A lamp burns out and has to be changed quickly – this is the way that some car tragedies begin. After a few years of operation, or for whatever reason, parts cannot be loosened or removed very easily. If you apply too much pressure or make a wrong motion, you could cause damage that would result in a huge – that is, costly – repair job.
There are many reasons why a lamp may appear to be glued to the fitting. Corrosion is frequently the culprit. Older signal lamps with brass bases are particularly vulnerable. By the way, Osram’s product line includes no such lamps. If you hastily turn the glass body, you run the risk of breaking it, something that can result in a bloody finger and complicate the job of removing the rest of the lamp. You should also resist the temptation to apply rust dissolver. This aggressive product will not do any favors for parts of the illumination system. It can dull reflectors, in particular. In a nutshell: The trick is to apply just the right amount of force when you turn or pull something.
This is also true for plugs and cables. You must pay particularly close attention when dealing with halogen lamps. Their connections should be fairly tight, something that facilitates good contact and low contact resistance. The latter issue could reduce operating voltage and impair the light, something we do not want. If you yank the wiring on the installed lamps, you can quickly bend the retaining clamp that is used to hold the H1, H4 and H7 in place in the headlight. This alone is hard enough to deal with. But things will get even worse if something breaks. Professionals always loosen the mounting first and remove the lamp with all of the attached wiring. This also makes it easier to reach the plug, and the job of detaching the lamp base becomes much easier. But be careful: You should always wear gloves and safety glasses! You can also break a lamp if you apply a little extra force while removing a part.
It is always a good idea to have your headlights adjusted after your lamps are replaced. But what do you do if the necessary screws won’t budge? Corrosion could be responsible here as well, particularly if you are talking about metal parts. A drop – and nothing more – of rust dissolver may work wonders here. Plastic screw threads are more receptive to a teflon spray. But use it sparingly. You need to be patient after applying the spray. The spray needs a few minutes at least to get the job done by working its way deep into the threads. Having the right tool when you work on the adjustment screw is essential. Car and headlight manufacturers have taken deliberate steps to ensure that you cannot use a normal screwdriver. After all, anyone without a beam setter and specialty knowledge has no business turning the screws in the first place. By using the wrong tool, you will quickly strip the screws.
Lamps and other headlight parts are covered in the engine compartment. They are normally removed by turning them (in the right direction!) or loosening catches. Something can quickly break here, particularly if it is cold. At such times, plastics become more brittle. This phenomenon is even more pronounced for older parts. Allowing things to warm up is a good idea, by using the warmth of the engine or the help of a hair dryer.
Servomotors that no longer want to move are infuriating. This can be extremely frustrating for those motors used for headlight beam adjustment if they are noticed during a regular vehicle inspection. Those used in the swivel mechanism for cornering light can also be affected. Sometimes, the problem will take care of itself, once again following a period of cold or heat. It also pays to take a look at the fuse box. The fuse for the affected function may be blown. The service center will probably be needed in the more frequently occurring cases.
One rare phenomenon is a stuck shutter in xenon headlights with lenses. In the production of high beam light, this part is electromagnetically drawn from the beam path. If it does not, the headlight can no longer produce high beam light. To everybody’s relief, the problem will frequently disappear after the headlight flasher is pressed a few times. It also helps to regularly us the high beams. This activity keeps the shutter in motion. But if it continues to fail to budge, a comprehensive repair job will likely be required.