Burnt out car lamps are always a nuisance. Even more so if changing them turns out to be difficult. A few simple tricks will help in such cases.

Arguably the most important “trick” for changing car lamps is … to read the instructions – surprise, surprise! This will save you many a mistake and lots of awkward fiddling. The thing is, reading instructions is not exactly what most people tend to do. Especially men who, as we know, are all technically skilled find this activity to be mostly beneath their dignity. They’d rather spend half an hour bending under an open hood before finding the trick described in the instructions. It’s called learning by doing.

But obviously there are also tips that aren’t in the manual. One’s a simple one: light. A flashlight, or even better a proper worklight like one from Osram’s range, will give you a much better overview so you can actually see things and not just feel them.

If you know the right tricks, changing lamps can be quite easy.


You need to be deft with your fingers when changing the tiny lamps for parking lights or for the many interior lights. For the professionals among you: this includes types such as W5W and W1.5W with a glass base. Sometimes fingers are simply too short or too thick. Then a piece of tubing which just about fits over the lamp will help. Insulating tubes (for the DIYers) or the tubes that are used in aquariums (for the rest of you) are suitable. So the tube is basically an extension of the lamp. Once the new lamp sits properly in its holder, you need to carefully turn the tube and pull it off.

There’s another place where you mustn’t go in like a bull in a china shop. The connector of a burnt out headlight lamp is sometimes really tight. If impatient lamp changers tug at it too wildly, they may well bend the holding springs of the lamp or even the headlight fastening. That could be expensive. There’s a simple trick to avoid that: remove the broken lamp together with the cable it’s still attached to and only separate the two afterward. Reverse the order when putting it back in. Another benefit of this process is that no lamp can disappear in the depths of the engine compartment as long as a cable is attached to it.

If holding springs can no longer be locked in place after installing a new lamp, it probably doesn’t sit properly. All the lamps for headlights and most for the remaining car lights can only be locked in one position. But which one is it? Marking it on the lamp base and holder with a felt tip pen can help. Taking a photo with your smartphone camera is the modern alternative. No matter what method you choose, you have to remember to do it before removing the broken lamp.

In some cars, working on headlights or other lights is easiest when the parts are removed completely. Especially in newer models that’s even the way it’s supposed to be. Two or three simple steps are then enough to remove the part in no time. But what about individual cases? Well, look in the instructions. OK, back to the start

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