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How to Change the Headlight in a Honda Civic

by Jody L. Campbell

The Civic has been a long-lived compact staple in Honda's line-up. First introduced in 1973, the Civic has experienced a few different face-lifts over the generations. While the vintage Civics employed the old-fashioned sealed beam headlights, the newer models now use the composite halogen capsulated headlight bulbs. Depending on the year and model series of your Civic, the procedure to replace the headlights will vary.

Dual Composite Headlight and Combination Composite Headlight

Step 1

Make sure the headlight switch is in the "Off" position and remains so during the replacement procedure.

Step 2

Open the hood and prop it up.

Step 3

Remove the air dam on the passenger side headlight bulb access by pulling it straight up and disconnecting it from the air filter box. For the driver's side, pull the power steering reservoir straight up off the bracket then use the bungee cord to support it in a standing position so it will not leak power steering fluid.

Step 4

Put on work gloves then reach down behind the headlight assembly to the headlight retaining ring. Turn the ring counterclockwise until the tabs of the ring align with the grooves in the headlight assembly then extract the bulb and collar from the assembly.

Disconnect the wire harness from the composite bulb then install the new replacement bulb by reversing the procedure for removal. Be careful not to touch the glass of any halogen bulb with your bare skin as it will create a weak spot on the bulb. Also be sure to align the ring tabs properly to the grooves in the headlight assembly.

The H4 Combination Headlight

Step 1

Remove the air dam or the power steering reservoir as noted in Section 1.

Step 2

Disconnect the wire harness going to the bulb by squeezing the locking tabs on the sides of the plug inward then pull the plug from the blades of the H4 bulb.

Step 3

Pull off the black rubber protective gasket from the headlight assembly.

Step 4

Disconnect the wire retaining clip from its locking tab by pushing it inward then lifting slightly upward with the clip.

Remove the headlight from the headlight assembly then reverse the procedure to reinstall the new headlight. Be sure not to touch the glass bulb of the H4 headlight with your bare skin to avoid creating a weak spot on the bulb.


  • For vintage Civics that feature sealed beam unit headlights, simply remove the trim ring that secures the front of the headlight with a Phillips head screwdriver. There are four screws. Be sure not to turn the adjusting screws by accident. One adjusting screw is located at the top center of the headlight, and the other is located on the outside of the center of the headlight. These two screws are located very close to the trim ring; and if turned, they will manipulate your headlight aim. Once the trim ring is removed, simply pull the full headlight unit from its cavity, unplug the wire harness then reverse the procedure to reinstall the replacement.

Items you will need

  • Bungee cord
  • Work gloves
  • Replacement headlight

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