Where can you still access headlights yourself these days?
Replacing lamps for high beam and dipped beam. Back in the 70s, it was still done by your friendly gas station attendant, but today we prefer to do it ourselves. The newer a car is, the less it lends itself to hobby mechanics. Some of you may like it that way (because many self-inflicted errors can be avoided), but others may well not find it that great. Because if you tinker yourself a bit here and there, you have a good overview of how your little four-wheel friend is doing. We recognize many headlights from the front, but not so much from the back. In this series we will show you a few examples, starting with an almost historic H4 design and finishing with xenon lamps. Today, we are replacing the high beam lights on an E-Class, in other words the H7 lamps.
I’m itching to change the extremely cloudy factory-fitted xenon lamps in the “Avantgarde” model right here, right now. But I’ll save that for another story, especially since we always emphasize that you should stay away from (most) xenon lamps. Today we are looking at the four “eyes” in the middle, the high beam headlights. Depending on the trim, they’re equipped with H7 lamps in this Mercedes-Benz model which are a good compromise between durability and light output. Those of you who change your own lamps will appreciate that the headlights are easy to access (a) in slightly older cars and b) from the mid range upward. Even though this model is fitted with a headlight washer system (with xenon it is), the container for the water which is slightly in the way is easy to unhook, and you can also get to the left-hand headlight.
After opening the round cap, carefully disconnecting the plug and releasing the two clasps, H7 novices are in for a surprise – the lamp sits in an extra base and looks larger than it actually is. In this case it can easily be pulled out of the socket by gently lifting the metal flaps on the sides. As always, when inserting the new lamp it’s important not to touch the glass body with your fingers. The luminous efficacy would otherwise decrease dramatically, even if the greasy and oily prints are wiped off with a t-shirt or something.
If everything goes as quickly and smoothly as it did with us, it’s also worth taking a look at the parking light lamps. As the headlight is open at the back anyway, you may as well change them too, and then you’ll have peace of mind for a long time.
Quickly checking the covers would also be a good idea. Are they broken, are the narrow seals still OK and is everything reasonably clean? Once fall is upon us you don’t want water behind the glass. Now we can reattach the metal bracket, reconnect the plug so it sits firm and straight, and close off the headlight with the cover. That’s more or less how to change them in other models; you’ll perhaps just have to disconnect or move more or fewer parts to get to the covers. Well then, happy replacing. Aren’t fresh lights wonderful?