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How to Easily Change Your Truck’s Headlight Bulbs

Blue pickup truck in front of mountains

If you’re looking to easily change your truck’s headlight bulbs, whether you’re replacing halogen, HID, or LED lights, it can be a simple process if you follow these steps. There are several items you’ll want to make sure you have before you get started. Make sure you have a clear workspace away from any street traffic or potential hazards. Never attempt to change your headlight bulbs if it’s raining or in a wet environment, since you’ll be working with electrical components. Safety always comes first. 

What You’ll Need to Change Your Truck’s Headlight Bulbs

Before you get started, make sure that you have everything you’ll need for the process with you. You’ll save time if everything is laid out and organized, ready for you to grab. Make sure you have these items.

  1. The replacement aftermarket headlight bulbs for your truck.
  2. Gloves, or alcohol wipes and a micro-fiber cloth.
  3. The correct screwdriver set.
  4. The proper conversion kit if you’re making the switch to aftermarket headlight bulbs.
  5. A safe space to keep any screws or connectors you will need to reattach.
  6. A safe receptacle for disposing of the old glass bulbs.

If you aren’t sure which headlight bulb you need for the specific make and model of your truck, search for the correct part here.

Getting Started

Make sure that your truck is powered off, and completely cooled down before you start the actual headlight bulb change. It can get hot under the hood when the car is running and you want to avoid any possible accidents or burns. Some people also choose to disconnect their truck batteries entirely when changing headlight bulbs, for an added element of safety.

Once you have everything you need to get started changing your headlight bulbs, and the truck is turned off and cooled down, you’re ready to move on to the next step. You’ll need to lift the hood of your car and locate the headlight bulb holder and wire connectors from the inside of the hood. It’s a common misconception, but you don’t replace headlights from the outside, and you don’t have to remove the headlight cover on your truck.

Prepping Your Equipment to Change Your Truck’s Headlight Bulbs

Now that you have everything you need to change your aftermarket headlights, and your truck is prepped, you can officially get started, and get those new lights up and running. Lots of people choose to wear light gloves for this process, since the oils from your fingers can rub off onto the new bulbs, causing clouding and improper light distribution. Others choose to carefully wipe the bulbs down with alcohol pads and a soft cloth right before installation.

Either way, make sure that the bulbs you’re about to install are as clean as they can be, so that you get the best light possible as well as the best electrical connection. The rest is easy.

The Installation Process for Aftermarket Headlight Bulbs

Your truck is off, your workspace is clear, you have everything you need, and your bulbs are in prime condition for installation. Follow these simple next steps to complete your headlight bulb change.

  1. Disconnect the power wires from your old bulbs. They’re most likely held in place by either a clip or a cap. If so, you’ll have to undo that first.
  2. Now that the old headlight bulbs are disconnected from the power source, unscrew them. You should be able to twist them counter-clockwise (righty tighty, lefty loosey).
  3. If a headlight bulb seems stuck, jammed, or you can’t get it to move, don’t use excessive force in an attempt to get it out. This can cause the glass to shatter off the base of the bulb and you’ll need further tools or a professional to remove the broken bulb.
  4. Once the old bulb is out, be sure to throw it away somewhere safe. Make sure it’s off the ground, to avoid stepping on it, or running it over with your tires and causing problems later on.
  5. Clean your new aftermarket headlight bulbs, whether they are LED or HID lights with the alcohol wipes and soft cloth. 
  6. Install the bulb, and connect any wires, gaskets, etc. according to the conversion or installation kit’s instruction manual, if you have purchased one. If you are changing a headlight bulb that already has an installation set-up, simply reattach the items as they were before.
  7. Repeat this process on the other headlight.
  8. If you disconnected your truck’s battery, plug it back in once both headlight bulbs have been changed.
  9. Close the hood of the truck, start your vehicle, and turn on the lights to ensure that they power up correctly.
  10. Check the height that the lights shine. They should not be too high, as they will impeded the vision of other drivers, or too low, as they won’t provide you with the light you need. They should be facing straight ahead.
  11. That’s it, get driving, you’re all set to go.

Finding the Right Aftermarket Headlight Bulbs for Your Truck

RECON is proud to be a leading aftermarket automotive lighting provider, and we are here to serve all your truck’s lighting needs. Check out our handy online installation guides for additional information, or contact us today to speak with an automotive expert.

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Foggy Headlights: Common Causes and Best Restoration Methods

Foggy headlights being cleaned properly

Whether you have halogen, LED, or HID lights, sooner or later every truck owner is going to struggle with foggy, hazy headlights. It’s a fact of aging, and nothing stays new forever, but it’s something that needs to be addressed. 

Foggy headlights can cause decreased visibility while driving, posing a hazard not only to you but also to other drivers on the road. You may notice your headlights starting to turn yellow, or it may appear as if a film has developed on the inside that you can’t wipe away no matter how hard you try. This is an indicator that it’s time to clean your headlights beyond the usual car wash. 

Generally, headlights will need to be restored every 1 to 3 years to keep your truck looking its best while also maintaining safety on the road.

Causes of Foggy Headlights

RECON manufactures top tier truck headlights and aims to help you maintain their prime condition. Before you can effectively clean foggy headlights, it’s important to understand the underlying causes so that you can help delay the process in the future.

Light

If your headlights have an acrylic or polycarbonate cover, as most do, they will start to deteriorate when exposed to UV rays over time. This process is caused by oxidation and is not one that can be avoided.

After all, it’s impossible to stay out of the sun when driving. UV rays are strong enough to break down chemical bonds, such as sealants or protectants that you use on your headlights to prevent damage.  Exposure to UV rays will eventually lead to foggy headlights and will require headlight restoration.

Water

Water is another environmental element that cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try. With water comes condensation, which can make its way into your headlights as time takes a toll on the sealant, reducing its effectiveness. This leads to clouding of your headlights and, again, is something that you will not be able to simply wipe away from the outside. Once water has made its way into your headlights it’s time for a headlight restoration. 

Dirt and Debris

What’s the point of having a truck if you don’t get it dirty now and then? Over time that dirt builds up, along with chemicals that can be on the surface of the road or in that mud you drove through last weekend. This will cause a foggy buildup on your headlights that will need to be cleaned. 

Similarly, flying debris can damage your headlights. Rocks kick up on the highway, branches scratch your headlights when you’re pulling out of the driveway or off-roading, and salt on the roads in the winter makes its way to your lights. This causes damage to your headlights and will require a thorough cleaning to retain optimum visibility.

Cleaning Foggy Headlights

There are many ways to clean foggy, cloudy headlights. There are do-it-yourself methods that can save time and money, though they may not provide a long-lasting or top-notch solution to the problem.  Professional methods may be worth investing in, especially if your headlights have sustained heavy damage and you are looking for a serious headlight restoration. 

Do-It-Yourself Methods for Headlight Restoration

Household Cleaners

Truck enthusiasts often turn to household cleaners for headlight restoration at home. Vinegar, baking soda, or a mixture of both can be used with a microfiber cloth or toothbrush to clean a foggy headlight.  This method works best when the fogging has been caused by dirt or chemical build up and is not effective at restoring scratches on a headlight. 

After scrubbing the headlight down, give it a rinse with clean water and polish dry with a microfiber cloth. This is the least expensive option when it comes to headlight restoration.  Just don’t expect the results to last long-term.

Toothpaste

People swear by toothpaste as a cleaning method for all sorts of products. From cleaning sneakers, to removing scuffs on leather, to shining jewelry, there seems to be an unlimited use for toothpaste in cleaning processes

Cleaning truck headlights is no exception, and this is another low cost method you can do yourself at home. Use a toothbrush to scrub the headlights with the paste for several minutes before rinsing with clean water. Again, don’t expect this fix to be a long-term  solution.  

Professional Restoration of Foggy Headlights

The professional restoration of foggy headlights is recommended to achieve the best and longest lasting results. Methods that professionals employ may include sanding, polishing, waxing, and resealing the headlights to provide not only the deepest clean but also lasting prevention against future fogging. 

The cost of a professional headlight restoration can run anywhere from $75 to $150 for both lights, but is generally worth the investment.  

Preventing Foggy Headlights

After foggy headlights have been cleaned or restored, the ultimate goal is to maintain that brand new appearance for as long as possible. While avoiding foggy headlights forever isn’t possible, there are steps that you can take to delay the process:

  • Parking in the shade whenever possible.
  • Wash your car regularly, focusing on the headlights.
  • Purchase a UV protection coat that you can apply yourself at home.
  • Use glass cleaner on the exterior of your headlights to remove outer layers of dirt.
  • Wax your headlights post-wash.

Foggy headlights are one of the least pleasant parts of car and truck ownership, but there are steps that can be taken to restore and delay the process. RECON is here for all things headlight related. Contact us online or call our Customer Support line at 877-377-3266 for more information.