How to Replace a Headlight Lens

Easy to follow step by step guide on how to replace an automotive headlight lens housing, though appearances may vary, the process is similar for most vehicles. This example was performed on a Mini Cooper 2009

Difficulty Level - 4 of 10

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Mechanics tool set
  • Protective eye wear
  • Protective gloves
  • Replacement headlight lens

Begin with the vehicle on level ground in park with the emergency brake set, engine "OFF".

Step 1 - Identify the headlight lens and housing by lifting the hood, please visit our hood release guide for further instructions.

Headlight Lens

Step 2 - Start by locating and removing the headlight electrical connector while releasing the safety clip. (Note: If the connector is not accessible this step can be performed in later steps.)

Remove Headlight Lens Electrical Connector

Step 3 - Locate and remove the headlight lens housing mounting bolts, some could be obscure and might need to be accessed from under the car.

Remove Headlight Lens Mounting Bolts

Step 4 - Once all mounting bolts have been removed, firmly grasp the headlight lens and remove it.

Remove Headlight Lens

Step 5 - Once removed, compare the new lens to the old assembly, they should match identically.

New Headlight Lens

Step 6 - When matching the new lens to the old unit, take note of the adjuster position and match the number of threads showing to the new assembly.

Headlight Adjusters

Step 7 - These adjustments control the height and right to left direction and need to be as close as possible. (Note: If further adjustment is needed once completed use a flat driveway and garage door (down) at night to help level the beams.)

Adjusting Headlight Adjuster

Step 8 - Once the necessary adjustments have been made gently lower the new assembly into place while keeping wiring harness out of the way.

Insert New Headlight Lens

Step 9 - Hand thread headlight lens mounting bolts to avoid cross threading.

Hand Thread Headlight Mounting Bolts

Step 10 - After all mounting bolts are hand threaded, tighten the bolts evenly in a cross pattern (do not over tighten).

Tighten Headlight Lens Mounting Bolts

Step 11 - Inspect the electrical connector for dirt and corrosion, then reinstall the connector to the headlight lens receptacle.

Reinstall Electrical Connector

Article first published