Let me start by asking you a question. Have you ever noticed those classic or better yet; old rides with custom replaced headlights, looking all chrome with full bright HID or LED beam lightning up the road at night from reflector-like headlight housing? What do you make of them? Beautiful isn’t it? Well, if you are one of those motorists who have taken comfort in the belief that no more beauty can come to your Chevrolet Corvette, Range Rover classic, or Jaguar XJ6 Series due to their round or rectangular lamps. Think again because there are ways on how to upgrade sealed headlights and these top 5 sealed headlights replacement hacks below would get you started!
The truth is, since after the 1980s there have been numerous conversion options for cars with sealed beam or reflector headlight housing. These options like the H4 conversions allow you to replace those one-piece units with headlight bulbs that are more powerful than your car’s stock headlights. But before we get started, let’s reacquaint ourselves with what kind of Original-Equipment manufacturers (OEM) lights we have installed on our car.
Original equipment manufacturer headlights for sealed beam
In the United States, most cars through the mid-1970s made use of “round sealed headlights,” either two 7” headlight capsule, or four 534″ capsule. The 7” headlight housing are combined with both low and high beam while the cars with 534″ headlight capsules make use of two low beam lights and two high beam lights. But as at the mid-1980s, rectangular sealed beam headlight housing was introduced as an option.
So, if you have two combos of low and high beam, that means they are 200mm (millimeter) while four of the two combos of low and high beam would be 165mm each. Some headlight manufacturers call the small lights 4” X 6” and the larger ones 7” X 6”. For more information about your stock headlights and knowing when to replace headlights, you can check with your light’s manufacturer or look at the number of electrical prongs in the back. Two combo of high and low beam lamps have three prongs while separate four of each two combo of high and low beam have two prongs.
Now that you are conversant with the different OEM of your car’s headlight housing, would you like to spice things up a little bit? Great! I believe you are. So, let’s start with round and rectangular headlight housing (sealed-beams). The conversion part for these headlights are available and they include separate and replaceable bulbs such as HID or LED. When combined with advanced headlight housings and reflectors, the result is an incredible headlight with dazzling nonbinding beam that stretches over 500ft ahead of you.
Unlike the sealed beam, which requires a complete headlight housing replacement when a bulb burns out, these conversion components only require you to reach out and replace a bulb or bulbs when they burn out without having to remove the headlight housing completely – offering you an opportunity to upgrade your headlights from stock to LED. That’s not all! These conversions can also be used as a styling statement when parked. They come with all-chrome or blacked-out housings and are in the same size and shape as that of your stock’s but with LED or HID strips just as you often see on the latest Audis and BMWs with fully functioning high and low beams.
Best DIY hacks for sealed headlights replacement
- Step One: Identify the retaining screws
Knowing how to change car headlights is a prerequisite for a successful headlight replacement. Start by removing any chrome, trim ring, or plastic bezel that may have been used to surround the headlights. To do this, you will need a screwdriver tool. The sealed beam housing itself is retained by a strong metal ring. Round sealed beams are held by three screws while rectangular ones are held by four screws. So, do not confuse these retaining screws with the aiming screws of the headlights.
NB: There are about two aiming screws per headlight – one on either the top or bottom and another on either side of the housing.
- Step Two: Remove the retaining screws
Before you remove the retaining screws of the headlight housing, spray them thoroughly with a penetrating solvent. If you have none, you apply a drop of your engine oil. Now, hold the headlight on its socket as you remove the last retaining screw. Once you are done removing the retaining screws, lower the headlight carefully from its receptacle.
- Step Three: Remove the wiring connector
At the back of the sealed beam headlight, you will find the wiring connector which pushes onto prongs. Gently pull it off. If you are using a two headlight system per unit, the prongs would be three while a four-headlight system would have only two prongs with a wired connector.
- Step Four: Reconnect the new conversion headlight
After pulling off the wiring connector from the back of the headlight, the next step would be to reconnect the new conversion headlights. But before you do that, clean any form of corrosion from the connector socket using a headlight restoration wipe. Check that none of the wires are frayed or damaged then push the wiring connector onto the prongs of the new headlight.
- Step Five: Replace the headlight in its receptacle.
Place the new headlights in its receptacle and align the small bumps along the outer edge of the back of the headlight with small dimples in the headlight socket to ensure that you install the headlight properly. Note that the wiring on the lens should also be upright and you should check for a bad headlight relay before aligning the headlights. After that, hold still the headlight while you reinstall the retaining ring, the trim ring, or bezel over the headlight and you’re done.