folks like you would deffo do it themselves rather than return to a dealership/garage and pay to have it done. Simple marketing.

As others have rightly pointed out, some manufacturers make you pull the front of the car off to get to the bulbs! Disgusting practice really and should be outlawed. That really is a blatant aftersales tactic and there's no need for it.

I always thought 'Halfrauds' were deemed a ripoff for bulb fitting but perhaps not, going by previous comments. Looking on their site, a bulb is £8.90 (!) and "fitted" price of £16.90. I know they charge silly-money for a bulb (Ebay £2.69 for instance) but £8 to fit isn't bad to keep your hands clean and untroubled!

All the best, Phsy.
It's easy to fit - you just need small hands - they have a cover on the back that should have any easy twist of locking mechanism. Pull that off and then release the bulb as that is also locked in, pull out the old and put in the new then re-lock.
Just try it first before deciding you can't do it, it's not like you will break anything.
Bigfootpete16/12/2019 07:14

It's easy to fit - you just need small hands - they have a cover on the …It's easy to fit - you just need small hands - they have a cover on the back that should have any easy twist of locking mechanism. Pull that off and then release the bulb as that is also locked in, pull out the old and put in the new then re-lock. Just try it first before deciding you can't do it, it's not like you will break anything.


Last time I had it fitted at Halfords, they said that people do them themselves and put them in the wrong way round and it makes a difference to where the beam shines - is there a left/right or upside down way round?
bluep16/12/2019 07:46

Last time I had it fitted at Halfords, they said that people do them …Last time I had it fitted at Halfords, they said that people do them themselves and put them in the wrong way round and it makes a difference to where the beam shines - is there a left/right or upside down way round?


They will only go in one way, there is a tab on the bulb that locates them, if you get them in wrong you get a weird beam pattern & you'll dazzle the car coming towards you or blind the one your following in his rear view mirror & fail the mot with an incorrect beam pattern.
Edited by: "richp" 16th Dec 2019
richp16/12/2019 08:09

They will only go in one way, there is a tab that locates them, if you get …They will only go in one way, there is a tab that locates them, if you get them in wrong you get a weird beam pattern & you'll dazzle the car coming towards you or blind the one your following in his rear view mirror & fail the mot with an incorrect beam pattern.


Yep that’s what I mean - but you are saying it’s pretty clear which way due to the tab from the sounds of it...
Phsycronix16/12/2019 07:01

Bok, bok, chicken! Hehe. And there's me thinking you were brave...I'm …Bok, bok, chicken! Hehe. And there's me thinking you were brave...I'm only kidding, googley2. If you don't feel up to the challenge then that's fair enough. It does perfectly answer your own question though. If they made it REALLY easy then folks like you would deffo do it themselves rather than return to a dealership/garage and pay to have it done. Simple marketing.As others have rightly pointed out, some manufacturers make you pull the front of the car off to get to the bulbs! Disgusting practice really and should be outlawed. That really is a blatant aftersales tactic and there's no need for it.I always thought 'Halfrauds' were deemed a ripoff for bulb fitting but perhaps not, going by previous comments. Looking on their site, a bulb is £8.90 (!) and "fitted" price of £16.90. I know they charge silly-money for a bulb (Ebay £2.69 for instance) but £8 to fit isn't bad to keep your hands clean and untroubled!All the best, Phsy.


I do DIY myself, decorating, etc. etc. - have to being single but there is something with cars that I have a total phobia with. Unfortunately my right hand is very weak after being broken and that does affect "delicate" things. I just know I will smash what I am not suppose too if I try myself. I will change the light bulb in the ceiling though so half way there
DistortedVision16/12/2019 01:39

OEM bulbs that manufacturers use generally have a long life. These …OEM bulbs that manufacturers use generally have a long life. These new(ish) performance bulbs like Osram Nightbreaker and Philips X-treme have a lifespan of 6 months. The manufacturers even state it themselves on the packaging.You really won't go wrong with Osram Ultra Life. They will probably surpass 5 years life.


The car is going soon when I can be brave enough to find myself a new one. I just know ladies are going to be ripped off when buying a car.
googley216/12/2019 08:40

The car is going soon when I can be brave enough to find myself a new one. …The car is going soon when I can be brave enough to find myself a new one. I just know ladies are going to be ripped off when buying a car.


Just take a friend. Buy a recent copy of Glass' Guide on eBay and take it with you. They will know better than trying to rip you off.
Being forewarned is forearmed.
DistortedVision16/12/2019 08:44

Just take a friend. Buy a recent copy of Glass' Guide on eBay and take it …Just take a friend. Buy a recent copy of Glass' Guide on eBay and take it with you. They will know better than trying to rip you off.Being forewarned is forearmed.


I like that idea of Glass Guide, I will get one of them. No friend to take as not long moved to a new area so on my own. Thanks
Do you have a local car shop? If you use an independant they tend to fit them for you for free (well, mine does anyway).
googley216/12/2019 08:39

I do DIY myself, decorating, etc. etc. - have to being single but there is …I do DIY myself, decorating, etc. etc. - have to being single but there is something with cars that I have a total phobia with. Unfortunately my right hand is very weak after being broken and that does affect "delicate" things. I just know I will smash what I am not suppose too if I try myself. I will change the light bulb in the ceiling though so half way there


Well if my wife tells me to put the washing machine on, then I may as well be in the cockpit of a jet fighter, apart from opening the door of the machine I'm stumped
richp16/12/2019 08:56

Well if my wife tells me to put the washing machine on, then I may as well …Well if my wife tells me to put the washing machine on, then I may as well be in the cockpit of a jet fighter, apart from opening the door of the machine I'm stumped


No, that's the ejector seat pull handle!
richp16/12/2019 08:56

Well if my wife tells me to put the washing machine on, then I may as well …Well if my wife tells me to put the washing machine on, then I may as well be in the cockpit of a jet fighter, apart from opening the door of the machine I'm stumped


I know. Whats with all the feckin hieroglyphics?
googley216/12/2019 08:46

I like that idea of Glass Guide, I will get one of them. No friend to …I like that idea of Glass Guide, I will get one of them. No friend to take as not long moved to a new area so on my own. Thanks


Just don't take Parker's with you, whatever you do!
I feel sure that the OP is just having you on.
googley216/12/2019 08:40

The car is going soon when I can be brave enough to find myself a new one. …The car is going soon when I can be brave enough to find myself a new one. I just know ladies are going to be ripped off when buying a car.



Last time I went to look at buying a new car, the guy in the Citroen dealership actually said to me "Well, why don't you wait to test drive it until you come back with your husband". I was so incensed that I replied "I'm not married, I earn over 100k, ride a ducati and you just lost a sale". Then I walked out. I hadn't even asked any silly questions or done anything to prompt that comment! I've never been back to that dealership.
Wychcraft16/12/2019 08:49

Do you have a local car shop? If you use an independant they tend to fit …Do you have a local car shop? If you use an independant they tend to fit them for you for free (well, mine does anyway).


Checked at Halford £19 walked out - went to local car shop £12 incl fitting took about 3 mins. Glad its over with and I can drive in the dark without worrying about lights now. Thanks for all the advice.
googley216/12/2019 13:24

Checked at Halford £19 walked out - went to local car shop £12 incl f …Checked at Halford £19 walked out - went to local car shop £12 incl fitting took about 3 mins. Glad its over with and I can drive in the dark without worrying about lights now. Thanks for all the advice.


Hope they fitted a good quality bulb.
bluep16/12/2019 12:15

Last time I went to look at buying a new car, the guy in the Citroen …Last time I went to look at buying a new car, the guy in the Citroen dealership actually said to me "Well, why don't you wait to test drive it until you come back with your husband". I was so incensed that I replied "I'm not married, I earn over 100k, ride a ducati and you just lost a sale". Then I walked out. I hadn't even asked any silly questions or done anything to prompt that comment! I've never been back to that dealership.


What a coincidence I'm not married and ride a Yamaha, how you doin?
bluep16/12/2019 07:46

Last time I had it fitted at Halfords, they said that people do them …Last time I had it fitted at Halfords, they said that people do them themselves and put them in the wrong way round and it makes a difference to where the beam shines - is there a left/right or upside down way round?


They make them these days so that there is only one way they can go in/fit.
Bigfootpete16/12/2019 16:22

What a coincidence I'm not married and ride a Yamaha, how you doin?


Smoooth
Bigfootpete16/12/2019 16:22

What a coincidence I'm not married and ride a Yamaha, how you doin?


I might have made it all up on the spot! Who knows...
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