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How to Find the Correct Headlight Bulb Size for Your Vehicle

A Ford Mustang Headlight.

Replacing a burnt-out headlight bulb is one of the most basic tasks of car maintenance. It’s a job that can take just minutes to complete, but finding the correct headlight bulb size can sometimes take a bit of effort. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine the best place to search for the correct headlight bulb size.

Check the Owner’s ManualBMW Headlights

In some cases, a bulb will have its size or type printed on the light bulb or housing. Often, you’ll have to check your owner’s manual to determine the correct size, especially for tiny bulbs, such as those used for turn signals and brake lights. For some headlights, the printed details may not be clear, so it’s best to go to your car’s specifications.

In your owner’s manual, consult the index or table of contents to locate the information about headlights. You’ll likely find different sizes and wattage based on whether the bulb in question is a high-beam or a low-beam bulb. The manufacturer should list the details of all bulb types throughout the car in this section as well.

Search Online

If the owner’s manual is missing the information you need, an online search may be your best option. Go to the light bulb manufacturer’s website and input the details about your car, such as the year, make and model, as well as where the bulb you’re replacing is located on the car. In some cases, you might need to identify the vehicle’s body style or trim, as the headlights used may vary.

If your search doesn’t help you identify the correct headlight bulb size, you can visit your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store for more information on what bulb you need.

Making the Grade

Although changing headlights can be a simple job, sometimes it takes a little extra effort. In some cases, the entire assembly must be removed, not just the bulb. When you’re reassembling, the headlights must be perfectly aligned to distribute light equally, as the manufacturer intended. Instructions on how to accomplish this task are in your owner’s manual or your Hayne’s Service Manual.

Knowing the correct bulb filament for your vehicle can also allow you to upgrade from incandescent to LED lights. Often, the swap out is a simple one that results in an improved appearance and enhanced lighting. You will pay more for LEDs, but they also last much longer.

Check out all the lighting parts available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on headlight bulb size, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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