Replacing your headlights is something that is inevitable for most vehicles. While Honda boasts that its LED lightbulbs are good enough to last for the life of the vehicle, even the assemblies themselves will dull and oxidize over time. Perhaps, this is what they mean by the life of the vehicle if you replace each sealed headlamp assembly unit for $1000 each after the 10-year mark.
Types of Automotive Lightbulbs
There are essentially three main types of bulbs, inexpensive Halogen bulbs that cost about $15-$20 each, pricier HID High-Intensity Discharge bulbs that check in around $100-$300, and LEDs that should last for the life of the vehicle in sealed units. The LED sealed units can cost nigh to $1000 or more. These types of bulbs are not typically interchangeable with each other. However, there are some upgrade kits that will help you transform the standard 12v power at your headlight receptacles to power a new HID or LED assembly.
How to Change a Lightbulb
These bulbs are made to be replaced regularly if you have Halogen bulbs. Certain types of retrofit LED bulbs are even easier to replace than Halogen bulbs because they sit in the same sockets but are not as fragile. When you are dealing with Halogen and HID bulbs, you have to take precaution because even a touch of the natural oils on your hands can create residual hotspots that lead to premature deterioration of the filament inside the bulb.
HID bulbs and Halogen bulbs often twist into place or clip into the back of a headlamp housing unit. There may be a rubber o-ring that ensures a watertight seal when the headlamps are mounted properly.
How to Replace Entire Sealed Headlamp Assemblies
Replacing the housing to mount new LED sealed units is generally not difficult for anyone with a small socket set and possibly a screwdriver. Opening the hood should reveal where the retaining bolts are in relation to the headlamp unit. They are usually 10mm small bolts that simply screw into place. Then, it is simply a matter of loosening the fittings and swapping out the components before you ultimately reassemble and align.
How to Align Your Headlamp Assemblies
Ensuring that your headlamp assemblies are properly aligned takes a little bit more skill. But, most modern headlamp assemblies have built-in bubble levelers to help you quickly check and set alignment once the vehicle is on an even surface.
The steps for leveling your headlights are pretty easy. You start out ensuring that your vehicle is level and park it about 10 to 15 feet from a garage door or dark wall. With only your low beams on, use masking tape to make a T-shaped cross at the center points of where each of your low beams illuminates on the wall.
Use a leveler and ruler to measure whether the lights are evenly balanced. Also, use a tape measure to ensure the center tape does not stretch beyond 3.5 feet for a car. The figures are obviously different for a larger higher-stanced vehicle.
Next, you have to use a measuring tape to ensure that you are 25 feet from the wall. You may need to check for information online or the owner’s manual to see exactly what distance is suggested for your vehicle.
The final step is to use the adjusters on the headlamp assemblies for vertical and horizontal movement. When they line up with the original T-marks you made on the wall and are balanced, you can take the vehicle for a test-drive and double check that it is properly illuminating the road and not shooting light into the sky or too sharp into the ground.